U.S. Visas

People traveling to the United States will find right away that they will need a visa in order to enter into the United States. A visa is usually issued to people who are entering into the United States. They usually have to enter through what is called a port of entry. This port of entry is a place where people enter into the country. An airport or any location where people from other countries enter the United States is considered a port of entry.

A visa is something that has to be issued by the country that a person is entering into. There are certain steps that must be followed in order to get a visa.

The very first step to get a visa is to make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy can be reached a number of ways from email and phone. There is bound to be long waiting times for anyone seeking to meet with the Embassy.

The next step of the process is to pay all of the fees before meeting the with the Embassy officials. Fees are non refundable in most cases.

Completing the paperwork is the next stop along the path to obtaining a visa. The applicant must have a passport, complete documents that show personal information and the reason for traveling, receipts for fee payment and any other information the officials need.

Make sure to file the application, passport and all documents that are required. The Embassy officials will be sure to review all of the paperwork that is submitted. As the review process takes place there are several people that will take a look at all of the documentation. Each piece will be screened to determine if there are any flags behind each applicant. If there is a red flag it will delay the application process. So make sure to start the process with plenty of time for the process to be completed. Upon arrival at the port of entry there will be a few pieces of paperwork that must be filled out. Make sure to complete the arrival and departure form.

Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas

The United States is a free and open society that welcomes citizens from around the world who genuinely want to visit, study, and do business here. Generally, citizens of foreign countries need a visa to enter the United States. However, U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States has updated its visa policies and entry procedures to increase security for our citizens and visitors. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US–VISIT), is an integrated, automated entry-exit system that uses biometric identifiers to: verify the identities of foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States, authenticate their travel documents, and record their arrival and departure.

These policies have required new security measures which in turn have resulted in longer processing periods for all types of visas. It is therefore critical to know the proper U.S. visa requirements and procedures in order to prevent significant time delays which may derail a planned vacation or family visit, or result in a lost employment or investment opportunity.

What is a Visa?

A visa is a document that allows the bearer to travel to the United States and request admission at a U.S. port of entry (airport or land border crossing) by an Inspections officer of United States Customs & Border Protection (CBP). However, a visa does not guarantee entry to the U.S., but simply confirms to a CBP Inspections officer that a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate abroad has determined that the foreign national is eligible to enter the country for the specified purpose. A CBP officer at a U.S. port-of-entry has the authority to either admit a foreign national requesting admission, or deny admission to the United States where the foreign national does not meet the requirements of the particular visa classification or is otherwise inadmissible to the United States.

The issuance of visas is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State. However, prior to applying for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa at a United States consulate abroad, a foreign national will usually need to have a visa petition approved on their behalf by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), under one of two categories of U.S. visa classification:

Nonimmigrant Visas

A nonimmigrant visa allows the bearer to travel to the United States temporarily for business, tourism, studies, or work. Non-immigrant visa classifications are commonly identified by alphabet letters from A to T according to the subsection of the Immigration and Nationality Act which authorizes them. Each classification has specific requirements and restrictions, some of which are summarized below. Generally, non-immigrant visas have two things in common:

Limited Timeframe: Non-immigrant visas status is usually limited to a specified time period which expires upon a date certain or specific occurrence; and

Limited Purpose: Non-immigrant visa status is usually limited to the particular purpose for which admission is authorized.

Generally, non-immigrant visas can be obtained in a much shorter timeframe than immigrant visas, and therefore may be strategically used to allow for travel to the Unites States while immigrant classification is sought. The following list covers some of the most common non-immigrant visa classifications but does not represent a complete listing of the types of non-immigrant visas available under immigration law.

Visitor Visas
Business Visas
Spouses/Fiancée Visas
Student/Trainee Visas

Immigrant Visas

An immigrant visa allows the bearer to travel to the United States in order to permanently live and work. Immigrants are foreign nationals who seek lawful permanent residence in the United States. A grant of immigrant status as a lawful permanent resident is usually a prerequisite for foreign nationals who wish to become United States citizens. Foreign nationals who become eligible for lawful permanent residence while outside the United States are required to obtain an immigrant visa before traveling to the United States.

Family Immigration
Employment Immigration
Labor Certification
Diversity Visa

How an Immigration Attorney can Help the process

An Immigration attorney can help navigate and direct through the entire process. They can help by making sure all of the paperwork is completed on time and done right. If there is a delay because of a red flag they can help navigate the process of providing additional information to the questioning authority. Contact Your Local Immigration Attorney today.