Atlanta Non-Immigrant Visa Lawyer
The purpose of a non-immigrant visa is temporary entry to the U.S., as opposed to an immigrant visa, which allows one to enter the country and stay permanently. The duration of a non-immigrant visa is dependent on the “visa status” – some individuals are awarded non-immigrant visas because they are skilled in a special occupation; others may be college students, etc.
If your objective is to obtain a non-immigrant visa for yourself or a member of your family, the Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc. can assist you by identifying the correct visa type and filing the necessary applications and paperwork.
F-1 Student Visa
Many schools in the United States offer great opportunities for students who wish to further their education and training. The intellectual stimulation and social interaction gained by studying in the U.S. can become vital elements of a student’s growth and development.
Foreign national students who want to study in the U.S. usually apply for the F-1 visa. Vocational students most often apply for M-1 status. You must apply to and be accepted by a USCIS-approved school before applying for either an F-1 or M-1 visa. You will also need to be able to prove to the U.S. consulate that you have the money to afford to both go to school and take care of your expenses while in the U.S.
F-2 status allows your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join you in the U.S. Note that you should bring them with you when you visit the consulate to apply for your F-1 visa. If your spouse and/or dependent children are joining you later, they will need to submit a copy of your USCIS Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status – for Academic and Language Students) and documents proving their relationship to you to the U.S. embassy staff. The F-2 status of spouse and children is dependent upon your F-1 status. As soon as you are no longer an F-1 student, your family members lose their F-2 status.
F-1 students have the opportunity to work in their field of study both before graduation (curricular practical training) and after (optional practical training (OPT)).
Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) offers an easy, effective method to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure. The program enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for pleasure or business for 90 days or less without officially obtaining a U.S. visa.
Certain exceptions apply, including people who plan to work or study in the U.S., stay more than 90 days, or people who might otherwise be ineligible for a visa. Travelers who have previously been denied visas, who have criminal records or who may be ineligible to enter the U.S. on the VWP, should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before attempting to use the VWP to enter the U.S.
Visa Waiver Program applicants must:
- Have a machine-readable passport issued by a participating country that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of return.
- Have a round-trip ticket issued on a carrier that has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to participate in the VWP.
- Agree to waive any right to contest removal after 90 days in the U.S.
Businesses from around the world come to the U.S. to buy, sell, consult, and otherwise engage in commerce. The best way to temporarily visit the U.S. to promote a business venture is under B-1 status. A B-1 visa allows access to a variety of economic opportunities in the U.S. Individuals eligible for this visa range from board members and athletes, to musicians, entertainers, and servants of non-immigrants, to salesmen.
B-1 visa applicants must be able to prove:
- The nature of the business that they plan to do.
- The exact length of time that they need to conduct their business.
- Their intention to return to their home country after the business has been concluded.
B-1 applicants may stay in the U.S. for up to one year, depending on the amount of time granted upon their entry to the U.S.
The B-2 visa is the ideal entry pass for tourists interested in seeing the U.S. through brief trips for pleasure. The State Department defines “pleasure trips” as legitimate activities of a recreational character such as tourism, amusement, visits to friends and/or relatives, rest, medical treatment, or activities of a social or service nature.
B-2 applicants must prove:
- Their purpose in coming to the U.S.
- They will remain in the U.S. for a specific amount of time.
- They have enough money to pay for their stay in the U.S.
- They have a permanent residence in their home country to which they intend to return.
B-2 applicants may stay in the U.S. for up to one year, depending on the amount of time granted upon their entry to the U.S.
The J-1 visa is designed to provide educational and cultural exchange programs, and to promote the sharing of knowledge, skills and education in the arts and sciences. This visa enables people to participate in exchange programs in the United States.
J-1 visa holders include students, trainees involved in on-the-job training, visiting scholars and researchers, and consultants. Although many J-1 visa holders come to the U.S. for paid on-the-job training, exchange students who visit the U.S. under this status are not permitted to work.
The J-1 applicant must prove:
- That his or her stay in the U.S. will be temporary.
- That he or she will have sufficient funds to stay in the U.S.
- That he or she intends to return home after the visit.
- That his or her stay in the U.S. is approved by a J-1 program recognized by USCIS.
Your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for entry under J-2 status. Dependents of J-1 visa holders may work in the U.S. if they can prove that they are able to provide for their own expenses.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of legal permanent residents who have waited for three years for visa approval may apply for the V visa.
V-1 visas are issued to spouses; V-2 visas are issued to children; and V-3 visas are issued to derivative children of either spouses or children. In order to be classified as V-3, applicants must show that they are the children of V-1 or V-2 status individuals. All applicants must be eligible for visa issuance under all other applicable immigration laws.
Because V Visas are only available for petitions filed on or before December 21, 2000, the category will cease to exist when there are no more eligible candidates.
V visas are valid for up to two years.
K-3 and K-4 Visas
K visas are open to spouses of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immigrant visa petition. The spouses’ unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible. After arriving in the U.S. under K status, these visa holders must apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. K visa holders may seek employment regardless of whether their permanent status has been approved.
K visas are valid for up to two years.
The Q-1 visa supports international cultural exchange such as practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the participant’s home country in the U.S. This visa enables individuals to participate in exchange programs in the U.S.
Q-1 visa holders must be at least 18 years old and possess the ability to effectively convey their home country’s history and culture for a U.S. audience. Their U.S. sponsor must agree to pay them the same rate that a similar worker in the U.S. would receive.
The Q-1 application must be accompanied by evidence that the employer/sponsor:
- Intends to provide “an overview of the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, tradition and/or other cultural attributes of the participant’s home country.” Intends to make the program available to the public for the purpose of intercultural exchange between the visa holder and the American public.
- “Has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS.”
- Can provide a working environment comparable to that of a domestic employee providing the same services.
- Is capable of properly compensating the Q-1 visa holder for his or her work.