U.S. Immigration Lawyer - U.S. Visa Lawyer
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U.S. Visas in General



U.S. Visas in General → Overview

Do you need an immigration lawyer for assistance with your U.S. visa application or petition? As anyone who has been through the process can attest, the assistance of an immigration lawyer to help with your visa or permanent residence can be very valuable. The difficulties are many and many employers are reluctant to employ due to the complexity of compliance.

There are literally dozens of different us visa categories to enter the United States. They can be broadly divided in two types of visas: immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.  Immigrant visas are visas destined to people who will permanently live and work in the United States, and have secured the necessary permits. This normally requires a US Petitioner (be it a family member or a prospective employer) to file an immigrant visa petition on behalf of the alien beneficiary.


Once the immigrant visa petition is approved, if a visa number is immediately available the beneficiary can either proceed to request consular processing of his or her application for permanent residence (“green card”) or adjustment of his or her immigration status from within the United States. It is important to determine at the outset whether the applicant currently present in the United States is eligible for adjustment  of status once a US visa becomes available to him.


The issues are too numerous and too important to be enumerated here, suffice it to say that we highly recommend consulting a skilled US immigration attorney early on before the whole process is commenced.  For most applicants however, it will be necessary or desirable to obtain another category of US visa. These are called nonimmigant visas because they are to be used for visits of temporary nature.  Some of these visas are for work, some other for leisure or business activities, but by and large an inquiry will be made as to the nature of the proposed visit, the temporariness of the same, and for many US visas, whether or not the applicant has sufficient ties to his or her home country to justify an assumption that he or she is likely to return home at the end of the authorized stay.  A few US visas (such as H1-B, L-1, and others), allow the holder to enter the US in nonimmigrant status while at the same time legally pursue permanent residence in the US. This is the so called doctrine of dual intent, and is not applicable to all visa categories. Some visas in fact are expressly precluded by law or regulations to applicants who have manifested an intent to immigrate in the United States, even if such intent is merely prospective and in accordance to the lawful process to obtain an immigrant visa (“green card”).  It is therefore paramount to structure the whole immigration strategy in a cohesive manner, so that steps undertaken early on do not jeopardize the visa applicant’s ultimate goals, whatever they may be.


Some popular visa categories carry work-authorization incident to their status: H1-B visas are very much sought after so much so that in recent years this visa type has been oversubscribed and subject to a much controversial process of selecting the applicants among the thousand who had filed.


U.S. Visas → Categories

  • L-1 Visas are very desirable visas for workers of multinational companies, including Executives, Managers (L-1A Visa) and Specialized Knowledge Workers (L-1B Visa) who may be transferred to a U.S. branch, subsidiary or affiliated company after only 12 months of employment abroad. READ MORE
  • B-1 Visas are reserved for visitors for business and do not grant authorization to perform salaried work in the United States. They are to be used for temporary visits of short duration and only to conduct business activity not remunerated in the United States.
  • K-1 Visas are for fiancee’s of US citizens who wish to enter the United States with intent to marry within 90 days of entry.
  • K-3 Visas are for spouses of US citizens who are abroad and are beneficiary of a pending petition for immediate relative. This type of visa is supposed to allow a quick entry into the United States pending the outcome of the permanent resident petition.
  • E-2 Visas are for international investors. The amount of capital invested or in the process of being invested must be “substantial” no exact figures are specified as to what constitutes a substantial investment in the E-2 visa context. READ MORE
  • E-1 Visas are reserved for international traders. There must be a substantial amount of trade between the United States and a treaty country before the visa can be issued.

  • B-2 Visas are for temporary visits to the United States for pleasure. There is a strong presumption against the alien who has the burden of proving that he or she does not harbor any immigrant intent and will not circumvent the terms of admission.
  • J-1 Visas make up a multi-pronged visa category ranging from interns, au pairs, international scholars and researchers, to Medical Doctors. Importantly, some J-1 visas are issued subject to a two-year home residency requirement at the end of the J status. The applicant will therefore be forced to go back to his or her home country unless a waiver can be secured.
  • F-1 Visas and M-1 Visas are for students. The applicant must be enrolled and receive documentation from the school to present to the Consulate at the time of visa issuance.
  • O-1 Visas are nonimmigrant visas reserved for aliens of extraordinary ability in the field of arts, science, or entertainment.
  • EB-1 Visas can be obtained for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Multinational Managers, and other very skilled workers.  READ MORE
  • A National Interest Waiver (NIW) can be sought when it is in the national interest of the United States to wave the requirement of Labor Certification, a very time consuming and expensive process normally necessary to seek Employment-Based Permanent Residence. A NIW beneficiary can self-petition thereby not requiring an offer of employment.