For many residing in other countries, moving to the United States represents opportunities they may not have in their country. Those willing to go through a complicated, lengthy, and highly bureaucratic process have seemingly endless options to choose from regarding a U.S. visa.
Approximately 185 types of U.S. visas exist and are divided into nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories. Immigrant visas are for those looking to move to the U.S permanently. The nonimmigrant category is reserved for temporary stays in the United States for business purposes, employment opportunities, family time, education, exchange visitor programs, and tourism.
Student visas are designated for academic and vocational pursuits. Divided into F and M visas, categories exist for students and dependents.
Exchange program participants must have a J1 or Q visa to secure training and employment within the United States. They can take the form of Temporary Work visas that include:
- H1B for highly specialized fields
- H-2A for agricultural workers from certain countries looking for temporary work
- H-2B for temporary seasonal workers doing non-agricultural work.
- H-3 for training and education opportunities
- L1 for intracompany managers/executives
Applicants considered to be highly skilled in the arts, business, science, education, or athletics can apply for Q1 visas reserved for those with extraordinary abilities. Their assistants and dependents can also apply for O2 and O3 visas, respectively.
Options to change status after living in the United States illegally
Depending on the circumstances, individuals who are living illegally in the country may be able to adjust their status to become legal in the United States. For example, there is an option to seek a I-601A waiver for adjustment of status. Additionally, people who have been victims of crime in the United States might be eligible for a U visa, and then adjust the status to a legal resident. The same is true for victims of spousal abuse from a US Citizen or Legal Resident.
Applicants should know securing a visa can be complicated and lengthy, creating frustration. We are here to help you with every step of the process.
The reward at the end represents a new chapter in the lives of immigrants seeking to start a new life in the United States.