If you wish to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time with the intention of returning to your home country, a non-immigrant visa ("NIV") permits you to travel to the USA and make a request for admission into the USA, for a specific purpose. That purpose may be business related, educational, to attend a conference, give a musical performance, to compete athletically or simply to visit the country, friends or family, etc. Proving that you have strong ties to your home country is essential to prove you have a compelling reason to depart the US prior to the expiration of the authorized period of stay.
A non-immigrant visa differs from an immigrant visa in that the non-immigrant visa only allows a person to enter temporarily, for a specific amount of time whereas an immigrant visa holder can enter stay permanently in the USA as long as they do not violate the terms of their legal resident status.
Some NIV visas have "dual intent" which means a person who enters with a NIV may under certain circumstances apply for a family or employment immigrant visa.
The length of time someone can stay in the U.S. with a non-immigrant visa depends on the visa under which they are admitted. A person admitted under a specific status may request to change their visa status to perform a different activity. For instance, a medical school student may want to change his or her status to an employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa once they graduate to accept employment (assuming of course that their new employer will sponsor them). A request to extend status is also permissible to remain in the USA for a longer period of time. Change of status and request to extend status must be timely filed.
The process of entering the US with an NIV can be confusing and complicated. Our firm can help determine which visa category you may be eligible for and how to navigate the application process.
The following is a brief list of the most commonly used temporary visa categories:
COMMON NON-BUSINESS TEMPORARY VISAS:
B-2 Visitor’s Visa
Is the most issued visa intended to admit visitors to engage primarily in recreational activities, i.e. vacations, visits to family and friends. Among many of the other permissible activities are: visits for medical treatment, attending conventions, inclusive a foreign national entering to marry a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident as long as they can prove they will return to their foreign country.
Fiance(e) K Visas
K-1 Category - Permits the fiance(e) of an U.S. citizen to enter the USA for a period of 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen and later apply for permanent U.S.A. residency.
K-3 Category - allow the spouse and children of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of a family immigrant petition to be admitted initially as a non-immigrant and later adjust to permanent resident after entry into the USA.
COMMON WORK RELATED (BUSINESS) TEMPORARY VISAS
B-1 Temporary Visa for Business Visitors
This visa allows the entry of a business visitor into the USA to conduct business. No salary is permitted to be earned from a U.S. employer while in the country.
H1-B Specialty Occupation
This non-immigrant visa classification applies to an alien who will be employed temporarily in a “specialty occupation” (one which typically requires a Bachelor’s degree). Under current law, there is an annual limit of 65,000 aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status. As many as 20,000 additional H-1B slots are available to graduates of U.S. Master’s degree (or higher) programs.
H2-B Seasonal, Temporary Employees
This visa classification allows U.S. employers to hire seasonal, temporary, peak load, intermittent, or one-time basis employees for a period of less than one year.
L-1 Intra-company Transfers
The L-1 visa permits multinational companies to transfer high-level and essential employees from their international offices to the United States. The non-immigrant would work at the affiliate or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
E-1 Treaty Traders
The E-1 visa allows an individual to enter the United States on a non-immigrant basis for the sole purpose of carrying on substantial trade between his or her country and the United States. The home country of the non-immigrant must have a treaty with the United States.
E-2 Treaty Investor
If you desire to enter the U.S. to run an enterprise in which you are invested, you may obtain the non-immigrant visa status of E-2 treaty investor. If you are an employee of a treaty trader investor you may also be qualified as an E visa holder if your duties require special qualifications essential to the business. The non-immigrant must have the same nationality as the alien employer and the home country of the non-immigrant must have a treaty with the United States.
O-1 Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
Highly talented or acclaimed individuals may be eligible for an O visa for entry into the U.S. People who may qualify for this visa are physicians, scientists, educators and accomplished businesspeople as well as athletes considered at the top of their field.
P-1 International Athlete
Internationally recognized athlete or a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group may be eligible for a P-1 visa for entry into the US. P-2 visas are available for an artist or entertainer in a reciprocal exchange program while P-3 visas are available for artists or entertainer in a culturally unique program.
These visas are limited to nationals of Canada and Mexico. If you are employed in one of the sixty-three listed professions in NAFTA, you can apply for non-immigrant TN status. Most of the listed professions require either a bachelor's degree or a licensure degree.
R-1 Religious Workers
The R-1 visa permits religious workers to come to the U.S. to take on a religious occupation and perform services for their religious organization. The religious organization must already be established in the United States.
Click here to see a complete list of Non-Immigrant Temporary Visas.
Find out more details about these visas or about many other means of obtaining a non-immigrant visa to the U.S., by contacting us today to arrange a free consultation.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.