Arizona Immigration: What Are the 4 Types of U.S. Visas?
United States Work Visas
Several different work visas exist for the United States, and people who want to work legally in the country need to choose a specific work visa. Every visa has specific requirements, applications, costs, and processing times.
The main requirement is typically some kind of concrete job offer by an American employer, and work visas usually have a connection to an employer or company. A future employee will only be able to work for the company that files a visa application.
Common kinds of work visas include:
- C-1 or D Visas, Transit, or Crewmember visas — Transit (C) visas are nonimmigrant visas for people traveling by way of immediate and continuous transit through the United States en route to another country. Crewmember (D) visas are types of nonimmigrant visas for people who are working on board either commercial sea vessels or international airlines within the United States, providing services necessary for normal operation and having the intention to depart the United States on the same vessel or another vessel within 29 days.
- E-1, E-2, and E-3 Visas, visas for temporary workers — Treaty traders or investors and Australian specialty occupation workers need to apply and receive an E-1, E-2, or E-3 visa from a United States consulate or embassy overseas. To qualify for E-1 classification, an applicant has to be a national of a country the United States has some treaty of commerce and navigation with, carry on significant trade, and fulfill principal trade between the United States and a treaty country, qualifying them for E-1 classification. To qualify for E-2 classification, an applicant needs to be a national of a country the United States has some treaty of commerce and navigation with, have invested or be actively investing a significant amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise within the United States, and be seeking to enter the United States only to develop and direct the investment enterprise. To qualify for the E-3 classification, an applicant must be a national of Australia, have a legitimate employment offer in the United States, have necessary academic or other qualifying credentials, and fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.
- H-1B Visas, visas for specialty occupations, Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project workers, and fashion models — The United States Department of Labor notes that the H-1B program is for employers who want to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in certain specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. Specialty occupations require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. H-1B provisions help employers who cannot otherwise obtain necessary business skills and abilities from the American workforce by authorizing temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.
- I Visas, visas for foreign news media — Foreign media visas are for the representatives of foreign media, such as members of the press, radio, film, and print industries who are traveling to the United States to temporarily work in their professions while engaging in informational or educational media activities that are essential to foreign media functions. United States activities while on a media visa need to be for media organizations having their home offices in foreign countries and have to be informational in nature while being generally associated with a news gathering process and reporting on current events.
- L Visas (L-1A and L-1B), temporary worker visas — L-1A and L-1B visas are issued when employers file petitions to obtain authorization for qualified employees to be allowed to work and live in the United States. The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees working in managerial or executive positions in a company located outside the United States, while L-1B visas are for intracompany transferees working in positions requiring specialized knowledge.
- O-1 Visas, visas for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement — The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for people possessing extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have demonstrated records of extraordinary achievement in either the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for these kinds of achievements. The O nonimmigrant classifications are O-1A for people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, O-1B for people with extraordinary abilities in the arts or extraordinary achievements in either the motion picture or television industry, O-2 for people accompanying O-1 artists or athletes to assist with specific events or performances, and O-3 for people who are the spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
- TN Visas, visas for North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professionals — The TN nonimmigrant classification allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to gain temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. A person can be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status when they are a citizen of Canada or Mexico, their profession qualifies under applicable regulations, the position in the United States will require a NAFTA professional, they have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with an American employer, and they have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
United States Tourist Visas
People should consider tourist visas if they do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (Electronic System For Travel Authorization or ESTA) or if they want to stay in the United States for a longer period of time of up to 180 days for restricted business or touristic purposes. The two types of tourist visas include:
- B-1 Visas, visas for temporary business investors — An immigrant can be eligible for a B-1 visa when they will be negotiating a contract, participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including consultations with business associates, settling an estate, traveling for scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, or some kind of a conference on specific dates, transiting through the United States, participating in short-term training, or deadheading (meaning certain air crewmembers can enter the country as a deadhead crew with B-1 visas).
- B-1 Visas, visas for tourism — An immigrant can be eligible for a B-2 visa when their visit relates to tourism, vacation (holiday), a visit with friends or relatives, medical treatment, participation in social events hosted by certain fraternal, social, or service organizations, participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests when they are not being paid for participating, or enrollment in short recreational courses of study not involving credit towards degrees.
United States Student Visas
A student visa (F or M) will be necessary to study while in the United States. Foreign nationals are not able to study after entering on visitor (B) visas or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), except for recreational study (meaning non-credit) as part of a tourist visit.
Common student visas include:
- F-1 Visas, visas for academic students — The F-1 visa allows an immigrant to enter the country as a full-time student at some accredited university, college, conservatory, seminary, elementary school, academic high school, or other academic institution or in some kind of language training program. They require enrollment in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate, and their school must have authorization from the federal government to accept international students.
- J-1 Visas, visas for exchange visitors — The J-1 visa applies to individuals who intend to participate in approved programs for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or obtaining graduate medical education or training.
- M-1 Visas, visas for vocational students — The M-1 visa applies to students in vocational or other nonacademic programs other than language training.
The United States Immigrant Visas
An immigrant visa allows a person to stay permanently in the United States. This visa is better known as a Green Card, and people can live and work in the United States for however long they want.
The different categories of immigrant visas include:
- EB-1 Visas, visas for aliens of extraordinary ability — The EB-1 visas are for noncitizens of extraordinary ability who are outstanding professors or researchers or are certain multinational executives or managers.
- EB-2 Visas, second preference employment-based visas allowing for permanent resident status — The EB-2 visas are for members of certain professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalents, or people who have exceptional abilities.
- EB-3 Visas, visas for skilled workers, professionals, or other workers — The EB-3 visas are for skilled workers, meaning people whose jobs require a minimum of two years of training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, who meet educational, training, or experience requirements of a job opportunity, professionals, meaning people whose job requires at least an American baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree and are members of certain professions, or other workers, meaning people performing unskilled labor that requires fewer than two years training or experience and is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
- EB-4 Visas, visas for special immigrants — The EB-4 visas are for special immigrants, who may include special immigrant juveniles, religious workers, certain kinds of retired officers or employees of G-4 international organizations or NATO-6 civilian employees as well as their family members, certain broadcasters, certain employees of the U.S. government who are abroad and their family members, Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone government employees, members of the United States armed forces, certain physicians licensed and practicing medicine in a state of the United States as of Jan. 9, 1978, Afghan or Iraqi translators or interpreters, Iraqis who happened to be employed by or on behalf of the United States government, or Afghans with employment by the American government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
- EB-5 Visas, visas for investors who satisfy certain criteria — The EB-5 visas are for foreign investors who make necessary investments in commercial enterprises in the country and have plans to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified United States workers.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Arizona Immigration Attorney
If you need help obtaining any kind of visa in Arizona, do not try to handle everything on your own. Arizona Immigration Attorneys at Diamondback Legal can work with you and ensure that you are able to accomplish all of your goals.
Our Arizona immigration Attorney understands all of the complications that can arise during the visa process, and we will be by your side the entire time so you can know that you are receiving dedicated and competent legal representation. You can call us at (602) 755-3199 or contact us online to receive a free consultation so we can fully review your case and also answer whatever questions you might have about the process you are facing.
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