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Nonimmigrant Visa

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We assist clients in successfully navigating the impersonal and complex process of the U.S. immigration system. Our years of experience mean that our attorneys provide knowledgeable legal service to our clients.

 

At any given time, there are millions of foreign nationals in the United States who are legally recognized as temporary residents. These residents have applied for temporary residency through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency and been granted a document known as a “visa,” which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to live and work legally.

There are two broad categories of visas: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas enable foreign nationals to establish permanent residency in the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas, also known as temporary visas, permit an individual to stay in the U.S. for a defined and approved period of time, as indicated on the foreign national’s Form I-94—a document issued by Customs and Border Patrol upon entry. Both broad visa categories can be further broken down into dozens of individual visas, each permitting travel to the U.S. for a particular reason.

 

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TYPES OF NONIMMIGRANT AND TEMPORARY VISAS

There are many reasons why a foreign national might want to temporarily reside in the United States, and so there are also many different types of nonimmigrant visas. If a foreign national wants to enter the U.S., they must apply for a visa that corresponds to their reason for coming to the U.S., except for foreign nationals of approved countries visiting for less than 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program. If a foreign national fails to get an appropriate visa, they will very likely be denied entry into the country.

Some of the most common temporary visas are: 

  • Treaty trader and treaty investor visas (E-1 and E-2, respectively)
  • Performer visas and extraordinary ability visas (O-1 and P-1)
  • Work visas (H-1B)
  • Intercompany transferee visas (L-1A and L-1B)
  • Training visas (J-1, H-3, and Q-1)
  • Student visa (F-1 and M-1)
  • Fiancé(e) visa (K-1)
  • Religious worker visa (R-1)

Most business-based visas require employers to submit documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the foreign national. Relatives must do the same on behalf of their foreign national family members for family-based visas. This process of filing documentation on behalf of another is referred to as petitioning or sponsoring them.

Applying for Temporary Visas

Anyone wishing to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, whether for themselves or someone else, must keep in mind that the exact application process and timeline can vary drastically based on what specific visa an individual needs. Some temporary residents, such as students and nonimmigrant workers, may also need to receive preliminary documentation from their school or employer before they can be issued a visa.

In general, all applicants or their sponsors will also need to do the following: 

  • Complete an application form
  • Submit supporting documents to prove their identity and details of their visit
  • Complete a visa interview at their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Visa Extensions

If you are currently in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa but foresee needing to extend your stay, you can request a visa extension from USCIS by filing an application before your original visa expires. The extension process can vary depending on the visa type and your reason for extending your stay, so we recommend applying well before the date listed on your I-94. Otherwise, you could violate the terms of your visa and I-94 and even compromise your ability to stay in or return to the U.S.

Nonimmigrant Visa Services

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Visas

E visas were established through a treaty between the U.S. and the Foreign National’s home country to allow for trade or commerce.  Not all countries have a treaty with the United States which allow for this type of visa.  It is important to consult with an attorney to determine eligibility under this visa category. Under an E-1 visa, a treaty trader is defined as someone who conducts “substantial trade in goods, services, and technology” between the United States and their country of origin. Treaty investors, under the E-2 visa, invest a “substantial amount of money” into an enterprise within the U.S. and come to the U.S. to direct and control that enterprise.

To be eligible for these visas, an applicant must fulfill the following requirements: 

  • Be a foreign national of a country with which the U.S. has a commerce treaty;
  • Maintain continuous trade involving numerous transactions or invest a substantial amount of money into a legitimate U.S. enterprise; and
  • Meet the legal definition of an employee, manager, executive, or have special qualifications.

Applicants may seek and E-1 or E2 visa to enter the U.S. specifically to carry on trade or establish and develop investment opportunities.

 

Additional requirements and specific details vary depending on several factors. Schedule a consultation to determine your eligibility and application requirements.

R-1 Visas for Religious Workers

R-1 visas were designed for foreign nationals coming to the United States to serve as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation and who will be employed by a non-profit religious organization in the United States.

H-1B Visas

The H-1B visa is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa which allows highly skilled foreign professionals in specialty occupations to live and work in the United States. An H-1B visa is valid for three years and may be extended up to a maximum of six years.

To be eligible for this visa type, the job opportunity must require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation and the applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a field related to the job opportunity. Magnolia Immigration Law does more than fill out lottery registrations. We ensure that the employer, the job, and the applicant qualify for an H-1b prior to registering for the lottery.  The odds of being chosen are small. The worst thing that could happen would be to win a lottery spot and then have the application fail because one of the requirements isn’t met. Our goal is a successful H-1b.

There are two types of H-1b visa- cap-subject and cap-exempt. Most H-1b visa applicants are subject to a lottery system (also called the cap). Because there are only 85,000 visa numbers given out each year on October 1, but there are typically more than 250,000 visa applicants, USCIS instituted a lottery system whereby employers register with USCIS and enter a candidate into the lottery. The lottery opens each year in March and winners are chosen at the end of the month. The employer then has 90 days to submit a completed application.

A non-profit organization with an affiliation to an institution of higher education is exempt from the normal H-1b lottery. These sponsors are H-1b cap-exempt. If, in addition to showing all of the normal H-1b requirements, the employer can show they have a 501(c)(3) designation and an active affiliation (like an internship program) with a college or university, they can sponsor a candidate any time during the year.

Sources:

American Immigration Council: The H-1B Visa Program and Its Impact on the US Economy: https://shorturl.at/ery17

Berkeley International Office: H-1B Frequently Asked Questions: https://shorturl.at/oCDJPh

MAKE US YOUR LAWYER

Start Your Immigration Journey

We assist clients in successfully navigating the impersonal and complex process of the U.S. immigration system. Our years of experience mean that our attorneys provide knowledgeable legal service to our clients.

 

Nonimmigrant Visas

Magnolia Immigration Law has the experience in all the various types of visas. We have been practicing immigration law for over two decades, and we’ve come to know the ins and outs of nonimmigrant visas. We can help you determine the temporary visa that best applies to your situation and provide you with skilled legal counsel throughout the application process.

 

Whatever your immigration or visa concern, schedule a consultation by calling (321) 558-2555 or sending us a message