New York Immigration Lawyer
All foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States are required to first obtain a visa. A visa is an official document that authorizes a person to legally enter the country. There are more than 180 separate classifications of visas, but the two main categories of a U.S. visa are:
An immigrant visa is granted to foreign nationals who will be receiving permanent residency upon entering the country. Immigrant visas allow foreign citizens to enter any U.S. port of entry. Once they have entered the country, they can then receive their permanent resident or immigrant status.
Nonimmigrant visas are given to foreign nationals who will be visiting the United States for a temporary period of time. These temporary visas will include information about the purpose of a person's visit to America and the duration of time they are permitted to stay. Foreign citizens can obtain visas for a variety of reasons, including business, tourism, pleasure or medical purposes. Student visas, business visas, and investor visas are also common types of temporary nonimmigrant visas.
People immigrate to the United States for many reasons, but the promise of being able to conduct business and obtain a job in this country is one of the most popular. You can accomplish this by obtaining a business visa. These specific visas were designed for people who are seeking temporary residence in the United States for professional, educational, or vacation/travel purposes. The types of people who typically apply for a business visa include teachers, exchange students, businessmen and businesswomen, media, religious workers, physicians, college attendees, journalists and foreign military who are stationed in the United States.
The process of trying to obtain a business visa is difficult. In addition to the overwhelming number of forms that you must complete, you may also need to have an American employer who has obtained a labor certification approval. This certificate comes from the Department of Labor, and you may have to file for your own approval if you are seeking an E1 business visa.
Below, we have listed the five main types of immigrant business visas:
Employment First Preference (E1)
These visas are given to priority workers. This nonimmigrant visa is given to foreign nationals so that they can enter the United States and carry out substantial trade. You may qualify for an E1 visa if you are an executive, manager, or specialist in a treaty nation company that operates in the United States. You may also receive an E1 if you are a citizen of a treaty trade country and are involved in international trade.
Employment Second Preference (E2)
These visas are reserved for professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability. This visa is suitable for entrepreneurs from treaty countries who invest substantially in a U.S. enterprise, nationals of treaty countries who enter the U.S. to develop and direct investments, or the immediate family members of E-2 visa holders.
Employment Third Preference (E3)
Skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers are eligible to apply for an E3 visa. For example, foreign professionals who are seeking temporary work in a specialty occupation may be eligible for an E3 visa.
Employment Fourth Preference (E4)
A fourth preference applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, which is Form I-360. There are many subgroups within this category, and those who are ministers of religion, former employees of the U.S. Government in the Panama Canal Zone, Special Immigrant Juveniles, and other special immigrants may qualify.
Employment Fifth Preference (E5)
These visas are reserved for immigrant investors. Foreign investors who are looking to make capital investments in new commercial enterprises in the United States that will provide job creation may be eligible for an E5 visa.
In order to qualify for any of these business visas, you must have an employer in the United States who has obtained the labor certification approval that you need.
Foreign students who will be attending a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or other academic institution in the United States must apply for an F-1 student visa. Foreign students who will be attending nonacademic institutions and vocational programs must apply for M-1 student visas. As with any visa category, student visas require a significant amount of documentation, paperwork and preparation. In addition, all foreign students must qualify for a student visa by meeting the Immigration and National Act requirements. These include:
• Acceptance at a recognized academic school
• Sufficient financial assets to pursue the course of study
• Sufficient preparation for the course of study
• Intent to leave the United States after completing the course of study
Students applying for F-1 visas will also have to complete an interview process at their country's respective U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Foreign students may also be able to obtain visas for their dependents. Known as F-2 visas, these nonimmigrant visas can allow a student's spouse and / or children to accompany them to the United States. When applying for F-2 visas, students must complete all the necessary forms and applications and supply documentation proving their relationship to the applicants, such as marriage and birth certificates.
Foreign citizens who obtain nonimmigrant visas to visit the United States are allotted a certain period of time that they can stay in the country. If they wish to remain in the country beyond the expiration date of their visa, they must apply for a visa renewal. The visa renewal process will depend on the type of visa a foreign citizen currently has, their reason for seeking an extension or renewal and a number of other particular factors.
Investor visas are a nonimmigrant work visa category for foreign nationals of countries that maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. To find a full list of treaty countries, you can visit the U.S. Department of State's official website. Depending on an applicant's qualifications and employment position, they may be granted either an E-1 or E-2 Visa.
E-1 Visas are for treaty trades who will engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. In order to qualify for an E-1 visa, applicants must be nationals of a treaty county, carry on substantial trade and carry on principal trade between the United States and their country. Trade can mean any international exchange of goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, media, and technology, among others. Employees of a treaty trader may also be eligible to obtain an E-1 classification.
Foreign nationals of treaty countries who will be investing capital in a U.S. business may apply for E-2 treaty investor visas. Eligible treaty investors must be nationals of a treaty country and have invested or will invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise. According to the USCIS, a substantial amount of capital is considered any significant amount of money invested into a business that will generate large amounts of capital or create a significant economic impact in the United States.