Immigration to the U.S.
Our firm offers comprehensive U.S. immigration services that fall under the following two categories:
- U.S. Visa — non-immigrant; and,
- U.S. Visa — immigrant.
U.S. VISA – Non-immigrant
A non-immigrant visa is most often a document that allows you to travel to the United States as a tourist, on business, or as a student; and remain in the United States during the validity of the visa for a specific purpose, such as visiting, studying or working in a specialty job.
People who are traveling to the United States for a temporary purpose are classified under US law as non-immigrants, since they have no intention of staying there permanently. These people must obtain a “non-immigrant visa” (NIV).
Directory of Non-immigrant Visa Categories (courtesy of U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs):
Purpose of Travel Visa Category Required: Before applying for visa* Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only) B-1 (NA) Au pair (exchange visitor) J SEVIS Australian professional specialty E-3 DOL Border Crossing Card: Mexico BCC (NA) Business visitor B-1 (NA) CNMI-only transitional worker CW-1 (USCIS) Crewmember D (NA) Diplomat or foreign government official A (NA) Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer B-1 (NA) Employee of a designated international organization or NATO G1-G5, NATO (NA) Exchange visitor J SEVIS Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States A-2
(NA) Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics O USCIS Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore
DOL International cultural exchange visitor Q USCIS Intra-company transferee L USCIS Medical treatment, visitor for B-2 (NA) Media, journalist I (NA) NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada TN/TD (NA) Performing athlete, artist, entertainer P USCIS Physician J , H-1B SEVIS Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor) J SEVIS Religious worker R USCIS Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge H-1B DOL then USCIS Student: academic, vocational F, M SEVIS Temporary agricultural worker H-2A DOL then USCIS Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature. H-2B DOL then USCIS Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor B-2 (NA) Training in a program not primarily for employment H-3 USCIS Treaty trader/treaty investor E (NA) Transiting the United States C (NA) Victim of Criminal Activity U USCIS Victim of Human Trafficking T USCIS Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) V (NA) Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas (NA)
*What the abbreviations above mean – Before applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the following is required:
- DOL = The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
- USCIS = U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
- SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- (NA) = Not Applicable – Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa
US VISA – immigrant
People who are traveling to the United States to live and work permanently are classified as immigrants and must obtain an “immigrant visa” (IV) which allows them to remain indefinitely.
Directory of Visa Categories (courtesy of U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs):
Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored Visa Category Spouse of a U.S. Citizen IR1, CR1 Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition K-3 * Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S. K-1 * Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4 Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4 Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents F2A, F2B Employer Sponsored – Employment
Employment-Based Immigrants, including (preference group):
- Priority workers [First]
- Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
- Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
- Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
- Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]
EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-5,
CS, TS, R5, I5, S (many**)
Religious Workers SD, SR Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters SI Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ Other Immigrants Diversity Immigrant Visa DV Returning Resident SB
*K Visas – Listed with immigrant visas because they are for immigration related purposes.
About this chart – This chart is a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not every immigrant visa category.
**Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 502.1 for a listing of all immigrant visa categories.