Citizens of foreign countries are required to obtain a U.S. visa if they wish to enter the United States. Having a U.S. visa allows a foreign national to request entry into the country at a port of entry such as an airport or border crossing. There are two main types of visas. Nonimmigrant visas confer temporary status and work authorization, while immigrant visas grant lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Immigrant visas are divided into preference categories that have specific quotas, skill requirements, and per-country caps.
Do you need assistance with an application for a visa in Harris County? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group for help in earning your authorization to be in the United States. Call (832) 530-4070 right now to have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
What Are Some Types of Nonimmigrant Visas?
Nonimmigrant visas are for citizens of foreign countries that are coming into the country only for short visits. There are two main categories of nonimmigrant visas that each have limitations on what the visiting foreign national is allowed and not allowed to do. To qualify for a visitor visa, the visitor must demonstrate that:
- The purpose of the trip is temporary and for business or pleasure;
- They plan to stay only for a specific, limited period;
- They have funds to cover expenses in the United States;
- They have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties that ensure they will depart the country at the end of their visit.
For visitors coming to conduct business, the applicable visa type is the B-1 visa. The B-1 visa allows the visitor to do things such as:
- Consult with business associates
- Settle an estate
- Negotiate a contract
- Attend scientific, education, professional, or business conferences and conventions
For visitors coming to the country for tourism purposes, the applicable visa is the B-2. The B-2 allows the visitor to come for things such as:
- Visiting with friends and relatives
- Medical treatment
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid by participating
- Enrollment in short recreational study but not for credits towards a degree
What Restrictions Are There For A Nonimmigrant Visa?
Both of these visas can be applied for separately or combined together. There are restrictions that apply for both types of visas. The following are things that are prohibited under a B1 or B2 visa:
- Paid performances
- Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or plane
- Work as foreign press
- Permanent residence in the United States
Immigrating to the United States permanently is a complex and often lengthy process. There are two main types of immigrant visas, Family-Based visas, and Employment-Based visas. The United States requires that a foreign citizen is sponsored by a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident immediate relative, or prospective U.S. employer, depending on which respective type of petition is being made.
In general terms, Family-Based visas require that the sponsoring family member file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A citizen of the United States can file a petition for their spouse, child, parent, or sibling. A lawful permanent resident or green-card holder can file a petition only for a spouse or unmarried son or daughter. The United States only allows a certain number of Family-Based immigrations per year. The people that apply are placed into preference groups based on the type of relationship between the applicant and the sponsor. To learn more about Family-Based visas see the link below.
For an Employment-Based visa petition, the employer of certain skilled workers that are hiring the foreign employee for a permanent position can sponsor their prospective employee by filing an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS. Like Family-Based visas, Employment-Based visas are also placed into preference groups but their basis is derived from the type of profession they will be employed in when they enter the country. To learn more about Employment-Based visas see the following link.
Nonimmigrant Visa Resources in Harris County
Employment Visa Categories | United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — View a USCIS document that discusses E Nonimmigrant Visas, L Nonimmigrant Visas, O Nonimmigrant Visas, P Nonimmigrant Visas, and Employment-Based Immigrant Visas. Learn more about the requirements and definitions of key terms associated with these types of visas.
Family of U.S. Citizens | USCIS — Visit this section of the USCIS website to learn how a United States citizen can petition for certain family members to receive a green card, fiancé(e) visa, or K-3/K-4 visa based on their relationships. View a table outlining the types of relatives for whom a person may petition. Find information about the application process and what comes next after applying.
Contact a Visa Attorney in Houston, TX
If you need help filing a visa application in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure you have legal representation. The Gonzalez Law Group assists individuals throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many other communities in Houston. You can have our immigration lawyers in Houston review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 or complete an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.