Tourists or business travelers who are citizens of certain countries that participate in the Visa waiver program with the United States may be eligible to visit without a U.S. visa. The visit must be limited to 90 days or less in the United States, and travelers must meet certain requirements. Furthermore, citizens of Canada or Bermuda generally do not require a visa to visit the United States for tourism either.
In other cases, foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States must first obtain a visa to do so. Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for people who want to enter the United States temporarily for business, tourism, pleasure, or visiting.
In order to apply for a B1/B2 Visa, a person must apply through the Department of State at the U.S, Embassy or Consulate where they live abroad. They must fill out a Form DS-160, upload a passport style photograph, and pay the requisite processing fee which varies by country. When the fees and paperwork have been processed, then an interview is scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the person lives. When the appointment has been scheduled, the applicant will be notified with a list of documents to bring to the interview and given a date and time to appear.
If approved for the B1/B2 Visa after the interview at the Embassy or Consulate, the foreign citizen will be allowed to travel to a U.S port of entry such as a border checkpoint or an airport, and will be issued an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record that will be stamped upon entering the United States.
Typically, a request for an extension of the B1/B2 Visa will not be granted, and a person must depart on the date indicated on their I-94. Failure to do so will result in someone being considered “out of status” which can have severe impact on their ability to change status or become a lawful permanent resident in the future, and could result in deportation from the United States.
For more information on the B1/B2 Business/Visitor Visa, please contact an attorney at Rose Law Group, P.C. for a free consultation today.
The basis of this classification lies in treaties meant to enhance or facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and the foreign treaty country. The US Department of State maintains an extensive list of treaty countries that qualify for this type of visa.
While E1/E2 Visa classification does mandate compliance with a long list of requirements, many of these standards are subject to the exercise of a great amount of judgment and discretion by the consular officer reviewing the application. In view of the judgmental nature of this classification, consular officers are supposed to be flexible, fair, and uniform in adjudicating an E visa application.
As in the case of any visa application, the burden of proof to establish status rests with the applicant. If the applicant’s qualification for E1 or E2 classification is uncertain, the consular officer may request whatever documentation is needed to overcome that uncertainty, often in the form of a request for evidence.
Requirements for E-1 Treaty Trader
In evaluating E-1 applications, consular officers must determine whether:
Requirements for E-2 Treaty Investor
In evaluating E-2 applications, consular officers must determine whether the:
The E-3 Visa classification is only available to Australian nationals. Applicants must intend to come to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields, and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its functional equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate that you:
Process: Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker; Labor Condition Application (LCA) that has not previously been used in an H-1B Application, Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualification for the position, Job Offer Letter from U.S. Employer establishing that Applicant will be engaged in a specialty occupation and be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage, necessary license or official permission to practice in the specialty occupation.
Family of E3 Visa Applicants are entitled to E3 Status, spouse are entitled to work authorization in the United States, while children are not. The period of stay is 2 years per extension, with no limit of extensions.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wants to enter the U.S. in order to study must first obtain an F-1 Student Visa. This category of visa applies to any foreign born individual who wishes to attend university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, or other academic institutions such as a language training program.
Note- if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver country or have a visitor visa, this is not sufficient to study in one of the above listed areas while in the United States, and an F-1 Visa is required first or you could be found to have violated the terms of your stay.
Before you can apply for an F-1 Student Visa, you must first apply and be accepted to an SEVP certified school. The Department of State provides a link to certain websites that list SEVP certified schools in the United States. Once accepted to an SEVIS school, you must register and pay the I-901 fee, and then you will be provided with a form I-20 from the academic institution to bring to the Visa interview.
In order to apply for a F-1 Student Visa, a person must apply through the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where they live abroad. They must fill out a Form DS-160, upload a passport style photograph, and pay the requisite processing fee which varies by country.
When the fees and paperwork have been processed, then an interview is scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the person lives. When the appointment has been scheduled, the applicant will be notified with a list of documents to bring to the interview and given a date and time to appear.
If approved for the F-1 Visa after the interview at the Embassy or Consulate, the foreign student will be allowed to travel to a U.S port of entry such as a border checkpoint or an airport, and will be issued an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record that will be stamped upon entering the United States.
Typically, a request for an extension of the F-1 Visa will not be granted, and a person must depart on the date indicated on their Form I-94. Failure to do so will result in the student being considered “out of status” which can have severe impact on their ability to change status or become a lawful permanent resident in the future, and could result in deportation from the United States.
For more information on the F1 Student Visa, please contact an attorney at Rose Law Group, P.C. for a free consultation today.
The H-1B Visa is a temporary, non-immigrant work visa reserved for specialty occupations, DOD cooperative research and development project workers, and fashion models.
The petitioner seeking an H-1B Visa must establish that the job requires the services of a professional, that the foreign worker qualifies as such a professional, and that a labor condition application has been certified by the Department of Labor. Generally, the H-1B visa is available for those workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a technical field who will be working in a technical position that requires an undergraduate degree. Individuals who do not have an undergraduate degree may utilize their experience to compensate for any years unfinished in their undergraduate education.
To protect the salaries of foreign nationals, employers are required to pay the higher of either the actual or prevailing wage. The actual wage is the wage paid to other co-workers in similar positions; the prevailing wage is the average salary paid to workers in the area of intended employment. The prevailing wage is often obtained through a request to the employment economic agency in the employer’s state. However, other sources of prevailing wages are permitted and may be used.
As part of the H-1B application process, the employer must make certain promises. In addition to promising to pay the higher of the prevailing or actual wage, the employer promises that hiring an H-1B worker will not adversely affect other co-workers. Furthermore, the employer attests that it will take certain action in the event of a strike or lockout and that it has provided adequate notice to other workers about its hiring a foreign national.
The final step of the H-1B petition process involves submitting the package to USCIS. The USCIS normally takes about 2 – 4 months to process, review, and adjudicate an H-1B petition. Since there are a limited number H-1Bs available each year, timing is important, and the foreign national should be sure to apply for an H-1B early enough so that his petition will not become subject to the cap. If a petition does not make it within the annual allotment, he will have to wait until October 1, for the INS to resume processing for the following fiscal year.
Heavily used by the IT industry, many H-1B applicants are computer programmers, engineers, analysts, etc. The H-1B visa has the interesting characteristic of permitting dual intent. Unlike many other visas, a holder of an H-1B visa may intend to be in the U.S. for a temporary and permanent period of time. Thus, during the duration of their H-1B visa, many individuals apply for a green card and hope to adjust their status to become a permanent resident.
For more information on the H-1B2 Visa for DOD Research and Development Project Workers, and the H-1B3 Visa for Fashion Models, please contact Rose Law Group, P.C. for a free consultation today. One of our experienced Immigration Lawyers will be happy to discuss the application process.
Global, multi-national corporations often wish to transfer key employees from abroad to their U.S. workplace. Congress created the L1 visa to facilitate this transfer of personnel. Applicants must satisfy certain qualifications to qualify for the L1 Intracompany Transferee Visa.
Typically, the approved L1 is granted for a period of three years. Thereafter, extensions are usually given in two-year increments. The total period of stay permitted for managers and executives is seven years. For specialized workers, the total duration is five years. Once the maximum duration has been reached, the alien must reside abroad for at least one year, then he or she may return to the U.S. in L-1 status.
The application for an L-1 visa will contain information about the company and the alien. Information concerning the company will detail the nature of the business and the relationship it has with its U.S. affiliate. Information regarding the alien will provide a job description and discuss how the position is either a manager, executive, or specialized worker position. The support letter should also discuss the qualifications of the alien and how she is suitable for this position.
One benefit to the L-1 program is that it permits companies to apply for “blanket” L-1. The blanket status, once attained, enables the company to avoid having to file individualized applications for each employee it wishes to transfer to the U.S., which in turn saves the company significant time. Instead, the alien can take a copy of the I-797 approval notice and apply directly at the nearby U.S. consulate to obtain a L-1 visa stamp in his passport.
Process: I-129 Petition, Company Support Letter, DS-160, Form 797 Blanket Petition (if Applicable)
Certain individuals who have managed to achieve a level of notoriety or “distinction” in their profession may qualify for an O-1 non-immigrant visa. The O-1 is a temporary visa for an individual who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for such achievement.
This Visa category is not simply limited to performers but is also available to individuals who may be active behind the scenes. These might include lighting designers, choreographers, conductors, costume designers, animal trainers, etc.
For those in the motion picture or TV industry, the standard to be met is more rigorous. The applicant must show that she has a “very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or TV industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field. This means that someone who is merely known or even well-known may not necessarily qualify as an extraordinary alien. However, this heightened standard does not require that the alien be in the top 1% of his or her profession.
Process: I-129 Petition, Consultation, Contract for Services between Petitioner and Beneficiary, Itinerary, Evidentiary Criteria
The P-Visa category is reserved for aliens who wish to come to the United States to perform services as an internationally recognized athlete, entertainer, and/or performer. There are several different categories of P Visas:
Additionally, spouses and minor children of a P-1, P-2 or P-3 alien may accompany them to the United States on a P-4 visa.
Typically, an agent employer or organization will file for the P Visa on behalf of the foreign applicant. The petitioning employer, agent, or sponsoring organization must file a Form I-129 (Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker) for all P-1, P-2 and P-3 petitions with the USCIS in order to determine their eligibility for the visa and review the services to be performed while in the United States before the alien may apply for a visa or seek admission into the country.
Please keep in mind that if a P alien in the United States wishes to change employers or sponsors, the new employer or sponsor must file a new I-129 petition and request to extend the alien’s stay in the United States. The alien may not begin employment with the new employer or sponsor until both the petition and extension request have been approved.
Furthermore, if the beneficiary will work in more than one location, then the petitioner must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of the performances with the petition. If the beneficiary will work for more than one employer within the same time period, then each employer must file a separate petition. However, a petition involving multiple employers may also be filed by a person or company in business as an agent who acts as an agent for the both the employers and the beneficiary,” as long as certain conditions are met.
If you are an intending applicant, or an agent, employer, or organization that would like more information about the P Non-Immigrant Visa process, please contact Rose Law Group, P.C. today and one of our immigration lawyers will be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss the process, costs, and timeframe for applying.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN non-immigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Professionals eligible to seek admission as TN non-immigrant include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
You may be eligible for TN non-immigrant status, if:
Canadian Citizens: If you are a Canadian citizen, then you are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate. You may establish eligibility for TN classification at the time you seek admission to the United States by presenting required documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.
You must provide the following documentation to the CBP officer:
Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the United States by submitting a form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker to USCIS.
If USCIS approves the Form I-129, the prospective worker may then apply for admission to the United States as a TN non-immigrant by providing the following documentation to a Border Patrol officer at certain designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station:
In addition, when applying for admission, you should have in your possession a copy of the Form I-129, and all supporting documentation that was submitted to USCIS in order to respond to questions about your eligibility. You should also be prepared to pay any applicable inspection fees at the time you seek admission.
Mexican Citizens: If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN non-immigrant. You should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. Once you are approved for a TN visa, you may apply for admission at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay: The Initial Period of Stay is up to Three Years. If you wish to remain in the United States beyond your initial period of stay without departing from the United States, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are in the United States, your employer may file Form I-129 on your behalf.
Alternatively, you may depart from the United States before the date your status expires, and then, once abroad, you may apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of your initial application for admission as a TN non-immigrant.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants: Any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD (derivative) non-immigrant status.
Spouses and children are not eligible to work while in the United States, and are only granted status for as long as the principal TN immigrant
Extending Your TD Nonimmigrant Stay: If a Canadian or Mexican TN non-immigrant applies for an extension of stay in the United States at the end of his or her period of admission or authorization as a TN, any eligible TD family member may apply to extend their status without the need to travel abroad.
If a Mexican TD dependent wishes to travel abroad following approval of any such extension of stay and expiration of the TD visa, the family member will be required to apply for a new TD visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate before being permitted to return to the United States in TD status.
For more information on TN non-immigrant visas, please contact one of the experienced immigration attorneys at Rose Law Group, P.C. today.
Victims of certain criminal activity may be eligible for a U-Visa, so long as certain criteria is met. To qualify for a U-Visa, the following must be true:
The following is a list of criminal activity that may qualify for a U-Visa:
Process: To apply for a U Visa, you must meet all of the USCIS criteria and file a Form I-918 Petition for Non-Immigrant Status, along with a Form I-918 Supplement B, Non-Immigrant Status Certification which is a form that must be signed by an authorized official of the law enforcement agency responsible for the criminal case who must confirm whether the applicant was helpful or will be helpful in the prosecution of the case. Furthermore, if any inadmissibility issues are present, a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant.
A U Visa may also be available to persons outside of the United States, even if they are in the process of deportation or have been deported in the past, in certain instances.
Certain qualifying family members are eligible for derivative U visa status based on their relationship to the principal applicant.
Under 21 Years of Age: If someone is the principal applicant for a U Visa and Under 21 Years of Age, they may petition for their spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under age 18.
21 Years of Age or older: If someone is the principal applicant for a U Visa and 21 years of age or older, they may petition on behalf of their spouse and children.
When a U Visa is granted, it is valid for four years. However, an extension may be available in limited circumstances.
Statutory Cap: There is an annual 10,000 numerical limit to principal U Visa applicants, however, there is no cap for spouses, children, or other eligible family members. Once the cap has been reached, USCIS will place eligible petitioners and their derivative family members on a waiting list and grant them deferred action, which makes them eligible for work authorization while waiting for the U Visa to become available.
Green Card: After U Visa status is granted, you may be eligible for a green card, or lawful permanent residency, as long as the following is true: