What Type of Visa Are You Eligible to Seek?
There are different types of visas issued by the United States Department of State. Every person seeking to enter the United States for different reasons must obtain a visa from the United States, and the visa must be obtained before traveling to the U.S. The type of visa available depends on the needs of the foreigner seeking the visa. Generally, visas fall in one of these categories:
1. Nonimmigrant Visa- for temporary stay in US
2. Immigrant Visa- for permanent stay in US
The specific types of visas available include:
1. B-1 Business Visa –B-1 Business Visas are issued to foreign nationals working for a foreign company. Foreign citizens wanting to visit the United States for most business purposes are eligible to apply for a B-1 Business Visa.
2. B-2 Tourist Visa – Foreigners wanting to tour the U.S. for leisure purposes, for a vacation, or for medical treatment should apply for B-2 Tourist Visa. Citizens of countries qualifying for the Visa Waiver Program also need a B-2 Tourist Visa if they plan to stay in United States for more than 90 days.
3. H-1B Work Visa – This type of Visa allows college-educated professionals with special skills (like doctors, engineers, scientists) to enter the U.S., in order to make “valuable contributions” to American development. A maximum of 65,000 H-1B Visas are issued in one year. Professionals with H-1B Visas can stay in the U.S. for a maximum of three years, but that can be extended if required. The maximum period of stay cannot exceed more than six years. A huge advantage for H-1B Visa holders is that they can apply for Permanent Immigrant Status (Green Card), if their company sponsors them.
4. H-2B Work Visa – An H-2B Visa is a different type of work visa and is issued to skilled and unskilled workers (for non-agricultural jobs). A maximum of 66,000 H-2B Visas are issued each year. Workers with an H-2B Work Visas come to U.S. for a temporary or seasonal job (non-agricultural) offered by US employers.
5. C-1 Transit Visa – Persons who need to enter the U.S. in order to transit to another country would seek an C-1 Transit Visa. People with C-1 Transit Visa are allowed to travel (for a maximum of 29 days) in the U.S. if their destination is another country. Citizens from countries eligible for Visa Waiver Program do not need a Transit Visa.
6. F-1 Student Visa – Foreign students seeking F-1 Students Visas must have a valid educational purpose for coming to the U.S. Only students participating in full time educational programs are eligible to apply for F-1 Student Visas. Students with an F-1 Visa can stay in the U.S. through the completion of their educational session. An F-1 Visa is multi-entry visa, allowing those students to enter the U.S. States many times. Those students can also travel freely anywhere in the United States and can do practical trainings to gain work experience. In many cases, students obtaining a bachelor or master’s degree can be sponsored by their employer and obtain an H-1B Work Visa. This is the biggest advantage attached in first obtaining an F-1 Student Visa.
7. J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa – A J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa allows individuals to participate in exchange visitor programs organized by Education and Cultural Institutions or Business Houses. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa helps industrial trainees, students, teachers, research assistants, scholars, and people on cultural missions who are participating in a program of studies, training, research, or a cultural enrichment program designed for such individuals by the United States Department of State, through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Other Visas Are Available – There are several other types of visas. If you have questions about other visas or about the visas discussed in this article, please call Griffith Law Group at (317) 236-0486.