All foreign nationals require visas to enter the United States. This requirement, which is set by legislation, policy, and rulemaking, determines who can enter the country, for what purposes, and for how long. Some foreigners are exempt from obtaining a visa prior to entering the United States. However, the stamp applied to their passports at the port of entry may be considered a visa to a certain extent.
Exit visas are not generally required. However, certain travel documents such as passports and permanent resident cards may be required in some cases. The top-level categories as defined by the U.S. Department of State are immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Non-immigrant visas tend to be the most common. These are travel visas issued to foreigners who do not intend to stay in the country on a permanent or indefinite basis. To this effect, some of the most popular visas requested fall under the B category for tourists and business travelers.
Other types of non-immigrant visas allow individuals certain freedom with regard to crossing borders, studying, or conducting certain activities in the U.S. Some examples include: foreign au pairs, Mexican nationals who cross the border for business or cultural purposes, diplomats, artists, athletes, intra-company transfer employees, journalists, students, trainees, transit travelers, and members of NATO stationed in the U.S.
In general, foreigners who are issued non-immigrant visas are not expected to request an adjustment of status to immigrants. However, one significant exception is the H-1B category visas for skilled foreign employees who may be eligible to apply for residency through an immigration attorney. Victims of human trafficking may also be issued a special U or T visa to enter the country before applying for humanitarian relief.
U.S. immigrant visas are issued to foreigners who wish to establish a meaningful connection to this country. This category includes the spousal and fiancé or fiancée visas, children and relatives of U.S. citizens, priority foreign workers, adopted children, visa lottery winners, former residents, Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. government, and special asylum applicants.
The immigrant visa process tends to be more elaborate and complex than most non-immigrant petitions and generally requires the assistance of experienced immigration attorneys.
If you have questions regarding immigration law or need help filing the appropriate visa paperwork, contact the experienced lawyers at KS Visa Immigration Law in San Diego. We offer free consultations and can help with your immigration needs. Give us a call at (858) 874- 0711 today.