Nonimmigrant visas are divided into nineteen main categories and one special purpose category for NATO personnel. The main categories are given letter designations. They are: A for career diplomats; B for temporary visitors for business and pleasure; C for aliens in transit; D for crewmembers; E for treaty traders and investors; F for students; G for international organization representatives; H for temporary workers; I for foreign media representatives; M for students in non-academic institutions; N for parents and children of special immigrants; O for aliens with extraordinary abilities; P for entertainers; Q for cultural exchange program participants; R for religious workers; and TN, for NAFTA professionals.

Visa Waiver Program

The “visa waiver program” permits certain nonimmigrants from qualified countries to enter the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days without a visa. As of 2017, citizens or nationals of the following countries are eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP. However, citizens of the following countries who are also a nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan are not eligible:

Andorra                       Hungary                      Norway

Australia                     Iceland                         Portugal

Austria                        Ireland                         San Marino

Belgium                       Italy                              Singapore

Brunei                         Japan                          Slovakia

Chile                            Latvia                           Slovenia

Czech Republic           Liechtenstein              The Republic of South Korea

Denmark                     Lithuania                     Spain

Estonia                        Luxembourg                Sweden

Finland                         Malta                           Switzerland

France                         Monaco                       Taiwan

Germany                     Netherlands                United Kingdom

Greece                        New Zealand

Tourist and Business Visitor Nonimmigrant Visas

The majority of nonimmigrant visas are issued to tourists (temporary visitors for pleasure) and business visitors (people engaging in commercial transactions in the U.S. but not employment). Often the visitors are issued a multiple entrance business/tourist visas (B-1/B-2 category). Both B-1 and B-2 visa are valid for one year and are renewable in six-month increments. Neither B-1 nor B-2 visa holders may accept employment in the U.S., although an alien on a B-1 may do work for a foreign company located in the U.S.

Temporary Worker Nonimmigrant Visas

An area of nonimmigrant visas that has grown recently is the H-temporary workers’ category. These visas are issued to workers with “specialty occupations” (such as computer systems analysts and programmers) or to workers performing temporary services or labor when persons capable of performing this work are not available in the U.S (such as agricultural workers). The visas are designed to help employers meet an immediate and temporary need for labor. Numerical limitations exist for some non-immigrant work visas. For instance, the law limits temporary visas for professionals (H-1B category) and temporary agricultural workers (H-2A category).

Nonimmigrant Visas for Education

Many aliens also seek entry to the U.S. for educational purposes. The F-1 visa is for academic students entering the U.S. to pursue a full course of study at an established academic high school, college, university, seminary, conservatory, or language school. Students who wish to attend vocational or nonacademic programs must enter on an M visa. The J visa covers exchange visitors such as students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors, research assistants, and leaders in a specialized knowledge or skill. With certain restrictions, F and J visa holders may work while in the U.S. The M visa holders’ ability to work is more limited.

Some non-immigrant visas (particularly those authorizing employment, education, or training) are very complex and may involve extensive petitions, applications, and documentation to demonstrate the alien’s eligibility. The assistance of a qualified immigration attorney can help simplify the process for an individual or an employer, and can enhance the chance that the visa application process will result in a favorable outcome. Call us today and get a free consultation to discuss your options and chances.

T and U Visas

U Visa: The U non-immigrant status (also known as the U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. This visa lets victims of some crimes who meet certain requirements stay in the United States. The U-Visa provides the following benefits:

            – U Visa holder can legally live in the United States for four years. After three years of holding a U-Visa you can apply for a green card to stay in the U.S. permanently. (After obtaining a green card, you can eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen).

           – With a U-Visa one can receive permission to work in the United States and some of the family members may qualify for a U-Visa.

To apply for a green card as a U non-immigrant, the applicant must meet the following conditions:

             – Physical presence in the United States for a continuous period of at least 3 years since the first date of admission as a U non-immigrant and continuing to hold that status at the time of application for adjustment of status;

             – Unreasonable refusal to provide assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution;

             – Inadmissibility under section 212(a)(3)(E) of the Immigration Nationality Act;

             – Established presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity or is in the public interest.

T Visa: In October 2000, Congress introduced the “T” nonimmigrant status by passing the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). The legislation strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute human trafficking, and also offers protection to victims.

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and better life conditions. Traffickers often take advantage of the poor, unemployed individuals who lack access to social services. The T Non-immigrant Status (T visa) was created for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking; it protects victims of human trafficking and allows them to remain in the United States while assisting in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. You may be eligible for a T visa if you:

           -Are or were a victim of trafficking, as defined by the law;

           -Are in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;

          -Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (or you are under the age of 18, or unable to cooperate due to a physical or psychological trauma);

          -Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States;

          -Are admissible to the United States. If not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant.

To check if you or your relatives qualify for any of these visa categories above, please CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.