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Types of U.S. Visas and Permanent Residency

The following includes the basic information regarding various non-immigrant and immigrant U.S. visas.  Please note: visa application varies and depends on an individual’s circumstances:

 

1. Permanent Residency

 

The following are the categories of U.S. permanent residency:

 

1-1.  Family-Based Petition

 

Permanent residency can be obtained through the applicant’s immediate family members. A U.S. citizen can sponsor his/her spouse, under-age children (under 21), adult sons and daughters (both married and unmarried), parents, brothers and sisters. However, a U.S. permanent resident can only sponsor his/her spouse, under-age children (under 21) and unmarried adult sons and daughters.

 

The definition of a “child” whom a citizen or a permanent resident can sponsor includes:

 

For immigration purposes, a child can be any of the following:

▷ A genetic child born in wedlock

▷ A genetic child born out of wedlock:

- If the mother is petitioning, no legitimation is required.

- If the father is petitioning, legitimation is required in accordance with the laws of the father or child’s place of residence.

- If the father is petitioning and the relationship is not legitimated under applicable laws, a bona fide parent-child relationship must be shown to have existed prior to the child’s 21st birthday and while the child was unmarried.

▷ A step-child, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred before the child turned 18.

▷ An adopted child if the child was adopted before age 16 (or before their 18thbirthday,ifcertaincircumstancesdescribedontheAdoption-BasedFamilyPetitionProcessorAdoption-BasedFormI-130Processpageapply),ANDtheadoptiveparenthassatisfied2-yearlegalcustodyandjointresidencerequirements.(Thelegalcustodyandjointresidencedonothavetobeduringthesametimeperiod,buteachmustbemetforacumulative2-yearperiod.)

▷ A child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to a non-genetic gestational mother who is recognized under the law of the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent at the time of the child’s birth.

The petitioner of the permanent residency applicant must be able to provide a sufficient financial report demonstrating that he/she can support the applicant in the U.S. If he/she is unable to provide acceptable financial support, then he/she can add the income and assets of a co-sponsor or a joint-sponsor.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2. Non-Immigration Visas

Non-immigrant visas allow the visa holder to visit the U.S. for a limited period of time.

2-1.  Visitor Visa (B-1/B-2 Visa)

Visitor Visa allows you to stay in U.S. for up to 6 months.  The B-1 Visa is for business and the B-2 is for pleasure.  The term pleasure refers to a trip to the U.S. and visiting relatives/friends in the U.S.  Even though the Visa Waiver Program removes the necessity of this visa for the citizens of certain countries, including Korean and Japan, they may still need to obtain B-1/B-2 Visa if they intend to stay in U.S. for longer than 90 days for any reason.  In assessing the eligibility for B-1/B-2 Visa, the Consulate General takes into consideration the ability of the applicant to leave the U.S. and return to his/her home country prior to the expiration of the permitted period of stay in U.S.

2-2. Student Visa (F-1/M-1 Visa)

F-1 Visa is applicable to students who intend to pursue a full course of study in the U.S. at a language school, elementary school, secondary school, or to pursue a regular Bachelor’s Degree at a tertiary institution.

 

M-1 Visa is granted to the students who intend to attend vocational schools, usually for 2 years, in the U.S.  Nail art schools, culinary schools, motor mechanic schools and flight schools are typical examples of these vocational schools.

 

After completion of course work, students may be eligible for an additional period of stay in U.S. (usually 1 year for F-1 students, and a maximum of 6 months for M-1 students) to work in an occupation related to their field of study.

 

2-3. Work Visa (H Visas/E-3 Visa)

The citizens of most countries need to obtain an H-1B Visa to work in U.S.In order to obtain an H-1B, the applicant must have either a (i) regular Bachelor’s Degree, (ii) 12 years of work experience or (iii) a 2 year diploma and 6 years of work experience.  There is a limit of 85,000 H-1B Visas that can be issued each year (even though there are separate quotas for the Chilean and Singaporean citizens).

 

However, if you are coming to the U.S. for a temporary work, you may be eligible for an H-2B Visa.The H-2B permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a .

 

 

2-4. Investor/Trader Visa (E-1/E-2 Visa)

The citizens of most countries need to obtain an H-1B Visa to work in U.S.In order to obtain an H-1B, the applicant must have either a (i) regular Bachelor’s Degree, (ii) 12 years of work experience or (iii) a 2 year diploma and 6 years of work experience.  There is a limit of 85,000 H-1B Visas that can be issued each year (even though there are separate quotas for the Chilean and Singaporean citizens).

 

However, if you are coming to the U.S. for a temporary work, you may be eligible for an H-2B Visa.The H-2B permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a .

2-5. Intracompany Transferee Visa (L Visa)

L Visa is for inter-company transfer and is available to employees who are being relocated to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, parent company or head office.  To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must have been an employee of his/her company for at least 1 year out of the 3 years period immediately preceding the date of application for the visa.  L Visa can be adjusted to permanent residency.

2-6. Religious Worker Visa (R Visa)

R Visa is available to applicants who receive a paid job offer from a religious institution in U.S.  The applicant must have been a member of the same denomination as the offering religious institution for at least 2 years, and the job must be related to the religious doctrine of the institution.  R Visa can be adjusted to permanent residency.

2-7. Spouse, Fiancé(e) Visa (K Visa / V Visa)

K Visas are available to the fiancé(e) or spouse of a U.S. citizen.  K-1 Visa is applicable to the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, and K-3 Visa is applicable to the spouse of a U.S. citizen.  The K-1 Visa holder must marry his/her spouse within 90 days of admission to U.S.  The consequence of the failure to marry within the 90 days period can be severe and result in the visa being denied.

 

V Visa is available to the spouse of a permanent resident of U.S.

 

K and V Visas can be adjusted to the permanent residency based on family-based petition.

2-8. Media Visa (I Visa)

I Visa is available to media workers, such as journalists, reporters and film crews.  To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must be employed as a media worker of a company (as an employee or a freelancer contractor), and such company must have the home office outside of U.S.  I Visa can be adjusted to permanent residency.

2-9. Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O Visa)

O Visa is applicable to a person who has demonstrated distinguished ability in science, arts, business and athletics.  Such distinguished ability can be proved by satisfying at least three (3) of the following:

▷ Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards

▷ Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements

▷ Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work

▷ Original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

▷ Authorship of scholarly articles

▷ A high salary or other remuneration for services

▷ Participation on a panel, or as a judge of the work of others in the field of specialization

▷ Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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