EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UNITED STATES VISAS

IMMIGRATION 101: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UNITED STATES VISAS

A US Visa is a permit that allows you to travel to the United States of America. As a foreigner/alien seeking permission to travel to the US, you can apply for over one hundred and fifty (150) diverse types of visas. Here is everything you need to know about United States visas.

Nonimmigrant visa

A nonimmigrant visa is issued for a temporary stay or visit to the US. Nonimmigrant visa categories include,

  • An athlete competing for prize money
  • A business visitorMedical treatment
  • Tourism
  • Student visa

Here is how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.

Immigrant visa

You are issued with this visa if you intend to immigrate (stay permanently) to the United States. Immigrant visa categories may include, a spouse of a US citizen, the fiancée of a US citizen, and inter-country adoption.

Despite what most people believe, it is important to remember that a visa alone does not guarantee or authorize entry to the US. The US visa is only a preliminary permit that allows you to travel to the US and seek admission. Whether the US grants you admission is solely at the discretion of a Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer.

A Visa Waiver Program

According to the US government official immigration website, there exists a visa waiver program. The VWP allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the US (either for business or tourism) for three months or less without obtaining a visa first.

However, you must meet all the other requirements in addition to residing in a participating member country. To find out if your country is participating member, you should visit the official website-travel.state.gov.

Visa denial

The US embassy or consulate must interview any visa applicant. The embassy uses this interview to determine whether to approve or deny your visa application.

The embassy bases its denials on a standard set by the United States law. Though the embassy approves a vast number of applications, it also denies some. The embassy often contacts you via your official email to inform you of your application status.

Important: There exists a visa fee that you must pay before the interview. This fee is nonrefundable. That your visa application has been denied does not mean you will get this fee back.

Green Card lottery program

There is a green card lottery program that awards 50,000 green cards to people from all over the world every year. The winners are selected randomly and issued a green card. The green card allows them to live, work and study in the USA.

The US immigration department is often a very fair and considerate institution. They value honesty and transparency. Be honest in your application, maintain relevant documents and stick to your departure time. By doing this, your visa application is bound to be a smooth process.

How to Find the Right Immigration Lawyer

How to Find the Right Immigration Lawyer

Immigration is definitely a topic that has seen a lot of press in recent years due to the large influx of illegal immigrants into various states. If you need to find a good immigration lawyer, for whatever reason, where do you begin to look? Here are some suggestions.

Look for referrals

First of all, like anything else important, if your family and friends can help you, so much the better. Nothing beats a good recommendation when it comes to choosing an attorney because you can be assured that the positive word is coming from someone you know and trust. If your neighbor has had a good experience with someone specific, it’s worth checking out. Be careful with recommendations from third parties, however. If someone only “heard” that someone is good, that’s a place to start but it shouldn’t be the only way you come to a decision.

Search Online

The internet has all but replaced the yellow pages when people need to find a pool of possible lawyers from which to pick. The best way to use this tool is to use a search engine to find websites for immigration attorneys in your immediate area. For example, if you live in Los Angeles, you’ll want to enter “immigration lawyer Los Angeles” and see what pops up. You will no doubt be overwhelmed with possibilities.

While going through the list, narrow your search by choosing ONLY those who specialize in immigration law. An attorney who only does immigration issues “on the side” will not have the experience and up to date knowledge that you need. Another way to narrow the search is to look for the letters for example “_ILA” on the website. These letters stand for the Immigration Lawyers Association, and if the attorney is a member, then you can be assured that handling immigration cases is his area of focus.

Be wary

While on the internet, don’t be fooled by so-called “professionals” who are not in the legal profession at all. These types of individuals may try to make themselves look like lawyers in their websites, but they really aren’t. They may claim to be able to offer you a “quick fix” for your immigration issues or problems, but if their assertions seem too good to be true, they probably are. Please be careful. There are disreputable schemers out there who prey on those who fear being deported: don’t fall for their claims.

Make sure you choose an attorney with whom you will feel comfortable; after all, you will be spending a lot of time together. Does the lawyer you chose return your phone calls promptly? Is his staff friendly and courteous and treat you with respect? If your English is poor, is there someone in his office who can converse with you in your native tongue?

It’s your life and it’s your decision. When choosing the immigration attorney who will help you, take your time and select carefully.