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Additional US Visa Options

February 14th, 2018

US Visa Options

The United States is the world’s #1 immigration destination – both in terms of how many people move to America each year and in regards to the total number of immigrants who live in the USA. For example, approximately 500,000 people immigrate to the United States every year through various US immigration programs and around 10 million individuals travel to the United States annually through different non-immigrant US visa programs. Furthermore, about 47 million of the 326 million people who live in the USA (14% of the total US population) are foreign-born. In short, millions of individuals move to the United States each year in pursuit of employment, education, freedom and other opportunities.

Whether someone wants to immigrate to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and receive a Green Card, move to America as a non-immigrant (e.g., temporary foreign worker, international student, etc.), or simply travel to the USA for a brief period of time (e.g., vacation, business trip, etc.), a valid US visa must normally be stamped inside of his/her passport to authorize legal entry into the United States.

US Visa Categories

There are two major categories of US visas. A temporary non-immigrant visa allows a foreign national to live in the USA for a limited period of time, while an immigrant visa (in conjunction with a Green Card) authorizes a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States to live, study and work in the USA for an unlimited length of time. For each of these categories, there are several US visa programs with their own criteria and benefits.

Non-Immigrant Visas

Approximately 10 million individuals per year are issued a temporary non-immigrant visa which allows them to live in the USA for a limited length of time. There are over 20 temporary non-immigrant US visa types, including the: B-1/B-2 Visa (Temporary Visitor for Business and Pleasure); E-Visa (Treaty Trader or Investor); F-Visa (Academic Student); H-Visa (Temporary Worker and Trainee); L-Visa (Intracompany Transferee); M-Visa (Vocational Student); O-Visa (Person with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics); P-Visa (Internationally Recognized Athlete, Artist or Entertainer); and R-Visa (Person in a Religious Occupation).

 

It is important to note that some of the US temporary non-immigrant visa types authorize foreign nationals to live and work in the USA for a limited amount of time, while other non-immigrant visa types permit a temporary stay in the United States, but do not include an option for US employment. The USAFIS Organization specializes in helping clients from around the world who want to live and work in the USA, whether through a non-immigrant temporary work visa or a US permanent resident immigration visa and Green Card.

 

Temporary Work Visas

 

The United States has numerous temporary non-immigrant work visas which permit a qualified foreign worker to live and work in the USA for a limited amount of time (for example, up to 1, 2, 3 or 5 years, depending on the work visa, purpose of US employment, and other factors). In many cases, a non-immigrant US work visa may have an option to be extended for an additional amount of time, depending on the circumstances. The spouse and dependent children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a temporary work visa holder may also be able to apply for the relevant US visa so that they can move to America.

 

Examples of some of the most common temporary non-immigrant US work visas include the:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to live and work in the USA, the USAFIS Organization can evaluate your eligibility to apply for a temporary non-immigrant work visa. You can also receive guidance from the USAFIS team of professionals to make the US work visa application procedure as easy and fast as possible.

 

Immigrant Visas

 

The US govenment grants around 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas and Green Cards to foreign workers and their eligible family members (i.e., spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) each year. If you possess the necessary education, job skills, work experience, and meet all of the criteria, you and your family may have the opportunity to live and work in the USA long-term (i.e., for an unlimited amount of time) as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) of the United States. Some of the many benefits that permanent residents (i.e., Green Card holders) enjoy include: the right to apply for US employment, access to education programs, the possibility to buy a home or start a business, and the option to become an American citizen after you live in the USA at least five years and meet all of the eligibility requirements.

 

Employment-Based Immigration

 

There are five major categories of employment-based (EB) immigrant visas for US permanent residency and each category has its own eligibility requirements. Some of these immigrant visas require that the foreign worker first receive a genuine offer of US employment (i.e., to be sponsored by an employer in the USA), while others do not require a US job offer in advance. In some cases, the employer may need to get a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor before they file the petition for US immigration on behalf of the foreign worker they want to sponsor. The labor certification confirms that there are not enough qualified US workers available and willing to fill the job opening and also states that the wages and working conditions of US workers in that occupation will not be negatively affected by hiring a foreign worker.

 

The five employment-based (EB) US immigration visa categories are as follows:

 

  1. EB-1 Visa (First Preference) – This immigrant visa is for qualified individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education and the sciences; outstanding researchers and professors; and multinational managers and other executives.

 

  1. EB-2 Visa (Second Preference) – This US visa type is available to certain professionals with advanced university degrees (i.e., beyond a Bachelor’s Degree or having a Bachelor’s Degree combined with five years of relevant work experience); or individuals who have exceptional ability in the arts, business or sciences.

 

  1. EB-3 Visa (Third Preference) – Qualified skilled workers whose occupations require at least two years of training or work experience, professionals whose jobs require at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and certain unskilled workers whose occupations require less than two years of training or work experience, may be able to apply for this US immigration visa.

 

  1. EB-4 Visa (Fourth Preference) – “Special immigrants” (such as certain international broadcasters, ministers of religion, religious workers, or other specific types of immigrants) may be able to apply for immigration to the United States through this employment-based US visa category.

 

  1. EB-5 Visa (Fifth Preference) – Foreign investors who make a substantial investment in a new business enterprise in the United States in the amount of $1 million, or in the amount of $500,000 in a “targeted employment area” of the USA, which will create a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for US workers within two years, may be able to receive a Green Card through this immigrant visa category.

 

In addition to these employment-based US immigration programs, another way to live and work in the USA with a Green Card is through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. To learn more about the DV-Lottery, click here!

 

As you can see, there are several US visa programs available to foreign workers and their family members who want to immigrate to the United States. The USAFIS team of experienced professionals can evaluate your details and let you know which US visa option you are in the strongest position to apply for. USAFIS clients who qualify can also receive step-by-step assistance during the US visa application procedure. With expert guidance from USAFIS, relocating to the United States has never been easier!

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