To enter the United States, you must acquire a valid visa. Foreign nationals use visas to enter the U.S. through various ports of entry, such as an airport or border crossing. The United States issues two types of visas to foreign visitors; immigration and non-immigration visas.
Non-immigrant visas give temporary status and work authorization to foreign visitors. Immigration visas are used to grant lawful permanent resident (LPR) status to a foreign national. Both visas require specific quotas, skill requirements, per-country caps, documentation, and other information.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with a visa application, it’s highly advised that you seek the assistance of an skilled immigration attorney.
Queens Attorneys for Visas in New York
The immigration process can be long and arduous. A simple mistake can significantly affect your ability to stay in the country. You want an attorney who is not only well-versed in immigration laws, but is on your side every step of the way.
The attorneys at Law Office are knowledgeable with the U.S. immigration process. We understand how to use the right tools to obtain the results you want. Our attorneys will use all the resources they have at their disposal on your case. Additionally, we aim to make the immigration process as simple as possible. We will inform of your legal options in every phase of your visa application.
Find a partner in this immigration journey. Law Office represents the residents of Queens County and nearby communities including The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
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Overview for Visas in Queens, NY
- Nonimmigrant Visas
- Immigrant Visas
- Additional Resources
Non-immigrant visas for used for short periods of time. Many use non-immigrant visas to travel for their businesses or to work temporarily in the United States. A non-immigrant visa can fall under two different categories. Both have limitations on how long they can visit and the purpose of the visit. If you would like to qualify for a general visitor visa, you must demonstrate that:
- You plan to stay only for a specific time period;
- The purpose of the trip is temporary for business or pleasure;
- You have the funds to cover the expenses in the United States; and
- You have a residence and other binding ties outside the United States to ensure that you can depart the country at the end of the visit.
Non-immigrant business visas are called B-1 visas. If you’d like to qualify for a B-1 visa you can only visit the United States to:
- Settle an estate;
- Negotiate a contract;
- Consult with business associates; or
- Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business conference and conventions.
Tourists must play for a non-immigrant visa called a B-2 visa. If you’d like to qualify for a B-2 visa, your visit to the United States must be solely for:
- Medical treatment;
- Visiting with friends and relatives;
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports or similar events or contests;
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, service, or social organizations;
- Enrollment in short recreational study but not for credits towards a degree.
You can apply for these visas separately or together. Both visa types have restrictions. If the applicant violates any of the restrictions, they may lose their visa. The actions that are prohibited under a B-1 or B-2 visa include:
- Gaining employment;
- Conducting or performing a paid performance;
- Attending a facility for study or education;
- Arriving as a crewmember on a ship or plane;
- Working for the foreign press; and
- Gaining permanent residence in the United States.
Immigration to the United States can be a difficult and long process. There are many specifics to follow and documentation to obtain to successfully gain citizenship. Immigration visas have two types, which are family-based visa or an employment-based visa.
Family-Based Immigration Visas
Family-based visas require a I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the USCIS. The only way an I-130 Petition can be filed is through a sponsoring family member. In addition, the United States only permits a certain number of family-based immigrations per year. There are two categories for family-based visas; immediate relative visas and family preference visas.
An immediate relative visa is for immigrants with close family relationships in the United States. The government doesn’t limit how many immediate relative visas are issued a year. However, the process is not a quick or easy one. It is still highly recommended that you seek an immigration attorney.
Immediate relative visas include:
- IR-1 — Spouse of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-2 — Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-3 — Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-4 — Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen; and
- IR-5 — Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old.
If you have a more distant familial relationship with a U.S. citizen, you may qualify for a family preference visa. USCIS does limit how many family preference visas are issued each fiscal year.
The following are the different types of family preference visas available in the U.S.
- Family First Preference (F1) — Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any (23,400);
- Family Second Preference (F2) — Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) (114,200 — At least 77 percent of all visas available for this category go to spouses and children and the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters);
- Family Third Preference (F3) — Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children (23,400); and
- Family Fourth Preference (F4) — Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age (65,000).
Employment-Based Immigration Visa
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. allocates 140,000 visas for employment-based immigrants. The U.S. issues these visas in chronological order until the numerical limit for the category is reached. This means that it can be quite difficult to obtain an employment visa.
A type of employment-based visa is called a permanent worker visa. Some of the visa preferences (EB-2 and EB-3) require a labor certification. Labor certifications involve a foreign national's employer, so they can basically become the immigrant's sponsor.
Additionally, in some cases employers are required to obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). An employer must submit an immigration petition to the USCIS, and must do this before they are able apply for a permanent worker visa.
Permanent worker visas are divided into the five following preference categories
- First Preference (EB-1) — Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers.
- Second Preference (EB-2) — Persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.
- Third Preference (EB-3) — Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4) — “Special immigrants,” including certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens.
- Fifth Preference (EB-5) — Business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.
Temporary workers must apply for a Temporary Business Visitor visa. You can apply for a temporary worker visa if you work under one of these fields:
- E-1 Treaty Traders
- E-2 Treaty Investors
- CNMI-Only Investor (E-2)
- E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia
- H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models
- H-1C Registered Nurse Working in a Health Professional Shortage Area as Determined by the Department of Labor
- H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers
- H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
- H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor
- O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
- O-2 Visa: Persons accompanying solely to assist an O-1 nonimmigrant
- R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers
- TN NAFTA Professionals
- P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete
- P-1B A Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
- P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
- P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
- Q-1 Cultural Exchange
- I Representatives of Foreign Media
- L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
- L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1)
Students are required to seek out a student visa if they wish to study full-time in the United States. This includes student exchange programs. The "F" category is reserved for academic students, the "J" category is for exchange participants, and the "M" category is solely for vocational students.
Visas are available for those who fall under the following categories:
- F-1 Academic students
- F-2 Spouses and children of F-1
- F-3 Canadian or Mexican national academic commuter students
- M-1 Vocational students
- M-2 Spouses and children of M1
- M-3 Canadian or Mexican national vocational commuter students
- J-1 Exchange visitors
- J-2 Spouses and children of J-1
Employment Visa Categories – Visit the official website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and read a document that discusses the different classifications for both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. Read more regarding the requirements, key terms and the different types of visas.
Family of U.S. Citizens – Visit the official website for the USCIS and learn more on how to petition for certain family members to receive a green card or visa. View the various documents required, a table outlining what preferences for family members to petition and more information regarding the application process for family visas.
Defense Lawyers for Visas in Queens, New York
Do you need assistance in filling out a visa application? Have you applied and not received the outcome you wanted? Do not proceed any further alone. Get in contact with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your legal options regarding visas today.
The attorneys at Law Office are compassionate with our clients. We are skilled in both family and employment-based immigration and are well-versed in the process of acquiring permanent or temporary residence in the United States. Do not face this daunting task alone. Contact a skilled immigration attorney today at Law Office.
Law Office accepts clients throughout the greater Queens County area and nearby communities including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and The Bronx.
Dial or schedule an online appointment for a free consultation today.
This article was last updated on August 13, 2019.