Most commonly used non-immigrant visas are for tourism (B-2), educational (F and J), family-related (K and V), and work or business (B-1, E, I, H, L, O, P, R, and TN).
B-1 or B-2 are nonimmigrant visas for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2). Students, temporary workers, journalists and persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a purpose other than that permitted on a visitor visa, must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.
Generally, stays in the United States in B-1/B-2 category are brief, and involve such activities as touring, visiting family members, obtaining health care, or conducting business on behalf of an overseas employer. The trips are temporary and cannot involve employment in the United States or the undertaking of an academic study program.
A business visitor (B-1) will be granted only a period of entry necessary to conduct his or her business. Most such visits are approved for less than three months, and only in unusual circumstances would a stay of more than six months be granted. Tourists in the B-2 category are automatically given a period of entry of six months, even if the visitor intends to remain only for a shorter period. A longer period than six months can be granted, but only under unusual circumstances.
B visa category requires application only to the U.S. consulate; no special permission needs to be obtained from the Immigration Service in the U.S. before a visa is issued. There are five broad requirements for issuance of a B visa to a foreign national: (1) foreign national is entering the U.S. for a limited duration; (2) foreign national intends to depart the U.S. at the expiration of his or her stay; (3) while in the U.S., the foreign national maintains a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning; (4) foreign national has adequate financial arrangements to travel to, sojourn in, and depart from the U.S.; and (5) foreign national will engage solely in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure.
Citizens of some countries do not need to obtain B visas for business or tourist visits to the United States of 90 days or less if they can meet certain conditions. Most current listing of such countries is: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. There are advantages of avoiding the visa-issuance process, such as savings in time and the convenience of traveling on short notice. However, some limitations are placed on persons who participate in the visa waiver program and may make its use inappropriate for a particular foreign national.
Although a B-1/B-2 visitor visa may sound as an easy visa to get, it is advisable to consult a qualified immigration attorney if a foreign national believes that he or she will not be able to meet any of the conditions mentioned above or has been denied a visitor visa in the past.
In order to qualify for a student visa, the applicant must: (1) have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence; (2) intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and (3) possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.
Foreign students must be enrolled in a full course of study and must demonstrate prior to the granting of a visa that they have sufficient means of support to cover them through their full academic program. Authorization to work because of financial need maybe granted to students in limited circumstances. Spouses and family members of students may enter the U.S. with the principal student in the F-2 visa category; however, they are not permitted to work. F-1 students are not subject to any special requirement to return to their home countries for two years prior to accepting employment here as a nonimmigrant or prior to immigrating.
Automatic "extensions" are available for F-1 students with future H-1B start dates when an F-1 student is the beneficiary of an H-1B petition. A request for change of status will be automatically extended, along with any grant of optional practical training (OPT) work authorization, until October 1 of the fiscal year for which H-1B status is being requested. This extension will allow F-1s whose OPT will expire before the start date of a petition filed under the H-1B cap to remain in the United States and work through the beginning of their H-1B employment on October 1. F-1 students who have not been granted optional practical training will have their lawful status automatically extended but will not be authorized to work until the H-1B petition takes effect on October 1.
The J-1 visa category is used by foreign students, scholars, experts, medical interns and residents, and industrial and business trainees to enter the United States as "exchange visitors," in U.S. government approved Exchange-Visitor Programs, for the purpose of gaining experience, studying, or doing research in their respective fields. The permissible period of stay will depend on the category in which the visitor is admitted.
A two-year foreign residence requirement maybe imposed on some categories of exchange aliens once their U.S. stay is completed. Any J-1 exchange visitor subject to the foreign residence requirement is ineligible for permanent residence or nonimmigrant visas in the H or L category until he or she spends two years after completion of stay in his or her home country or country of last residence. Some waivers of the requirement are available in special cases.
Family members (spouse and minor children under 21 years of age) of the exchange student can enter the U.S. in the J-2 visa category.
The spouse and minor children can accept employment with USCIS authorization, but only if their compensation will be used for their own support and not to support the J-1 student.
Follow these useful US government links for more information about student visas:
K-1 fiancé of a United States citizen is required to either marry the United States citizen who sponsored your visa within 90 days of entry or to depart the United States. Following your marriage to the U.S. citizen-sponsor, you must file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). If your Form I-485 is approved, your status will be adjusted from a K nonimmigrant to that of a conditional permanent resident (a conditional “green card” holder). You will have that conditional status for two years.
If you remain in the U.S. without marrying the U.S. citizen who sponsored your K-1 visa, or marry someone else, you will violate the terms of your visa, have no legal status, and may be subject to removal proceedings or other penalties.
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For changes of address, Form AR-11 must be sent to the following address OR submitted online at www.uscis.gov: DHS/USCIS, Harrisonburg File Storage Facility, Attn:
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Law office with practice exclusively in Immigration and Nationality Law. Serving clients in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston counties, throughout the State of Michigan and other states. Office located in Berkley, Oakland County; however, clients travel to meet with Svetlana Lebedinski from the cities throughout the Metro Detroit area, western Michigan and the adjacent states of Ohio and Illinois. Full services Immigration Law Firm serving Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Novi, Troy, Detroit, Hamtramck, Downriver, Commerce Twp, Walled Lake, Pontiac, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, Wixom, Utica and beyond.