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Non-Immigrant Visas

At Mark Weiner Law, we can help you through the entire Non-Immigrant Visa process. Below we’ve provided more information on the types of Non-Immigrant Visas below. For more questions or to talk more about our practice contact our office.

NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

THE VISA “ALPHABET”

Nonimmigrant visas allow a foreign national to remain in the USA for a limited time and under strict purposes and conditions. All visas are issued under the authority of the Department of State at Consulates around the world. When considering applying for a nonimmigrant visa, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel as a denial of the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa could affect a Foreign Nationals ability to qualify for any visas in the future.

A Visas

A-1, 2 and 3: These visas are for Diplomats and other foreign government officials traveling to the United States to work in an official capcity on behalf of their national government. Immediate family members of diplomats and government officials receive A-1 or A-2 visas. Personal employees, attendants, or domestic workers for diplomats and government officials (holding a valid A-1 or A-2 visa) may be issued A-3 visas.

B Visas

Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

This program enables most citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining an actual visa. If you want to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.

C Visas

Transit (C) visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States en route to another country.

D Visas

Crewmember (D) visas are for persons working on board commercial sea vessels or international airlines in the United States, while working and intending to depart the United States on the same vessel or any other vessel within 29 days.

E Visas

The E visa category includes treaty traders and investors who come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national. This category also includes Australian specialty occupation workers.

Who is eligible?

Treaty traders or investors and Australian specialty occupation workers must apply for and receive an E-1, E-2, E-3 visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas. A U.S. company may also request a change of status to E-1, E-2, or E-3 for a nonimmigrant that is already in the United States.

  • Treaty traders (E-1) carry on substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals.
  • Treaty investors (E-2) direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money.
  • Australian specialty occupation workers (E-3) perform services in a specialty occupation.

Eligibility for E-1 classification:

To qualify for E-1 classification, the requirements are:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You carry on substantial trade; and
  • You carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Eligibility for E-2 classification:

To qualify for E-2 classification, the general requirements for a treaty investor are:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States; and
  • You are seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

Eligibility for E-3 classification:

To qualify for E-3 classification, the requirements for a specialty occupation professional from Australia are:

  • You are a national of Australia;
  • You have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States;
  • You possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; and
  • You will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

E-1 or E-2 classification as an employee of a treaty trader or treaty investor:

To qualify for E-1 or E-2 classification as an employee of a treaty trader or treaty investor, the requirements are:

  • You are the same nationality as the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country);
  • You meet the definition of “employee” under the law; and
  • You are either engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

F Visas

A citizen of a foreign country who wants to enter the United States to study must first obtain an F-1 visa. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or an M visa.

G Visas

Diplomats, government officials, and employees who will work for international organizations in the United States need G visas.  This does not include NATO.

H Visas

H visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time. H visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with USCIS. An approved petition is required to apply for a H visa.

H-1B: Person in Specialty Occupation To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.
H-1B1: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional – Chile and Singapore To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a post-secondary degree involving at least four years of study in the field of specialization.
H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Worker For temporary or seasonal agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries.
H-2B: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker For temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries.
H-3: Trainee or Special Education visitor To receive training, other than graduate medical or academic, that is not available in the trainee’s home country or practical training programs in the education of children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.

I Visas

Media visas are for those foreign nationals media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries. Work in the United States while on a media visa must be for a media organization that has its home office in a foreign country.

J Visas

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Participants are integral to the success of the program.

K Visas

K-1: The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR).

L Visas:

L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager:

The L-1A visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.  The employer must file a petition with USCIS before the foreign national can obtain the visa.

The following describes some of the requirements of the L-1 visa.

General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee

To qualify for L-1 visa, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

To qualify, the employee must also:

  • Have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.

Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.  It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.

New Offices

For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:

  • The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office;
  • The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
  • The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.

L1-B:

Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.

M Visas:

Vocational Students. See F visas, above.

N Visas:

This visa is reserved for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

O Visas:

O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognize 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.
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

P Visas:

P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete

The P-1 visa applies if you are coming to the U.S. 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.

Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria

You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.

Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria

You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.

P-1B A Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group

P-1B A Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group

The P-1B visa 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 to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program

The P-2 visa 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 Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program

The P-3 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 Visas:

Q Cultural Exchange

The Q visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS. You may be eligible for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa if you are seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The Q 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. If you’ve ever been to EPCOT in Disney, the foreign nationals working at the countries have Q visas.

R Visas:

Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

An R-1 visa is for foreign nationals coming to the United States temporarily to be employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by:

  • A non-profit religious organization in the United States;
  • A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
  • A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.

This visa program is intended for religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions, as distinguished from secular members of the religion.

S Visas:

An S nonimmigrant is an individual who has assisted a law enforcement agency as a witness or informant.

T Visas:

Victims of Human Trafficking

The T visa is a available for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking, protects victims of human trafficking and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.

TN Visas:

NAFTA Professionals

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

U Visas:

The U visa is for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.

V Visas:

The V visa is a nonimmigrant visa created to allow families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas.

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