Which Immigration Visa is Right for Me?

When someone is coming to the United States for work, travel, school, or family, they will need to apply for a visa that best suits their needs to ensure a smooth process at the port of entry. There are many different immigration and non-immigration visas available to travelers, and it can be a confusing process figuring out which one to apply for. Since finding the right visa is important, it is best to consult an immigration lawyer first.

One might be wishing to come to the United States on an employment-based visa. One might also want to come to the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa. No matter the circumstance, an immigration lawyer can help their client wade through the process since there are many factors to consider. Some critical factors to consider when applying for an immigration visa include the following:

  • Why a visa is needed. Reasons include travel, work, business, a cultural exchange program, or an upcoming marriage.
  • The travel time. The amount of time in the United States will affect the visa. One should consider if it is a temporary or permanent visit.
  • Who is sponsoring the visa? Family, employers, and immediate relatives can sponsor the visa. If one wishes to become a permanent resident, they must meet certain criteria. Many special immigrants become residents in the United States for humanitarian reasons that stem from their native country.

What If I am Traveling to the United States for Family?

There are several types of family-based visas. If one is engaged to an American citizen, they must apply for a K-1 visa. If one is the spouse of an American citizen, they should apply for an IR-1 or CR-1 visa. If a spouse is petitioning for their partner to get a visa, documents such as a marriage certificate need to be approved. Form I-130 is the first step in the family green card process, and it is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

If a person is the relative of a lawful permanent resident, they will need to file for an F2A or F2B visa. The process might be different for adoptive parents. Since the adoption of foreign children is commonplace in the United States, the Hague Convention of 1993 added layers of protection for the children involved in this process. American citizens adopting an orphan child from another country would need to file Form I-800 with the USCIS to start the process. From there, parents will take part in a home study, fingerprinting, and background check as part of the verification process. The parents will then apply for the child’s country of origin for adoption and be matched with a child there.

After receiving a referral from the child’s country of origin, they will determine whether or not the parents will want to adopt. Parents will then file a USCIS I-800 petition to have the adopted child considered an immediate relative, then follow up with the immigrant visa application Form DS-260 at the corresponding United States embassy or consulate office for the adoption.

What If I Need to Travel for Work or School?

While student or cultural exchange visas are temporary by their nature, people who come to the United States for work may be in the country on permanent status or plan to head back to their home following a specific period of time. Whether a worker is seeking a visa for a long-term stay in the United States or a short visit, they will need the help of their employer. Those who will be seeking permanent residency will need the sponsorship of their employer to do so. Many who come to the U.S. for work may be coming for a short-term visit and will need to apply for a temporary work visa. The process for that temporary work visa also needs to start with the employer. The employer needs to file a petition for the worker’s visa with the USCIS. An approved petition is required to apply.

It is not just the length of the stay that determines the visa. Religious workers can file for an R-visa, while journalists and media employees can file for an I-visa. People working for cruise ships and airlines that will be travelling through the United States on the way to another country should apply for a C or D-visa. Domestic workers who are coming to the United States while their employer is here should apply for the business travel visa. If the employer is here on business, they should also file for a business travel visa.

Sometimes, repeat travelers can renew their visa without appearing at an embassy or consulate office for the interview process. Nationals from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can visit the United States for up to 90 days for business or travel without obtaining a visa. With the Visa Waiver Program, it is important to remember that not all countries participate, and it may not be available to everyone.

To find the right immigration visa, it is best to seek the help of a professional immigration lawyer who will ensure that their client receives the correct visa status to avoid future problems.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Clients File the Right Visa Applications

Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. have extensive experience in helping resolve complicated visa processes. If you need help with determining the right visa for your situation, complete our online form or call us at 215-925-4435 for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the state and nationwide.