The Different Types of Visas and How They Impact Immigrants

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The Different Types of Visas and How They Impact Immigrants

Understanding the Different Types of Visas – And How They Impact Immigrants 

Immigrants to the United States must obtain visas in order to enter and remain in the country legally. Visas are available for various purposes, from trade and tourism to education and employment. Immigrants need to understand the different types of visas that are available, as this will affect their rights and privileges while residing in the country.  

This article will provide an overview of the various visa categories, including how they impact immigrants’ legal status in the U.S. 

Types of Visas and their Impact on Immigrants 

In order to enter America, foreign citizens need to obtain a visa. These visas can be issued by American embassies and consulates and are divided into two main categories: immigrant visas for those seeking permanent residency and non-immigrant visas for temporary stays.  

Student Visas (for studying abroad) 

  • F1 Visa – An F1 visa is issued to learners who plan on enrolling in an academic program or English Language Program in the U.S. This visa is the most commonly used by international students, and students are required to take a minimum of full-time classes as part of their status. Part-time, on-campus work is allowed for up to twenty hours per week, and after completing their program, they can also receive up to a year of Optional Practical Training (OPT). The I-20 form will indicate when the program must be completed by the student’s expiration date. 
  • J1 Visa – A J1 visa is granted to students who need special training that can’t be found in their home country to finish their studies. With the J-1 student status, they are allowed similar job opportunities as an F1 visa holder, with certain limitations, provided that it has been authorized by the exchange program sponsor. 
  • M1 Visa – This visa is for international students looking to attend a non-academic or vocational school. It’s important to note that those holding an M1 visa are not allowed employment during their studies. Applicants must demonstrate they have enough funds to pay for tuition costs and living expenses throughout their stay. 

Work Visas 

The U.S. government offers a range of work visas that allow foreign nationals to work legally in the country on a temporary or permanent basis. These include: 

  • H1B Visa – This visa is designed for foreign professionals with specialized skills and knowledge that cannot be found among American workers. The employer must apply on behalf of their employee, and they will need to meet certain requirements to be eligible. 
  • L1 VisaAn L1 visa is issued to workers transferring from their company’s foreign office or subsidiary to its U.S. office. This type of visa allows the applicant’s family members to reside in the U.S., and they can apply for a green card after meeting specific requirements. 
  • O-1 VisaThe O-1 visa is intended for those with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; it allows them to stay and work legally in the U.S., provided that there is an offer from a potential employer that matches their skillset. 
  • TN VisaThe TN visa is specifically designed for Canadian and Mexican professionals who intend to come to the U.S. to perform services in a field outlined by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It can be extended indefinitely, provided the applicant continues to meet the requirements of their chosen profession. 

Business/Tourist Visa 

Business/tourist visas allows for individuals to travel temporarily to the United States for either business or pleasure. Here is a breakdown of what each type of visa is typically used for: 

  • B-1: Consulting with business associates, attending conventions or conferences, settling an estate, and negotiating contracts. 
  • B-2: Recreation activities such as tourism, visiting friends or family members, medical treatment, and participating in social or service activities.  

In many cases, both types are issued together in one visa (the B-1/B-2). Depending on the purpose of travel, applicants will need to apply for the appropriate visa 

Family Visas 

Family visas are designed for those who wish to bring their family members over to the U.S., including spouses, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives. These visas include: 

  • K1 Visa – This type of visa is given to the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen and allows them to travel to the U.S. with intent to marry their partner within 90 days of entering the country. 
  • F2 Visa – An F2 visa is granted to dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old) of an F1 student visa holder; it allows them to stay in the U.S. but does not permit employment. 
  • F3 Visa – This visa is reserved for family members who are citizens or permanent residents of Mexico or Canada and have been issued an immigrant visa by the U.S. Department of State or USCIS. It allows the applicant to work in the U.S. and live there indefinitely but does not grant them citizenship or permanent residence. 

Hire an Experienced Immigration and Visa Attorney Today 

Navigating the immigration process can be confusing and overwhelming, so it is recommended to seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney. An immigration lawyer at EZ Immigration Help will be able to guide you through the application process and advise on visa options that may best match your individual needs and circumstances. Contact EZ Immigration Help today for all your immigration questions! 

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