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A national of a foreign country wishing to travel to the United States generally must obtain a visa in order to enter to the country. We say generally because there are some countries that are visa exempt, most of them European, or countries like Japan, Chile or New Zealand.

U.S. visas are categorized in two types:

§ Non immigrant visa for temporary stay (tourism/transit, business, work, or studying).

§ Immigrant visa for permanent residence (employment, family based or investment).

The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. Visas are issued by U.S. embassies and consulates, and depending on the country you are residing you should apply from there.

For the nonimmigrant visa the first step is to fill out the DS-160 online form provided by the U.S. Department of State. As per the immigrant visa, the process also changes depending on the category. Please find some examples below:

§ Employment-based:

To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories, the applicant’s employer must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received, the employer then files a petition for the worker ( Form I-140). In some cases, if you are already in the U.S. you can apply from there, but first you will need to comply with another application called “adjustment of status”.

§ Family based

If you are an immediate relative (spouse, unmarried child under 21 years, or the parent) of a U.S. citizen, you can become a lawful permanent resident based on your family relationship if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

§ Fiancé Visa (K-1)

If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a petition, that is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé (e).

To obtain a visa can be complex and time-consuming, due to the amount of information you need to gather, along with the online forms you need to complete, and most importantly, everything must be accurate, because an error or a contradiction regarding the information you are providing may cause the denial of your visa. Every case is different and there is never enough information we can share on one page. Therefore, we encourage you to contact an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with your visa process.

The Law Offices of Uzoma Ubanii

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