People from all over the world come to the United States on a temporary visa as a first step in applying for a permanent residency green card. This allows you to be in the country already while awaiting application approval. Though there is a much more involved process to being able to remain in the country, below are some of the most common ways of starting that process. There are non-immigrant visas (meaning you only intend to visit and return to your home country) and there are immigrant visas (meaning you intend to come to the United States and remain here).
There are many different types of temporary visas to apply for. The most common way of choosing which temporary visa to apply for is to determine whether you will have your own business or be working for someone else. Here are some of the more common types of temporary visas:
- B-1 or B-2: These are Visitor Visas that permit a visitor to remain for up to six months in the United States. The Visitor cannot be employed. However, the B-1 visitor can be in the US for business purposes, for example, to consult with business associates or to attend a business convention.
- F-1: Student Visas permit foreign students to attend educational institutions in the US and in some cases allow limited employment.
- K-1: This is a Visa for a US citizen’s fiancé.
- K-3: This Visa is for a spouse of a US citizen.
- P-1: These Visas are for Internationally recognized entertainment groups and athletes.
- R-1: This is a Visa for religious workers being transferred by a related international church to the United States.
- J-1: These are Visas for participants in exchange programs. This type of Visa permits business trainees to learn about an occupation or profession in the United States and can be for a duration of up to 18 months.
- TN: These are one year Visas for Canadian and Mexican professional workers and can be renewed yearly.
- H-1B: This is a Visa for workers in specialty occupations and permits a sponsoring employer to employ professional level workers for up to three years. This visa can be renewed for another three years and in some cases additional renewals are possible.
- O-1: A Visa for people considered to have extraordinary ability seeking temporary employment. This can be renewed yearly and can be issued for as long as three years.
- E-2: Treaty Investor Visas allow for investors to invest a substantial sum of money and to also acquire a controlling interest in a business active in the United States. These visas are issued to investors from certain countries for up to five years and allow the investor to work in his or her own business. This is a renewable visa. It is also possible for the investor’s spouse to qualify for an unrestricted temporary work card and children that are under 18 are permitted to attend school but are not allowed employment.
So, the question is…Do you need a Visa? Yes, that type of Visa.