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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.
Call today to schedule a consultation with our nonimmigrant visa lawyers in Orlando or fill out our contact form with the details of your case.
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
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. Get in touch with us today 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.
Few lawyers have experience in all the various types of visas, but our Orlando nonimmigrant visa lawyers at Magnolia Immigration Law do. 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.
Our extensive experience in immigration will serve as a huge asset to you and your loved ones as you work on joining the many immigrants who have called the U.S. their home. Fill out our contact form or call (321) 558-2555 to schedule a consultation.