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Visas:  Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant Visas

The purpose of your travel, with few exceptions, determines the type of visa required under United States immigration law.  Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers who would like travel to the United States temporarily. A visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry and seek admission to the United States from Customs and Border Protection. A visa does not guarantee your entry into the United States. It important that you obtain the correct visa for your principal purpose of travel to the United States in order to be lawfully admitted. There are a variety of different types of visas such as visas for tourism, business, medical treatment and employment. If you seek to enter the United States for a temporary nature, contact our office to consult with one of our attorneys. Below is a non-conclusive list of types of nonimmigrant visas along with a brief description:

B1/B2 Visas: Temporary visits for business or for pleasure:

The visitor visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2). This is the most common category of nonimmigrant visas to the United States. The B-1 visa for business should not be confused with an employment visa such that certain acts may be contrary to what the B-1 visa entails.  The B-1 visa is for those individuals whose purpose to enter the United States is for business of a legitimate nature, plan to remain for a specific limited period of time, who have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and stay in the United States, who have a residence outside the United States in which they have no intention of abandoning.

If you are traveling to the United States to engage in any of the following you may be eligible for a B1 visa:


-Engage in commercial transactions, which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (such as a merchant who takes orders for goods manufactured abroad);

- Negotiate contracts;

- Consult with business associates;


-Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or

- Undertake independent research.

O visa: Aliens with extraordinary abilities

This visa is for persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise.

An O-1A holder is an individual alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

An O1-B holder is an alien who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and/or television productions, and who is coming temporarily to the United States to  continue work in the area of extraordinary acheivement.

This visa includes persons providing essential services in support of the individual.

E visas: Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor:

 This visa category was created in part, to enhance or facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and the treaty country. The Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.  To be eligible for this visa you must be coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.


Immigrant Visas:


Immigrant visas are for persons who plan to live permanently in the United States. Your status determines which relatives (or future relatives) may be eligible to receive immigration benefits. In order to help a family member immigrate, you must be a US citizen, permanent resident, refugee admitted as a refugee within the past 2 years or asylee admitted as an asylee within the past 2 years. In general, to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See Family Petitions section.  Processing an immigrant visa takes time and planning contact one of our attorneys to assist in your visa application process. 

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