WHAT IS A VISA?

Under the U.S. Immigration law, U.S. Visas allow entry into and travel within the country. The two main types of visas issued to individuals seeking to relocate to the United States permanently are:

–   Non-immigrant visas, for visitors traveling to the U.S. for a specific time. If an alien from another country wants to enter the U.S. temporarily, he or she must apply for a non-immigrant visa.

–   Immigrant visas, for those who wish to live permanently in the United States.

 The U.S. Department of State (DOS) manages consulates and embassies around the world, where applicants must start their application process.

More precisely, a U.S. Visa is an official authorization that is attached to the passport, which permits entry into the country and travel within it. Citizens of a foreign country who seek to enter the U.S. for a short period must comply with U.S. visa immigration law and specific procedures to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Usually, the application process has to be done in the country where the applicant resides, at a consulate or embassy.

If the applicant has criminal conviction, he/she may be found inadmissible under criminal and immigration laws.

There are different types of non-immigrant visas, which are classified by the reason the visitor is seeking to enter the U.S. These include:

–        foreign government officials

–        visitors for business and for pleasure

–         aliens in transit through the United States

–        treaty traders and investors

–         students

–         international representatives

–         temporary workers and trainees

–         representatives of foreign information media

–         exchange visitors

–         fiancés of U.S. citizens

–         intracompany transferees

–         NATO officials

–         religious workers, etc.

Most non-immigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried child under 21 years old, or dependent, children. In general, students and business people are among the majority.

Each non-immigrant visa is given an expiration date according to what the law allows.

As for immigrant visas, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the USCIS before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is generally filed either by qualified relative or a potential employer at a USCIS office in the United States. Types of immigrant visas are:

–         family-based visas

–         employment-based visa

–         special immigrant visa

–         Diversity visa