There are two ways a person can express intention to come to the United States. They can either obtain an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant visas are for people who intend to visit the United States for a limited amount of time with a specific purpose and then return to their home country. Employment-based visas are most often non-immigrant visas as the primary purpose of entry is to work for a pre-determined amount of time. Some employment-based immigrant visas are reserved for certain individuals, such as those with exceptional abilities, clergy members, and investors. Non-immigrant visas can be for temporary workers, skilled workers, those seeking to further their education in the United States or tourist or business visitors.
Immigrant visas are those obtained with the purpose to remain in the United States for an indeterminate amount of time. Immigrant visas can be obtained outside or inside the United States. These visas are most often family-based immigrant visas. This is when a family member can petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin the process of bringing a family member to the U.S. with the express intention for them to gain legal permanent status or what is known as “green card”. Only certain family members can make this sort of petition in order to allow the immigrant family member to remain in in the United States permanently. For example, a parent can petition for a child, but if the child is over age 21 or married, different criteria apply. Additionally, U.S. citizens can petition for spouses and siblings. Permanent residents can also petition for some family members, but other limitations may apply.
There is also a special program called the “Diversity Lottery” which individuals may apply for in order to gain permanent residency if they are from countries that typically have low numbers of admissions rates into the United States. Although this may not be preferred route for many, an application for the Diversity Lottery should always be considered when a person meets the necessary criteria.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Provide Skilled Assistance for All Types of Visas
The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. help families and employers navigate the process of obtaining a visa. Contact us online to schedule a consultation or call 215-925-4435 to discuss your immigration issue today. From our Philadelphia office, we represent clients throughout the surrounding area.