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Individual Visa Information

Individual Visa

There are numerous categories of non-immigrant visa suitable for individuals and their qualifying family members. The following is a brief description of some of the non-immigrant visas that we deal with:

B1 & B2 Visitor Visas

B1 Business Visitors

This visa allows you to enter the United States to attend business meetings or conferences, engage in buying or selling, oversee contracts on behalf of your foreign (non U.S) employer, or participate in other business ventures.

There are various other uses for the B1 visa.

B2 Tourism and Travel Visas

This visa is for bona fide tourists. However there are other possible uses for this visa.

E3 Australian Employment Professional Visa

This is a visa category recently created by the US government to allow Australian professionals to work in the US.

Its full name is the "E-3 Treaty Professional Visa for Australian Nationals".

Qualified Australians have access to a dedicated visa, which is easier and cheaper to obtain than the traditional H-1B Business Visa. The E-3 visa is available to those in "speciality occupations", which is defined to be those occupations requiring a bachelors degree. This is expected to assist Australian companies with US operations and Australian professionals in financial services, banking, accounting, information technology, law, engineering and medicine.

Unlike H-1B visas, the spouses of those holding E-3 visas are able to work in the US.

The E-3 visa may be extended after payment of various minor application fees.

F1 Academic and Language Student Visas

This visa enables foreigners to study in the United States in full-time academic or language programs.

H1B Employees in Specialty Occupations Visa and Other H Categories

The H1B visa is for professionals in specialty occupations who are coming to the United States to work in their fields of expertise.

There are various other employment based visas that fall under the H category.

K-1 FiancÉ(e) Visa

This visa gives the opportunity to a U.S. citizen to invite his or her fiancé(e) to America for a limited period, during which time the fiancé(e) must either marry the petitioner or return to his or her home country.

M1 Academic and Language Student Visas

This visa enables foreigners to study in the United States in full-time vocational programs.

O1 Employees of Extraordinary Ability

This visa allows foreigners with 'extraordinary ability' in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics to work in the United States.

P1 Athletes and Performing Artists Visa

The P categories, P-1, P-2 and P-3, are reserved for those persons who will be coming to the US to perform in athletics or entertainment, and who do not meet the extraordinary ability standard required for classification in the O category.

R1 Religious Worker Visa

This visa allows ministers of religions and religious workers employed by religious, non-profit organizations to work for related organizations in the United States.

Permanent resident visas are defined by the US . Immigration Laws as Immigrant Visas.

There are several different categories of Permanent visa that are suitable for individuals and eligible family members.

Aliens who seek permanent residence in the United States must fit within one of the classes of persons described in the Immigration and Nationality legislation as eligible for immigration. Under the immigration legislation, most aliens must qualify for immigration in one of three broad categories:

  • Family-Sponsored Immigration
  • Employment-Based Immigration
  • Diversity Immigrants

Family-Sponsored Immigration

Family unification has always been a cornerstone of U.S immigration policy. As the numbers of people coming to the United States and eventually becoming Permanent Residents and citizens has increased, these people have in turn provided avenues to immigration for other members of their families. There are five main sub-categories within family sponsored-immigration:

  • Immediate Family If you are a minor child, spouse or parent of a U.S citizen you could be eligible for an Immigrant visa.
  • Family First Preference You may be eligible for this category if you are the unmarried adult son or daughter of a United States citizen.
  • Family Second Preference
    • Family 2AThis subcategory is for spouses and minor children of United States permanent residents.
    • Family 2BThis subcategory is for adult unmarried children of United States permanent residents.
  • Family Third PreferenceYou could be eligible for this category if you are a married child of a United States citizen.
  • Family Fourth PreferenceYou could be eligible in this category if you are the brother or sister of an adult, United States citizen

Employment Based Immigration

Employment or the hope of finding employment is the biggest attraction for foreigners coming to the United States . Some may be motivated by the hope of wealth and an easy life. Others may be seeking opportunities simply to make a living.

This section provides a brief overview of the employment-linked categories of immigration. There are five preference categories of employment-based immigrant visas:

  • First Preference: Priority WorkersAs the term "priority worker" suggests, this category is subject to preferential treatment in terms of the immigration process. If you qualify as a priority worker, you will not have to obtain labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) before you can apply for your immigrant visa. This category is divided into three subcategories:
    • Persons Of Extraordinary Ability
      You must have publicly recognized acclaim as a person of extraordinary ability in a specific discipline in order to qualify.
    • Outstanding University Professors
      You must have an international reputation as being outstanding in your academic field.
    • Executives and Managers of Multinational Companies
      Further information regarding the executive and managers of multi-national companies sub-category is set out in the Corporate Visas Section.
  • Second PreferenceThe second employment-based preference covers persons with advanced degrees in professional fields and persons of exceptional ability.
  • Third PreferenceThis category is divided into three subcategories:
    • Professionals
    • Skilled Workers
    • Unskilled Workers
  • Fourth PreferenceThe fourth and fifth preference categories are grouped with employment-based immigration for the purposes of allocating visa numbers. Many sub-categories fall under the fourth preference.
  • Fifth PreferenceFurther information regarding the Fifth Preference (EB-5) is set out in the Investors Visas Section.

Diversity Immigrants

This is commonly referred to as the 'green card lottery' .

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows nationals from 34 countries, including the U.K to travel to the United States with visa waivers i.e. without having to apply for a visa.

On October 17, 2008, President Bush announced the imminent expansion of the Visa Waiver Program(VWP) to include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic. On

The Visa Waiver Program requires that your passport is current and of the correct format (in most cases biometric).

Also, from 2009, all Visa Waiver travellers will be required to make a simple online application in order to gain authorization to travel to the USA. This is required to be done via a system known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). For more details on ESTA, please click on the following link to access the ESTA website: http://www.esta.us/

There are quite specific rules about travelling to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program including ensuring that there are no grounds of excludability that the traveller falls under. An applicant may be excludable if he/she has a criminal record, has previously breached US immigration law or has a contagious disease. There is a long list of excludable grounds in addition to the grounds specified above. If you feel that you may be excludable from the United States, it is highly advisable to have a consultation with a U.S. immigration lawyer in order to receive competent legal advice.

At the Law Group, we are vastly experienced in advising and assisting clients who are potentially excludable from the United States.

It is important to bear in mind that if an applicant is excludable, then he/she will have to apply for a waiver of excludability in conjunction with a visa application. This is usually done at the local US Embassy/Consulate.

US Embassy London: http://london.usembassy.gov/
US Consulate General Belfast: http://london.usembassy.gov/nireland/

The Law Group has significant expertise in preparing applications for waivers of excludability. Therefore if you feel that you might require one then please contact us in order to book a confidential legal consultation with our USA Immigration Attorney.

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