Nonimmigrant Visas

The following is the summary of nonimmigrant visa categories most frequently handled by our office. For more detailed information provided by relevant authorities, please click on the links. For consultation regarding procedures, qualifications and required documents, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys. Please report any links that do not connect you to the intended website. We will do our best to correct them as soon as possible

Temporary visitors for business/ Temporary visitors for pleasure

The “visitor” visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) and for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Depending on the purpose of visit and need for the length of stay, visitors are permitted to stay up to 6 months. It is important to note that visitors are not permitted to accept any form of employment during their stay in the United States. Therefore, one should apply for a change of nonimmigrant status if the purpose of visit changes during his or her stay in the United States. Also, special circumstances and/or important considerations may warrant an extension of stay.

Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors

E visas are for foreign Treaty Traders (E-1) and Treaty Investors (E-2) to carry on their businesses in the Unites States if their home country has an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. If applying for an E visa through an U.S. Embassy abroad, one may obtain a visa valid for up to 5 years, and be permitted to stay in the United States for 2 years each time he or she enters the United States with a valid visa. If applying for change of nonimmigrant status through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, one may obtain an E-2 status valid up to 2 years. As long as the business entity maintains its operations and basic conditions for eligibility are fulfilled, one may continuously extend his or her status. Spouses of E-1 or E-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization once admitted into the United States.

Academic Students

F-1 visas are for foreign students who seek to pursue language training programs at U.S. institutions or academic studies at colleges, universities, conservatories, or academic high schools in the U.S. M-1 visas are for nonimmigrants who seek to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies/training.

Specialty Occupations

H-1B visas are for foreign professionals with specialized knowledge with at least a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree. H-1B specialty workers may be employed up to 6 years in the United States in their specialized occupation. H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification allowed to have an immigrant intent; thus, one may pursue permanent residence while working for his or her sponsor in the United States.

Exchange Visitors

J-1 visas are for persons coming to the United States in an approved exchange program. J-1 programs often cover students, research scholars, business trainees, teachers, professors, foreign medical graduates, specialists, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors and au pairs. In order to apply for a J-1 visa, a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (SEVIS DS-2019) from the exchange program sponsor is required.

Fiance(e) and Unmarried Children under 21 of a US Citizen
Spouse and Unmarried Children under 21 of a US Citizen

A fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen may apply for a K-1 visa. Unmarried children under 21 of the fiance(e) are issued K-2 visas. The marriage must take place within 90 days of the fiance(e) entering the United States. K-3/K-4 visas are for U.S. citizens’ spouses and unmarried children under 21. The admission in K-3/K-4 visa status allows the spouse or child(ren) to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. The purpose of K-3 and K-4 visas is to reunite families who have been or could be subject to a long period of separation during the process of immigrating to the United States. In order for the U.S. citizen’s step-child(ren) to be eligible for K-4 visa(s), the marriage with the foreign spouse must have taken place before the 18th birthday of the step-child(ren).

Intracompany Transferee

L-1 visas are for intracompany transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services either in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or in a specialized knowledge position (L-1B) for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the United States. The employee must have been employed abroad for the corporation, firm, or other legal entity on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year within the last three-year period to qualify. The U.S. employer must provide evidence pertaining to the qualifying relationship (ownership and control) with the foreign employer. The maximum period of stay in L-1A status is 7 years, and 5 years for L-1B status. L-1 is a nonimmigrant classification allowed to have an immigrant intent; thus, one may pursue permanent residence while working for his or her sponsor in the United States. Spouses of E-1 or E-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization once admitted into the United States.

Extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics

O-1 visas are for foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The artist’s or athlete’s support staff is given O-2, and the O-1 visa holder’s spouse and/or child(ren) are given O-3. The maximum period of stay in O is 3 years.

Athletes and Entertainers

P visas are for foreign individual/team athletes, entertainment groups (P-1); artists and entertainers in reciprocal exchange programs (P-2); and, artists and entertainers in culturally unique programs (P-3). Spouses and children of P-1/P-2/P-3 are given P-4 visas.

International Cultural Exchange Visitors

Q-1 visas are for participants in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country. Unlike J-1 visa, SEVIS DS-2019 is not required for Q-1.

Religious Workers

In order to be eligible for R-1, the applicant (religious worker) must prove that he or she has been a member of a religious denomination having a nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately prior to the application date. The U.S. petitioning organization must prove that it is a nonprofit religious organization eligible for tax-exempt status pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and must demonstrate that it can and will provide for all of the R-1 beneficiary’s financial and physical needs. The traditional religious occupations qualify for R-1 visas include but are not limited to, pastors, priests, monks, nuns, evangelists, and missionaries. The maximum period of stay in R-1 visa status is 5 years (3 years upon initial admission, and extension for an additional 2 years). R-1 visas may be applied through a U.S. Embassy abroad or through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services after having been admitted in another visa status. At the time of application, the U.S. petitioning organization must provide a detail job description of the traditional religious position being offered and the beneficiary’s qualifications. R-1visa holders may pursue permanent residence as a Special Immigrant? Religious Worker if requirements are fulfilled.

Trade visas for Canadians and Mexicans

TN visas are for nationals of Canada (TN-1) and Mexico (TN-2) to pursue employment in professional occupations in the United States under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. TN employees must possess the credentials required. The validity of admission is 1 year, and can be extended on an annual basis without any limit on the maximum period of stay.

Spouse and minor child(ren) of an LPR who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition (Form I-130) which was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years

V visas are for spouses and children (under the age of 21) of permanent residents who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition (Form I-130) which was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years. The spouse or child can remain in the United States while they wait until they are able to apply for lawful permanent residence status, or for an immigrant visa, instead of having to wait outside the United States.

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