Are you interested in visiting the United States? If you are not a U.S. citizen, you cannot travel to the United States without being granted a non-immigrant visa (NIV). What is a non-immigrant visa? How do you apply for a non-immigrant visa? Before you begin the application process, you will also need to know the types of non-immigrant visas available. Also, you will need to know the difference between an immigrant visa and a U.S. non-immigrant visa.
What Is a Non-Immigrant Visa?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a non-immigrant visa is a document that allows a foreign national to visit the United States for a temporary period. Non-immigrant visa holders are expected to return to their home country. They are not authorized to live permanently in the United States.
A non-immigrant visa is different from a Green Card (immigrant visa). If you would like to live permanently in the U.S., you will need to work with your immigration lawyer to complete the immigrant visa process.
Non-Immigrant Visas vs Immigrant Visas
What is the difference between non-immigrant and immigrant visas? Non-immigrant visas are granted to foreign nationals who wish to visit the U.S. for a temporary period. This timeframe is agreed upon before the applicant travels to the United States.
Immigrant visas or Green Card is a document that allows the holder to become a permanent resident of the United States.
The reasons for this application may include foreign nationals who wish to marry someone who is already a legal resident of the U.S., individuals who have received a permanent work sponsorship from a company, or a foreign-born child whom U.S. citizens are adopting.
Visa Waiver Program
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is designed to allow foreign nationals from 39 countries the right to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without the need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.
It is essential to check with your immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information about this program. Countries eligible for this program can change.
When Should I Apply?
If you want to visit the United States for tourism, medical treatment, business, or to perform religious activities, you must have the correct government-issued documentation. In fact, there are over 100 different non-immigrant visa classifications available.
If you are not a U.S. resident, you cannot enter the United States for any reason without first obtaining a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant visas are also required before a citizen of a foreign country can apply to be a permanent resident of the United States.
Some Types of Non-Immigrant Visas Available
As stated before, there are over 100 different types of non-immigrant visas available through the United States government. Some of the most common visas that people apply for are listed below.
- B-1 Business Visa
- B-2 Tourism Visa
- Work Visa
- F-1 Student Visa
- M-1 Student Visa
List of Other Non-Immigrant Visas
Option 1: Type A
The U.S. grants this document to diplomats and foreign government officials. Type A visa holders do work for their home governments in the U.S.
Option 2: A-1 – NATO1-6
The U.S. grants this document to foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.
Option 3: B-1 Business
The U.S. grants this document to people who want to enter the U.S. to do business. B-1 visa holders can conduct a wide range of business activities. They can also attend business events.
Option 4: B-2 Tourist Visa
The U.S. grants this document to people who want to enter the United States for vacation. They can also apply for this visa if they need to have a medical procedure done.
If a person works on a sea vessel or aircraft, they will need to obtain the B-2 Tourist Visa before acquiring shore leave or time-off.
Option 5: Work Visa
The U.S. grants this document to people who want to apply for temporary work in the United States. There are ten different types of work visas.
Applying for the wrong work visa type is expensive and could result in a loss of work. It is crucial to work with an immigration lawyer during this process.
Option 6: F-1 Student
The U.S. grants this document to people who have received an acceptance letter from a U.S.-based college or university.
Applicants must show proof of enrollment and attend at least 18-hours a week of instruction each week. Classes must be conducted in the English language.
Option 7: M-1 Student
The U.S. government grants this document to people who plan to attend a non-academic or vocational training school in the United States.
Option 8: J Visa
The U.S. government grants this document to people who live in a foreign country and come to the U.S. to participate in an exchange program. The purpose of this visa is to foster an interchange of knowledge.
Option 9: Domestic Employee
The U.S. grants this document to people whose place of domestic employment is based in the United States. These roles include housemaids, valets, footmen, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, nannies, mother’s helpers, and personal companions.
If an employer travels to the U.S. from a foreign country, a domestic employee must obtain a B-1 visa to travel with them.
Option 10: R (Religious Worker)
The U.S. grants this document to people who want to work in a religious field in the United States. They must be associated with a religious entity that is recognized in the United States.
For more information about legally recognized religious entities in the United States, please speak to an immigration lawyer before submitting an R Visa (Religious Worker) application.
How Do I Apply?
Does one of these non-immigrant visas match your needs? Before you can travel to the United States, you must hire an immigration attorney to help you through the non-immigrant visa application process.
A skilled immigration attorney will help you select the correct non-immigrant visa that matches your circumstances. For example, if you are traveling to the United States to receive medical treatment, do you need a B-2 Tourism visa or a B-1 Business visa? A qualified immigration law firm can ensure that you select the correct type to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.
Steps to Apply
Applicants who wish to visit the United States on a temporary basis must complete the application process in their home country before they are allowed to travel to the United States. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are several states that your immigration attorney can help an applicant complete.
Step 1: Fill Out & Submit Form DS-160
Form DS-160 can be filled out and submitted electronically online from the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
Step 2: Application Review
A Consular Officer will review the information provided and determine if the applicant has provided enough information to support their claim that they want to visit the United States for medical treatment, business, temporary work or study, etc.
Step 3: Complete an In-person Interview
All applicants seeking a non-immigrant visa must complete an in-person interview with a U.S. government official before their application is approved. The applicant is responsible for setting up the appointment.
The applicant will need to visit the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate website to receive country-specific instructions about their interview.
Step 4: Pay Application Fees
Once again, foreign nationals that wish to visit the U.S. for any reason must visit the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate website to discover the cost of the fees associated with their application.
Fees vary depending on the foreign national’s home country. The U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate can help you set up payment for these fees.
What Happens Next?
Once the non-immigrant visa is approved, the U.S. government will issue the document. Once again, this document does not allow the holder to live permanently in the United States. They will need to enter the country at the assigned time, and they cannot stay beyond the visa expiration date.
Suppose the non-immigrant visa holder wants to change their immigrant status and become a Green Card holder. In that case, they will need to work with their immigration attorney and the United States government to complete the Green Card application process.
If you would like help applying for your non-immigrant visa or Green Card, schedule an appointment with Wolf Sultan Vazquez P.C. for a consultation or more information today. Since 1976, they practice exclusively in immigration law, both in private practice and as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice with the U.S. Immigration Court. When you need the best Tucson immigration attorneys, you can count on Wolf Sultan Vazquez P.C. to deliver!