San Diego

619-796-1765

1901 First Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Los Angeles

323-577-8529

355 South Grand Avenue, #2450
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Visas

Generally, there are two types of visas in which an individual can use to enter into the United States.  An immigrant visa is used if the individual will be remaining permanently in the United States after entry.  A non-immigrant visa is used if an individual is not immigrating to the United States but will instead be in the United States for a designated period of time.

Visas for nonimmigrants

Visas for nonimmigrants are for travel to the United State on a temporary basis.  There are numerous visas for temporary visitors to the United States.  The purpose for travel will dictate what type of visa is required under the United States Immigration Law.  Two of the most common visas are B-1 and B-2.   

B-1 Visitor for Business

If the purpose for your travel to the United States is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, and professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, a B-1 Business Visitor Visa would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

Under a B-1 business visa, a visitor may not:

1)     Run a business;

2)     Obtain “Gainful employment”;

3)     Receive payment for services pertaining to employment by an organization within the United States;

4)     Participate as a professional in entertainment or sporting events.

*Nonimmigrants involved in the endeavors mentioned above need to obtain a working visa.

B-2 Visitor for Pleasure (Tourist)

If the purpose of your planned travel is recreational or for leisure in nature, including tourism, vacation (holiday), amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, and participation by amateurs, who will receive no remuneration, in musical, sports and similar events or contests, then a B-2 Visa for Visitors would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel to the United States. If you are going to the United States primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study that is recreational (and not for credit towards a degree), and the course is less than 18 hours per week, this is also permitted on a B-2 visitor visa.

**B1 and B2 visas are most commonly refused when the applicant does not show enough evidence of social, family or economic ties to his/her country of residence that would ensure that he or she would return there following the visit to the USA.

Visa Waiver

Travelers from certain countries may be exempt from having to obtain a visa in advance of their trip to the United States.  The Department of State has a listing of thirty-six countries eligible for Visa Waivers.  To obtain a Visa Waiver you must demonstrate that you are eligible to meet the requirements to obtain a visa in order to be able to obtain one to enter the United States.  Some of these requirements are:

  1. Your visit will be temporary (90 days or less);
  2. You will depart at the end of your authorized stay or any extension granted by USCIS;
  3. You are in possession of a valid passport;
  4. You maintain a foreign residence that you have no intention of abandoning;
  5. You are able to support yourself financially while in the United States;
  6. You are admissible to the United States or have obtained a waiver for any ground of inadmissibility.

If you want to travel to the United States for reasons other than business or pleasure, you must apply for a visa in the appropriate category.  This includes if you want to study, work and for other various reasons.

Visas for Temporary Employees for Non-Immigrant Workers

There are various categories of non-immigrant visas for an individual who wishes to work temporarily in the United States.  If you want to work in the United States temporarily you are required to obtain a specific visa based on the purpose of your travel and type of work you will be doing.  The eligibility requirements and amount of visas available for temporary workers is different for each category.  There are annual numerical limits on some types of visas available for temporary workers.   The procedure for obtaining a non-immigrant work visa to perform temporary work is quite complex and takes many months to obtain.  Please call or email us to set up a free consultation should you like to determine if you qualify for one of the temporary worker visas below:

E-1 Treaty Traders/E-2 Treaty Investors

The Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa or Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa is for a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who is coming to the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country.  Additionally, the individual could be coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital, under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

H-1B Persons in Specialty Occupation

An individual who wants to obtain this type of visa must show that he/she will be working in a field applying the individual’s theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education.  Annually there are only 65,000 visas of this type available.  This category also includes fashion models and Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense

H-2A Seasonal Agricultural Workers

The H-2A program allows United States employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs for which United States workers are not available.  H-2A nonimmigrant classification applies to aliens seeking to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States on a temporary basis. A United States employer must file for this type of visa on your behalf.  Qualifications for a H-2A nonimmigrant classification include:

  1. The job offered must be of a temporary or seasonal nature;
  2. The employer must demonstrate that there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work; and
  3. The employer must show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed United States workers.

 H-2B Temporary or Seasonal Nonagricultural Workers

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows United States employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A United States employer must file for this type of visa on your behalf.  There is a numerical limit on how many of these types of visas are available each year.  Qualifications for a H-2B nonimmigrant classification include:

  1. The employer must establish that its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as permanent or temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if it is a one-time occurrence, a seasonal need, a peak-load need, or an intermittent need;
  2. The employer must demonstrate that there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work;
  3. The employer must show that the employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed United States workers.

 H-3 Trainees (other than medical or academic)

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category is for an alien coming temporarily to the United States as either a Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor.

A Trainee is an individual who is coming to the United States to receive training, other than graduate or medical education training, that is not available in the alien’s home country.

A Special Education Exchange Visitor is coming to the United States to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program for children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

An H-3 visa Trainee must be invited by an individual, business or organization for the purpose of receiving training, other than graduate or medical education training, in any field including, but not limited to: Commerce, Communications, Finance, Government, Transportation, Agriculture, or the professions.

This classification is not intended for employment within the United States. It is designed to provide an alien with job related training for work that will ultimately be performed in the alien’s home country.  There is a numerical limit on the number of H-3 visas available for Trainee/Special Education Exchange Visitors each year.

L Intracompany Transferees

The L-1A and L-1B visa enables a United States employer to transfer an executive, manager or professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This visa also allows a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated United States office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.  An employer must file for this type of visa for you.

O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or for those who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.  The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:

O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry).

O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.

O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 visa worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a United States worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 visa worker.

O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s.

P-1 Individual or Team Athletes, or Members of an Entertainment

Applies to an individual coming to the United States temporarily to participate in a certain athletic competition as an athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance.

P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete

This visa classification applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.

P-1B  Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group

This visa classification applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.

P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering the United States to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program

This visa classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country.

P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to the United States to be Part of a Culturally Unique Program

This visa classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.

Q International Cultural Exchange Program

The Q nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who are a part of international cultural exchange programs designated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The Q visa for nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States.

TN NAFTA Professionals (TN NAFTA Visa)

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. This agreement allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter into the United States to engage and work in business activities at a professional level.

The types of job professions eligible under the TN NAFTA agreement include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, teachers as well as other designations.  Eligibility for TN nonimmigrant status includes:

  1. You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  2. Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
  3. The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
  4. You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (this does not include self-employment; and
  5. You have the qualifications of the profession.

Family of TN Visa Holders

Any accompanying or following to join spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. They must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to you.  Spouses and children can study while in the United States but they cannot work.

F Visas, M Visas and J Visas for Students and Exchange Visitors

If you want to pursue full-time academic or vocational studies in the United States, you may be eligible for a “student visa.” There are two nonimmigrant student categories. The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students.

If you are seeking to participate in an exchange program you may be eligible for the “J” category visa for exchange visitors. The J visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Before applying for a F, M or J visa, all student and exchange visitor applicants are required to be accepted and approved for their program.

F-1 Academic Students

In general, F-1 visas are for academic students attending a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or other academic institutions, including a language training program.  Qualifications for a F-1 visa include:

  1. Have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence;
  2. Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
  3. Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

F-2 Spouses or Children of F-1

Applicants for F-1 with dependents must also provide:

  1. Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.);
  2. It is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

F-3 Canadian or Mexican National Academic Commuter Students

 

M-1 Vocational Students

For students attending vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions, other than a language training program.  Qualifications for this M-1 visa include:

  1. Have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence;
  2. Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
  3. Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

M-2 Spouses and Children of M-1

Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.);

M-3 Canadian or Mexican National Vocational Commuter Students

 

*Staying beyond the period of time authorized by the Department of Homeland Security causes you to be out-of-status in the United States, which is a violation of U.S. immigration laws. This may cause ineligibility for a visa in the future for return travel to the U.S.

Waivers of Ineligibility

If you are ineligible for a visa based on inadmissibility, you may be able to apply for a waiver. The visa category that you are applying for will determine whether a waiver of ineligibility is available. The consular officer interviewing you will tell you if you may apply for a waiver and will provide detailed instructions for how to apply.

Contact Scales of Justice, LLP to set up a consultation to discuss how we can help you with you non-immigrant visa case.

 

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