What is a Visa?
A visa is a document inside your passport that allows you to enter the US from a foreign country. You must apply and obtain a visa at the US consulate/embassy in your home country before coming to the US.
If you are already in the US you do not need a visa. A visa is only used to enter the US. A visa is not used or necessary to stay in the US. To stay in the US, you must have legal status. See below for more about legal status.
What is Legal Status?
After you have entered the US using your visa, you must maintain legal status. Legal status allows you to legally stay in the US until the expiration date on your I-94. When your I-94 expires, so does your legal status.
Type of Visas
There are two types of visas: Non-immigrant Visas and Immigrant Visas.
- Non-Immigrant Visas Non-Immigrant visas allow you to enter the US for a temporary period for the purpose of pleasure, business, work, studies, investment, etc. Temporary stay may be allowed for a few months up to many years depending on the type of visa. When you have completed the purpose of your visa (pleasure, business, work), you must return to your home country unless you have applied for permanent residence (green card).
Types of Non-Immigrant Visas include:
- H-1B Visa for Professional Workers
- H-2B Visa for Seasonal Workers
- H-3 Visa for Professional Trainees
- B-1/B-2 Visa for Tourists and Short-Term Business
- E-1 Visa for International Trade Workers
- E-2 Visa for Investors or Essential Employees
- E-3 Visa for Australian Professional Workers
- F-1 Visa for Students
- J-1 Visa for Academic Trainees
- L-1 Visa for Multinational Company Employees
- K-1 Visa for Fiancés of US Citizens
- O-1 Visa for Persons of Extraordinary Abilities
- P-1 Visa for Athletes and Entertainers
- R-1 Visa for Religious Workers
- TN Visa for Canadian and Mexican Professional Workers
- Other Nonimmigrant Visas are also available.
- Immigrant Visas Immigrant Visas allow you to enter the US for permanent residency (green card). There are only two types of immigrant visas: Employment-based immigrant visas (“EB”) and Family-based immigrant visas (“FB”).
Types of Immigrant Visas include:
- EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers (Multinational Executives, Outstanding Researchers, Extraordinary Ability)
- EB-2 Visa for Advanced Degree Workers or National Interest Waivers
- EB-3 Visa for Skilled and Unskilled Workers
- EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrants (Religious, Battered Spouses)
- EB-5 Visa for Investors
- FB-1 Visa for unmarried, adult sons and daughters of US citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
- FB-2 Visa for spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
- FB-3 Visa for married sons and daughters of US Citizens.
- FB-4 Visa for brothers and sisters of adult US Citizens.
Call and speak to our immigration lawyers to find out which visa is right for you. Our immigration lawyers can present you with all your available options and create a customized plan for your immigration to the US. Our immigration lawyers will guide you through the entire process step-by-step from start to finish.