Desh Law offers representation for many Immigration matters, which can vary depending on your reason for coming to the United States. Immigration issues are goverened by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). There are 5 categories worth considering: visitor, student, worker, resident and citizen. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give an idea of the Immigration process.
Visitor status applies to where a person is coming to the U.S. for a temporary basis. The basis can be personal, business (not employment), or for medical treatment. These generally require a visitor visa.
The B-1 visa is for business matters relating to commercial transactions. The B-2 visa is for tourism, social events, some medical treatments and participation in amateur sports, or similar events. Also, B-2 is used for partners not in a marital relationship who wish to accompany their partner.
Generally, length of stay is initially granted for 6 months to 1 year, depending on the reason for visitation and other factors USCIS deems reasonable. An additional extension for 6 months can be requested.
USCIS offers a Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows citizens of selected countries to enter the United States without first obtaining a visa, as long as they are traveling temporarily to the US under a nonimmigrant temporary visa. Admission under a VWP is limited to 90 days.
The U.S. is an attractive option for foreign nationals who seek to grow and expand their educational studies. The relevant visa categories are: F-1 (academic), M-1 (vocational) and J-1 (exchange students). F-1 and M-1 visas are regulated by Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), from the Department of Homeland Security. After acceptance into an educational institution, potential students will need to apply for the proper visa at he U.S. consulate in their foreign country.
The are numerous options for foreign nationals to engage in employment within the United States offered by the USCIS. Generally, an employment offer is required to sponsor a foreign national before coming to the United States. Some of the most common work visas are H1B (specialty occupation), L1A and L1B (intracompany transferee) and J-1 (exchange students).
The H1B visa allows foreign nations to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. Terms are for three years and can be extended for another three years to the maximum term of six years. Extensions past the six year limit are achievable, for example, if the immigrant is the in process of filing for permanent residence through employment. H1B visas have a cap each year, which is 85,000 visas. Click here for Cap count.
The L1 visa is most appropriate for multinational companies or companies seeking to expand and establish a branch into the United States. L1A visa is for executive or managerial roles, while the L1B visa is for employees who hold specialized knowledge.
Foreign nationals looking for permanent residence in the United States, or lawful permanent residence (LPR), are allowed work and reside in the US permanently. LPR’s are commonly referred to as “green card” holders. This is not the same status as a U.S. citizen, due to some limitations. There are some restrictions on the ability to remain in the foreign home country for extended periods. More importantly, in certain situations, a LPR can lose the right to remain within the United States. Commonly, LPR can be obtained through family based petition and employment based petition. Other options are available such as the lottery.
United States Citizenship is obtained by birth, derivation (acquiring citizenship through parents, or applying for naturalization. Once citizenship is achieved, the applicant can live and work in the U.S. permanently and travel for extended periods without risk of losing their status. Privileges such as voting are also acquired though citizenship.
Click here to see if you qualify for naturalization.