Whether you are entering the United States temporarily or permanently, you are required to have a visa if you are not a citizen. If you enter the country without a visa, you could be detained in an immigration center and deported back to your country of origin.
There are a number of visas that can be granted to those wishing to enter the United States. Some of them can include employment based (EB), Student (F-1), fiancé (K-1), children (K-2/K-4) and spouse (K-3). A visa differs from a passport in that it acts as an endorsement placed on a passport that grants the holder permission to enter, leave or stay in the U.S for a specific period of time.
Attorney for Visas in Houston, TX
If you are filing a visa application, or your visa has been revoked and believe the reason is unjustified, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult the process becomes. Our attorneys are experienced with visas and will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Call us today at (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in our online form a free case consultation. We assist clients in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and numerous others.
Overview of Visas in Houston, TX
Anyone from a foreign country wishing to enter the United States is usually required to first obtain a U.S visa. The type of visa you receive depends on the purpose of your travel, and they typically fall under two categories: Nonimmigrant visa and immigrant visa.
Nonimmigrant Visa: A nonimmigrant visa is issued to a traveler with permanent residence outside of the United States, but wishes to be in the country on a temporary basis. There are about 30 different types of nonimmigrant visas, but some of the most popular ones include the following:
- B-1 Business Visitor: You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you plan to participate in business activities in the United States such as selling an estate, negotiating a contract or participating in training.
- J Exchange Visitor: Those who wish to participate in a visitor exchange program in the United States are required to obtain a J visa. Examples of a visitor exchange program include teachers, physicians and professors.
- B-2 tourism: Those wishing to travel to the United States will require a B-2 visa. A B-2 visa can also be used for medical treatment and for enrolling in short recreational classes.
- R-1 Religious Worker: A R-1 visa is for those who wish to enter the United States for temporary work in religious capacities. There are a number of requirements of a R-1 visa holders that include working at least 20 hours a week and be a member of the same religion as the organization they plan to work for.
- V Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouses of Lawful Permanent Resident: This is a temporary visa for spouses and children under 21 of United States citizens. A V visa allows for permanent U.S residents to be united as a family while the immigration process takes its course.
- F/M Student Visa: A student wishing to study in the United States is required to have either an F or M visa. To attend a university, high school or private elementary school you will need an F visa while vocational or other recognized non-academic institutions requires an M visa.
Immigrant Visa: An immigrant visa is issued to individuals who wish to live permanently in the United States. Those wanting to do so are usually required to be sponsored by a U.S citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S employer. Some of the most popular immigrant visas include:
- K-3 Spouse: This visa is classified as an immigrant visa but because it is used for immigrant-related purposes it is considered a nonimmigrant visa. The K-3 visa allows for a foreign spouse to be reunited with their U.S spouse while they await processing for permanent residence.
- K-1 Fiancé: Similar to a K-3 visa, a K-1 visa is classified as an immigrant visa but is considered a nonimmigrant visa by the USCIS. This visa allows for a foreign fiancé to travel to the United States to marry their American fiancé within 90 days of arrival.
- Employment-Based Immigrant Visa: An employment-based immigrant visa is divided into five categories: Priority workers, professionals holding advanced degrees/persons of exceptional ability, professionals and other workers, employment creation/investors and certain special immigrants.
- SB Returning Resident: This visa is for permanent residents or conditional residents who lived outside of the United States for longer than a year and they wish to return.
The visa you are applying for will determine the process as well as the processing time. A temporary nonimmigrant visa could take up to a few weeks or months, while an immigrant visa can take years to get approved.
When applying for a nonimmigrant B-2 or B-2 visa, the visa seeker will usually be required to apply directly to the U.S embassy or consulate while those wishing to enter the U.S to study or work may be required to submit documentation prior to applying.
The process of applying for a nonimmigrant visa varies depending on the U.S embassy or consulate you are applying to. In general, you will be required to do the following:
- Complete the nonimmigrant visa application form, form DS-160
- Submit a photo
- Pay the visa application fee
- Schedule an interview
Because you wish to become a citizen of the United States, the process of applying for an immigrant visa is more complicated and time consuming. In order to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, the foreign citizen is required to be sponsored by a U.S citizen, lawful permanent resident or employer.
The sponsor is responsible for initiating the immigration process by filing a petition on the foreign citizen’s behalf with the USCIS. The immigrant visa process will also go through the following steps:
- Sponsor submits a petition
- Once the petition is approved, begin National Visa Center (NVC) processing
- Choose an agent from the NVS
- Pay fees
- Submit visa application form
- Collect financial documents
- Collect supporting documents
- Submit documents to the NVC
- Complete medical exam
- Attend an interview with the U.S embassy or consulate
Following the immigration visa interview, the applicant will be informed on whether or not their visa application is approved or denied. Once approved, the applicant will be notified and a passport with the visa will be returned.
Directory of Visa Categories– Visit the U.S Department of State website for a comprehensive list of visas offered in the United States. The list includes immigrant and nonimmigrant visas as well as information on visas offered under both categories.
Requirements for Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas– Follow this link to the U.S Customs and Border Protection for information on the criteria for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. The information is provided by the U.S Customs and Border Protection, one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations.
Lawyer for Visas in Houston, TX
Whether you are applying for a visa or believe your application has been unjustly rejected, attorneys with The Gonzalez Law Group will fight to try to ensure you receive the desired visa.
Call The Gonzalez Law Group today at (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in our online form for a free case evaluation. The immigration attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group represent clients in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and many others.