Answers from an Immigration Attorney on Getting a Nonimmigrant Visa

One of the most common ways of obtaining a temporary visa to the United States is by applying for a nonimmigrant visa. Your immigration attorney can help you with the details. To find out if you qualify, read a few frequent FAQs answered by our experts:

What does nonimmigrant visa represent?

This is essentially a temporary visa that permits a foreign national to be present on US soil for a limited or specific period of time. This will also allow the person to travel in and out the States for specific purposes throughout the visa period. This kind of visa sometimes comes with other privileges as well, such as the person’s ability to go to school to the US or to find employment. There are basically many different types of nonimmigrant visas, but the only thing they have in common is the fact that they grant the person a right to live in the US for a limited time span.

What are the most common types of nonimmigrant visas?

Some visas allow employment, others will only allow you some type of activity like getting married, providing religious guidance or attending school. The most important thing to keep in mind is that almost all such visas have a derivative status, allowing spouses and young children below the age of 21 to accompany the applicant to the US.

How does one get such a visa if not already in the US?

This largely depends on the kind of visa that person has been applying for. Some nonimmigrant visas will entail a petition to be filed with the US Immigration Services. In some cases, an employer or a sponsoring person or organization need to petition on behalf of the applicant. In most cases, a foreign national will need to prove they have a valid job offer from an US employer.

If the Immigration Service approves the visa request, a notice of approval will be sent through to the applicant’s consulate or embassy.

How can a foreign national change the purpose on the nonimmigrant visa?

The process of changing a person’s nonimmigrant status actually involves the filing of an application or petition with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). This is only possible where the foreign national has maintained a valid nonimmigrant status and hasn’t violated any of the terms, hasn’t stayed in the country past expiration date or worked in unauthorized places. In case that person has a proven track record of visa violations, they will have to leave the US and reapply for a nonimmigrant visa in their home country.

There are many other aspects involved in the nonimmigrant visa process, but in most cases, an immigration attorney will be able to help. A specialized lawyer with a proven track record of cases will be able to explain every little detail of the process while helping you or a relative to obtain the visa in a simple, straightforward manner.