Visas: basics

Foreign citizens often need visas to go from one country to another or to perform certain activities abroad. Visas are official government approvals that are normally placed in the recipient’s passport and that allow a foreign citizen to proceed with their plans in the foreign country. In the United States, foreign citizens can receive an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to enter. The specific visa that you wish to obtain depends on the needs and objectives of the individual, as well as on your condition regarding immigration rules.

Immigrant visas

The Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) grants immigrant visas to eligible candidates who wish to enter the United States and stay permanently. The specific type of immigrant visa that is granted varies depending on the individual’s condition, for example, if he is a relative of a citizen or permanent resident, a potential employee of a US company or a foreign citizen with commercial or investment interests in the United States.

Vacancy limits for visas

Some immigrant visas are subject to annual vacancy limits. The USCIS divides family-sponsored visas and those related to employment in limited categories and grants visas based on a previously established allowance between those classifications.

Example : In the case of immigration for family reasons, spouses and children of legitimate permanent residents receive a higher percentage of immigration visas for available family reasons than married children of US citizens. With regard to employment, priority workers , including outstanding teachers and people with extraordinary skills in various fields, receive a greater proportion of the available work visas than religious workers.

The visa lottery

In addition to visas for family and work reasons, USCIS grants diversity visas to immigrants from countries that have historically sent fewer immigrants to the United States. The system involves a visa lottery and is, therefore, a very uncertain method of obtaining legal entry to the United States.

Visas without vacancy limits

Immigrant visas that are not subject to vacancy limits are available for:

  • Direct relatives of citizens.
  • Permanent residents returning to the United States.
  • Former US citizens

The direct relative category is the most common of these visa categories, although it covers only spouses and children. The USCIS will not grant visas in the event that fraudulent marriages have been made to receive immigration benefits; In addition, the office sanctions false marriages with deportation, imprisonment, fines and permanent bans for residence.

Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas apply to temporary visitors who intend to return to their countries of origin. Admissions of nonimmigrants far exceed the number of immigrant visas granted each year. The USCIS establishes a wide variety of categories for nonimmigrant visas and each category implies different rights and responsibilities for the holder. Some examples of nonimmigrant visa categories include the following:

  • A-1 visas for diplomatic personnel.
  • B-1 visas for business.
  • B-2 visas for tourism.
  • F-1 visas for students.
  • H visas for temporary workers.

Some nonimmigrant visas allow the holder to work during their stay in the United States. Others allow the visitor to bring their relatives or enter the country to meet their relatives.

How to get legal help with the visa process

The application process for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas can be complicated and involve many forms and documentation. In order to avoid problems and increase the chances of a favorable outcome, applicants to receive a visa should contact an immigration lawyer to provide them with key advice and guide them properly.

 

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