“I’ve always argued that this country has benefited immensely from the fact that we draw people from all over the world.”
— Alan Greenspan, American economist

Non-immigrant Visas

There are a wide range of temporary (i.e. non-immigrant) visas issued for many different purposes. The visas may last from a few days to several years. Some must be approved in advance by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) before being reviewed and issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS); others are reviewed only by DOS. In many non-immigrant visa categories, visas are made available not only to the principal applicant, but also to the visa holder's spouse and/or minor children. We can help you determine what type of visa you qualify for, and what steps you have to take to in applying for such a visa. For obvious reasons, it’s commonly called the “alphabet soup” of visas

To apply for any type of a US non-immigrant visa, applicants need to first complete the DS-160 form. The DS-160 is for all types of non-immigrant visas as well as for K visas. The DS-160 form can be found in the Consular Electronic Application Center website and has to be submitted online to the Department of State.

Family Non-immigrant visas: Spousal visas sometimes take a long time to process. While the application is pending, citizens may be able to sponsor their non-citizen spouses on a K-3 visa and the non-citizen's children may be able to come to the U.S. as well on a K-4 visa.

There are visas for uniting engaged couples as well as spouses. American citizens may sponsor their non-citizen fiancé(e)s to come to the U.S. on a K-1 visa and the foreigner's children may also be able to come to the U.S. on K-2 visa.

School Non-immigrant visas: Foreigners seeking to attend an academic institution in the U.S. may be able to travel on an F-1 visa. And foreigners seeking to attend a vocational school in the U.S. may be able to travel on an M-1 visa. ( See section below )

Employment Non-immigrant visas: U.S. employers may sponsor foreign employees with specialized occupations on an H-1B visa. U.S. employers may also sponsor foreign laborers for temporary, non-agricultural work through H-2B visas. Executives and people with specialized knowledge may work in the U.S. on an L-1 visa (their families can come on L-2 visas). And people with "extraordinary abilities" may be able to get an O-1 visa.

The process for obtaining a non-immigrant visa varies greatly depending on the type of visa and the process is complicated. Done incorrectly or missing supporting documents, can result in a denial of the visa. Fortunately, we are here to help.

An immigration attorney can help determine the best category and how to best present a visa application to maximize your chance of approval.

If eligible, we can also help to extend a visa that is about to expire, change status to a new category, and obtain legal status and possible work authorizations for immediate family members. Having a successful non-immigrant visa is often the first step and is crucial if the visa holder later decides to apply for permanent residency.

The following is a list of many of the categories of non-immigrant visas:

A: Diplomatic employees (A-1), foreign government officials (A-2) & their personal employees (A-3) *

B: Visitors for business (B-1) or for pleasure (B-2)

C: Transit visa (pass-through at an airport or seaport)

D: Crewmembers (air or sea)

E: Treaty Traders (E-1), Treaty Investors (E-2) or Australian professionals (E-3) *

F: Students (F-1) *

G: Employees of International Organizations (e.g. IMF, OAS, UN, International Red Cross, etc.) *

H: Temporary Workers, including professionals (H-1B), Free Trade professionals from Chile or Singapore (H-1B1), nurses (H-1C), agricultural workers(H-2A), temporary or seasonal workers (H-2B), or trainees (H-3) *

I: Representatives of international media *

J: Exchange visitors (e.g., educational exchange students, au pairs, graduate medical trainees, students, professors and researchers, short-term scholars, camp counselors) *

K: Fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens (K-1) or children thereof (K-2), and spouses of U.S. citizens (K-3) or children thereof (K-4)

L: Intra-company transferees, including executives or managers (L-1A), or persons with specialized knowledge (L-1B) *

M: Language and vocational students *

N: Parents/Children of SK Special Immigrants

O: Individuals of extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics (O-1), support personnel (O-2) *

P: Athletes & entertainment groups (e.g. orchestras) and support personnel *

Q: Participants in international cultural exchange programs (e.g. Smithsonian Folklife Festival)

R: Religious Workers *

S: Certain individuals supplying critical information relating to criminal organization or terrorism *

TN: Individuals from Canada or Mexico who are permitted to enter under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) *

T: Victims of Trafficking in persons *

U: Victims of crime who have suffered abuse and are cooperating with the U.S. government in investigation or prosecution of the crime *

WB: Visa Waiver entrants for business

WT: Visa waiver entrants for pleasure

* Dependent visas are also available for these categories to allow spouses and minor children to accompany the primary visa holder

We welcome the opportunity to discuss you or your family’s immigration matter with you. Please contact our office at 530-265-0186 to schedule a confidential no charge consultation or email us with any questions you may have.