USA and the UK
What is a U.S. Visa?
If you are a foreign national who wishes to enter the U.S., you may first need to obtain a visa.
Having a U.S. visa allows you to live in the country for a specific purpose and a fixed period. If your family is already in the U.S., they can petition for your visa. Otherwise, you can submit your application form to seek the right to enter the country.
Specific categories of visas are only open to skilled professionals and are subject to an annual cap. This means that sometimes you may need to wait several months or even years to get your permit. The USCIS issues a bulletin where you can find all the information about visas availability, as well as check the status of your application.
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If you are U.S. citizen, your partner can join you to get married and live together.
Your foreign spouse can apply for a Nonimmigrant Spouse Visa, also known as K-3 Visa. This permit must be issued in the country where the marriage took place and will let your partner travel to the U.S.
Similarly, your fiancé(e) can apply for a K-1 Visa or Fiance Visa. To qualify for this permit, you must intend to get married within 90 days of your partner’s admission in the U.S.
In the case of dependent children, you must also apply for a K2 Visa or a K4 Visa, depending on whether or not you are are already married.
If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can sponsor your immediate relatives’ visa applications. Under the U.S. immigration law, the following categories are eligible for a Family-based Visa:
- First preference: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens;
- Second Preference (2A): Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of permanent residents;
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons or daughters of permanent residents;
- Third Preference: Married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens;
- Fourth Preference: Adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
Foreign workers can apply for an employment-based visa to travel to the U.S.
Temporary worker visas are for professionals who want to stay in the U.S. for a fixed period, with nonimmigrant intents. This category includes the following visa tiers:
- H-1B Visa, for professionals in specialty occupations;
- E-1 and E-2 Visas, for foreign traders and investors
- Intracompany Transferee for individuals working in a U.S.-based branch of their company;
- Foreign media representatives, athletes, entertainers, and religious workers;
- Applicants from Canada and Mexico under the NAFTA agreement.
Permanent worker visas are targeted at skilled foreign workers with “extraordinary ability”. This includes but is not limited to researchers, investors, and holders of an advanced degree.
If you wish to visit the U.S. for a short period, you need to apply for one of the following:
- B-1 Visitor Visa, for business activities;
- B-2 Tourism Visa, for leisure rationale or for seeking medical treatment;
- B1/B2 Visa, for a combination of both these purposes.
To be eligible, you must provide evidence of your nonimmigrant intent, meaning you must return to your home country at the end of your trip.
As a U.S. permanent resident, you can petition for your family to get a Green Card. However, family-based Green Cards are only available to your immediate relatives, that are:
- Your spouse or unmarried partner;
- Your unmarried children under the age of 21;
- Parents or adult family members who require assistance.
Your family members who do not meet this legal definition can still apply for a Family Preference Visa.
If you wish to study at a U.S. university or educational institution, you can apply for a Student Visa. Depending on the type of school you plan to attend, you can follow different immigration paths.
For example, pupils who wish to enter the U.S. to attend university, college, or other academic institutions should apply for an F1 Visa. This includes language training programs. On the other hand, distance-learning courses are not eligible for this category of permit.
Adult and young students who wish to attend a vocational or other nonacademic institution can instead apply for an M visa.
Nevertheless, for short recreational study, a B2 Visitor Visa may be the most appropriate choice.
There are different ways to become a citizen of the U.S.:
- Birthright citizenship, for applicants born within the territorial limits of the U.S.;
- Citizenship through Naturalization that is the process in which a non-U.S. citizen becomes an American citizen after meeting specific requirements;
- Through the Green Card Lottery, that is held every fiscal year.
To choose the right immigration path for your case, you must first determine your eligibility. When you are ready, you can submit your petition and begin your journey to become a citizen of the United States of America.
When submitting your U.S. visa application, it is essential to complete your forms to the highest standard. If you make a mistake or submit insufficient documentation, the USCIS will need more time to process your application, and it can even reject it.
For this reason, it is recommended to seek expert legal advice. At IAS, our immigration lawyers can make your U.S. visa application process less stressful. We can help you complete your forms and liaise with the USCIS.
To start discussing the perfect strategy to get your U.S. visa, get in touch today. You can either call us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online contact form.