Temporary U.S. Visas

TEMPORARY U.S. VISAS

« U.S. STUDENT VISAS — F-1, M-1, J-1 »

« U.S. WORK VISAS — H-1B, H-2B, H-3 AND OTHERS »

« U.S. VISITOR VISAS — B-1, B-2 AND OTHERS »

« U.S. FIANCÉ(E) & SPOUSAL VISAS — K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4 »

« EXTENDING YOUR VISA — FORM I-539 »

« CHANGING VISA STATUS — F-1 TO H-1B »

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« U.S. STUDENT VISAS »

The educational and professional training opportunities in the United States attract students from a variety of countries around the world. Obtaining an education from the United States can certainly provide a foreign student with an advantage in the global marketplace.

The underlying policy behind providing foreign students with educational opportunities in the United States is to foster positive interaction between cultures, the exchange of ideas and better academic and professional training that contributes to both the world and U.S. economies.

F-1: ACADEMIC STUDENT VISA

If you are a foreign student and are interested in studying full time in the United States you can apply for an F-1 visa. An F-1 visa allows a recipient student to study full time at an American university, community college, high school, elementary school or language school that has been approved by the USCIS to admit F-1 students.

To maintain your F-1 status, you will be required to follow certain rules and regulations associated with F-1 visa status. If a student fails to properly maintain his or her F-1 status, they will be deemed to be out-of-status. Being out-of-status can result in the student’s removal from the United States, inability to seek adjustment of F-1 status and inadmissibility to the United States. Foreign students have sixty days to leave the U.S. after their F-1 status lapses.

Depending on the type of status violation and the specific set of circumstances of the situation, an out-of-status F-1 student may be eligible to apply for reinstatement of F-1 status without have to depart the United States.

If you are a prospective student visiting the United States on a B-2 visa with the intention of looking at school to apply to as an F-1 foreign student, you can be eligible to change your status from B-2 visitor to F-1 student as long as your B-2 visa is marked as “prospective student.” If you are currently an F-1 student and anticipate employment authorization, you can apply for a change of status to H-1B employment visa.

If you are seeking an F-1 student visa, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

M-1: VOCATIONAL STUDENT VISA

If you want to study in the United States at a vocational or non-academic institution, you may apply for an M-1 student visa. The process to obtain an M-1 visa is similar to that of obtaining the F-1 student visa for full-time academic students.

As an M-1 student, you must follow the requirements of M-1 status in order to remain in status. An M-1 student who violates the rules and regulations of the M-1 visa will be deemed to be out-of-status. Depending on the specific violation and the specific facts of the situation that caused the student to become out-of-status, the student may be eligible to apply for reinstatement of M-1 status without having to depart the United States.

J-1: EXCHANGE STUDENT VISA

If you are a foreign national coming to the United States under a U.S. Department of State approved student (or teacher) exchange program, then you are eligible for the J-1 visa. Student exchange programs can be in a professional setting, at U.S. universities, colleges or high schools. The length of rules of these programs are determined the by exchange program sponsor.

If you are seeking M-1 or J-1 visas, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

 

« U.S. WORK VISAS »

If you are seeking to work in the United States, there are a variety of employment visas available to you. The following are the types of work visas that our firm can assist you in obtaining.

H-1B: WORK VISA

H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that United States employers can use to hire foreign employees in defined “specialty occupations.” These positions require specialty knowledge and at least a bachelors degree or its equivalent to qualify. As a H-1B visa holder, you can work in the United States for three years, with extensions available in most cases. To apply for an H-1B visa, your employer must submit an H-1B petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For an H-1B visa petition to be successful, it’s important to demonstrate to the USCIS that a valid and acceptable employer-employee relationship exists. Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you under H-4 visa status. Your H-4 dependents may be allowed to receive employment authorization as well.

In order for you to stay in H-1B status, you must continue to work for your employer the full duration that you remain in the United States. Generally, as an H-1B employee, you must remain in status if you wish to change, extend or adjust your visa status. In the case of termination of H-1B employment, there can arise several complicated situations that must be remedied effectively.

If you are seeking an H-1B work visa, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

H-2B: TEMPORARY WORKERS VISA

U.S. employers can hire foreign temporary employees by taking advantage of the H-2B visa program. With the H-2B program, employers can petition the USCIS on behalf of individuals overseas to have them lawfully work in the United States for a given period of time to fill temporary, non-agricultural positions. Employers or agents filing the petition for non-immigrant worker (I-129 form) on behalf of a potential overseas worker must meet certain eligibility requirements to make a successful petition.

Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you under H-4 visa status. Your H-4 visa dependents may not work unless they personally qualify for a work visa.

H-3: TRAINEES VISA

The H-3 visa is designed to enable foreign workers to come to the United States to participate in training programs in fields such as technology, agriculture, communications and government leadership. The H-3 visa program has strict eligibility requirements and is not available for foreign workers who are seeking primarily professional employment training. For example, the H-3 visa is not available for medical graduate training programs.

Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you under H-4 visa status, however these dependents will not be allowed to work in the United States.

E-1, E-2 AND E-3: TREATY AGREEMENT VISAS

The United States has Treaties of Commerce and Navigation with a number of foreign countries. If you are from one of the countries that have treaties with the United States, then you may be eligible to apply for one of these visas granted you meet the requirements set forth for the eligibility of E visas. The E-1 visa is available to treaty traders and E-2 visa is available to treaty investors. The E-3 visa is available to Australian specialty occupation workers.

A-1, A-2 AND A-3: DIPLOMATIC VISAS

If you are an ambassador, diplomat, public minister or other diplomatic personnel, you can apply for an A-visa to travel to the United States on behalf of your government with an intended official purpose. The purpose for which the A visa applicant is traveling should be government-oriented. A-1 and A-2 visa status remains valid as long as the visa holder’s position is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of State.

L-1 AND L-2: INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFAREE VISAS

The L category visas are designed for intra-company transfarees. An organization that is qualified for purposes of the L-1 visa may petition the USCIS to transfer an employee from overseas to a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate in the United States. There are two categories of beneficiaries under the L visa. L-1A visas are for employees who will work in a managerial or executive capacity. L-1A visa holders may work up to 7 years. L-1B visas are for employees who will work in a capacity involving “specialized” knowledge. L-1B visa holders may work for 5 years.

In addition, the spouse and children under the age of 21 may join the L-1 visa holders in the United States through L-2 visas. An L-2 visa spouse is allowed to work in the United States.

Blanket L-1 visa petitions are available to employees of eligible pre-certified multi-national corporations. Blanket petitions will allow those seeking an L-1B visa to apply directly at a consulate and forgo having to file an L-1B visa petition to the USCIS.

O-1, O-2 AND O-3: EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY VISAS

O-1 visas are designed for individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics (O-1A) as well as those with a record of extraordinary achievement in movies or television production (O-1B) to enter the United States for a specific temporary period of time.

O-2 visas are available for certain individuals who will be accompanying and assisting an O-1 individual for a specific event or events. The spouse and children under the age of 21 can accompany O-1 and O-2 visa holders under O-3 status, but they may not work in the United States.

Q-1: CULTURAL EXCHANGE VISITOR VISAS

The Q-1 visa is a temporary work visa for international cultural exchange visitors to the United States. The Q-1 visa program is an employment-oriented program, and Q-1 applicants must communicate about their cultural attributes as part of the qualification process.

P-1, P-2 AND P-3: INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED ATHLETES, SPORTS TEAMS & ENTERTAINERS VISA

The P-1A visa category is designed for individual athletes and international athletic teams coming to the United States to compete at sporting and athletic events; the P-1B visa category is designed for members of internationally recognized entertainment groups coming to the United States for events; the P-2 visa category is designed for individual performers performers part of a group entering the United States to perform under a reciprocal exchange program; and the P-3 visa category is designed for artists and entertainers coming to the United States to be part of a culturally unique program.

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany the P visa holders to the United States under P-4 visa status.

I: FOREIGN MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES VISA

The I visa category is for representatives of foreign news and media companies coming to work in the United States as foreign media representatives. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other relevant statutes outline the rules for demonstrating, maintaining and extending eligibility for the I visa.

TN, TN-1 AND TN-2: NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT VISAS

Under the NAFTA agreement between United States, Canada and Mexico, certain professionals from Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the United States to work temporarily under TN visa status. Canadian citizens are generally eligible to be admitted to the United States without a visa by simply obtaining a TN status at the port of entry under TN-1. Mexican citizens must obtain apply for and obtain a visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country to be admitted into the United States under TN-2 status.

PREMIUM PROCESSING SERVICES FOR SPECIFIC FORM I-129 PETITIONS

The USCIS allows certain types of visa petitions who have filed a Form I-129 (petition for non-immigrant worker) to request a speedy processing of their petition through the USCIS premium process service. To be eligible for premium processing, the petitioner must have filed a Form I-129 petition in a category that allows premium processing, and the petitioner must file a Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) along with a fee.

CHANGING FROM ONE NON-IMMIGRANT VISA TO ANOTHER

Most holders of non-immigrant visas in lawful visa status are eligible to change from one non-immigrant visa category classification to another. For the change of status petition to be approved, the non-immigrant visa holder must meet the requirements for the new visa status that he or she is seeking to change to. If the visa holder is out of status, the USCIS has discretion to approve or deny the change of status depending on individuals facts and circumstances.

If you are seeking any type of work and employment visa, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

 

« U.S. VISITOR VISAS »

International visitors to the United States are beneficial to the American economy, cultural standing, prestige, educational development as well as many other aspects of life. For this, reason, as a matter of policy, international visitors are welcome, and the United States government maintains an open door policy to visitors and tourists. While national security has become paramount after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, the U.S. strives to maintain a balance between the national security and safety of this country and the welcoming of visitors to this country.

B-1: BUSINESS VISITOR VISA

The United States is considered to be one of the best places to engage in business. If you are interested in visiting the United States to promote your business venture, then the B-1 visa would be appropriate for you. The B-1 visa allows the foreign visitor access to a number of economic opportunities within the United States. Examples of those eligible for B-1 visas include entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers and domestic servants of non-immigrants. B-1 visa holders may stay in the United Stay for a duration up to one year.

Since B-1 visa holders are not allowed to be employed at businesses operating in the United States without the proper employment authorization to work in the U.S., the business activities between of B-1 visa holders and U.S. businesses cannot rise to the level of employment.

B-2: TOURIST VISITOR VISA AND VISITOR WAIVER PROGRAM

There are two ways to visit the United States for brief pleasure trips – on a valid B-2 visitor’s visa or if you’re a citizen of one of the countries approved for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), under the auspices of that program. The B-2 visa is for visitors to the United States who are traveling to the U.S. for a brief duration for pleasure. Legitimate pleasure trip activities are activities of a recreational character such as tourism, amusement, visits to friends and/or relatives, rest, medical treatment, or activities of a social or service nature. B-2 visitor visa holders may not engage in employment or full-time educational activities while on B-2 visa status.

B-2 visa holders can apply for an extension of stay from the entry date on their I-94 form. If they are eligible for an extension, the USCIS will allow the visa holder to stay in the United States for an extended period of time under specified category. For those who entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, the VWP allows approved visitors to stay for up to 90 days in the United States. Under the VWP, you may leave the United States before the full 90 days. However, if you overstay in the U.S. after your allowed 90 days under the VWP, you may face a difficult time being allowed to re-enter the United States. You may even be barred from entering the United States for a certain period of time if you accrue unlawful presence.

C-1, C-2 AND C-3: TRANSIT VISAS

A transit (c-visa) is a temporary visa issued to foreign nationals who will be traveling through the United States or have a very brief stay here. A transit visa holder may not change his or her visa status to another temporary visa classification and in some cases may not adjust their visa status at all while in the United States. The C-2 transit visa classification is for foreign nationals who are authorized to travel to the United Nations for official work. The C-3 visa classification allows foreign government officials as well as vessel and aircraft crew members in transit through the United States to leave the airport.

D-1 AND D-2: CREW MEMBER VISAS

Crew members serving in good faith for normal operations aboard foreign vessels docked temporarily in the United States may apply for the D-1 visa classification. Crew members serving in good faith for normal operations aboard sea vessels or aircrafts may also apply for the D-2 visa classification.

If you are seeking any type of visitor visa, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

 

« U.S. FIANCÉ(E) & SPOUSAL VISAS »

K-1 AND K-2: NON-IMMIGRANT FIANCÉ(E) AND DERIVATIVES VISAS

United States immigration law provides U.S. citizens the ability to petition for K-1 visa for their foreign national fiancé(e) who does not already have permanent immigration status in the United States. If all eligibility requirements are met, the beneficiary fiancé(e) may be approved for a K-1 visa. In addition, K-2 visa may be available for the children of the K-1 beneficiary fiancé(e). In order to remain in the United States, a K-1 visa holder must marry their United States citizen spouse within 90 days of admission into the country. The K-1 beneficiary fiancé(e) may adjust status once he or she is married to the U.S. citizen spouse. K-1 visa holders are permitted to work, but they must re-apply for work authorization after receiving permanent visa status.

If the K-1 beneficiary fiancé(e) fails to marry within the 90 day period, he or she (along with their derivatives) will be out of lawful status to remain in the United States.

K-3 AND K-4: NON-IMMIGRANT EXISTING SPOUSE VISAS

K-3 and K-4 visa classifications are available to spouses of United States citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immigrant visa petition. The beneficiary spouses’ unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible under these visa classifications. After arriving in the U.S. under K-3 and K-4 visa status, beneficiary spouses must apply for an immigrant visa or an adjustment of visa status. K-3 and K-4 visa holders are permitted to work regardless of whether their permanent status has been approved. K-3 and K-4 visas are valid for up to two years.

If you are seeking a K fiancé(e) or spousal visa, or require reinstatement of visa, extension of visa or change of visa status, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

 

« EXTENDING YOUR VISA »

If you wish to extend your temporary visa, you will be required to submit Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status, along with relevant supporting documents, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You should file your I-539 form at least 45 days before the duration of your stay expires.

You must maintain a valid passport while staying in the United States on your temporary visa. If your passport has expired at the time that you submit your Form I-539, you will be required to submit a written statement explaining the reason for the expiration along with your form I-539.

If you fail to complete all of the information on your Form I-539 or fail to send all of the necessary supporting documents, your request for extension of stay will be delayed or denied. There is no appeal for denial of an extension of stay, so it is very important that you correctly provide all the necessary information.

If you require help with extending your temporary visa, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.

 

« CHANGING VISA STATUS »

If you are seeking to change the status of your temporary visa, for example from F-1 student visa status to H-1B work visa status, you are permitted to do so if certain conditions are met.

An H-1B visa classification is for temporary employees who are employed in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and which also requires the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty area or its equivalent as a minimum for into the occupation in the U.S.

If you want to change visa status from F-1 to H-1B, then the first step is to find an employer that is willing to file an H-1B visa petition on your behalf. If the H-1B visa petition is approved, you will be granted an H-1B status. As a general rule, you may remain in the United States in H-1B status for a maximum duration of six years.

Once you change visa status from F-1 student to H-1B employee, you are required to work specifically for your H-1B sponsoring employer. As an H-1B visa holder, you may not work for other employers without authorization from the USCIS. If you want to work for a new employer, the new employer will have to file a new H-1B petition on your behalf. Also, if you are laid off, you will immediately be considered out of status. However, the USCIS does examine each situation on a case by case basis if you later find a new employer who files a new H-1B petition on your behalf.

If you require help with changing the status of your temporary visa, please contact Somair S. Alam, Esq. at somair@alamlawgroup.com or at (646) 598-9824 for further information.