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How Can I Get a Visa? Let Me Count the Ways

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on August 03, 2010

Those who wish to enter the United States on a temporary or permanent basis from other countries have many avenues to use. One of the keys to successful entry is knowing the path of entry that fits your situation. Holding that key and having a good immigration lawyer will often open doors for you.

First, for those who do not intend to stay permanently in the U.S., there are a variety of “Non-immigrant Visas” that exist. These visas are lettered “A” through “R” and they each apply to a different kind of situation.

Some of the more commonly used Non-immigrant Visas are as follows:

  • B-1 Visas: For visitors coming to the U.S. for business reasons, but not for hire, such as business research, litigation or negotiation.
  • B-2 Visas: For visitors coming to the U.S. for tourism, family visits or medical purposes.
  • F Visas: For foreign students in full-time academic programs.
  • H Visas: For workers needed by U.S. employers to fill immediate and temporary openings in nursing, agriculture or other specified roles.
  • K Visas: For foreign citizens who wish to enter the U.S. to marry a citizen.
  • O Visas: For outstanding artists, entertainers, athletes, scientists and certain business professionals, as prescribed by regulation.
  • P Visas: For performing artists, entertainers and athletes engaged in a specific performance or group tour.

For those who seek to stay in this country permanently, there are “Immigrant Visa” programs generally tied to employment, family connections, or need for political asylum.

Employment related Immigrant Visas are generally granted by preference as follows:

  • First Preference: For individuals of extraordinary ability, such as outstanding professors or executives for multi-national corporations.
  • Second Preference: For professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, art or business generally.
  • Third Preference: For skilled workers and professionals in categories for which there is a shortage of supply in the U.S.
  • Fourth Preference: For certain specific categories of workers, such as religious workers.
  • Fifth Preference: For substantial investors willing to commit more than $500,000 in capital toward creating new employment opportunities in the U.S.

Family related Immigrant Visas are also available for children, spouses and parents of U.S. citizens. Other Immigrant Visas are arranged by preference for unmarried children of U.S. citizens, spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents, married children of U.S. citizens, and siblings of adult U.S. citizens, respectively.

For more information about family related visa programs or business related visa programs, call our office at (847) 564-0712. You can also visit the Family and Citizenship section of our Website or the Business section of our site.