When a foreign citizen wants to enter the U.S., he is generally required to obtain a U.S. visa. The visa is issued by the citizen's own country and will become part of the citizen's passport.
In rare circumstances, an individual will not be required to present a visa in order to be admitted into the U.S. In order to be approved for this status, the traveler must meet all of the necessary requirements related to visa-free travel.
Once you have received a visa, you will be granted certain privileges regarding travel. The visa will permit the foreign citizen to travel to various ports of entry, airport or land border crossing. After arriving at the port of entry, permission to enter the U.S. must be requested with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Types of Visas
There are many different types of visas. They are generally split into immigrant and nonimmigrant classifications. The application process will vary depending on the classification of your desired visa.
Typically, in order to apply for an immigrant visa, the foreign citizen must obtain a visa sponsor. This visa sponsor must be a U.S. citizen relative, a U.S. lawful permanent resident, or a prospective employer. The designated sponsor must also have been a beneficiary of an approved petition filed with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).
The most common immigrant classifications are:
- Immediate Relative and Family Sponsored;
- Employment-based; and
- Special Immigrants.
Currently, the U.S. government employs a system known as the Diversity Visa Program. This program works to ensure that visas are afforded to citizens of an assortment of countries, rather than providing visas to only a select few.
Once the appropriate visa petition has been completed and submitted by the party and approved by USCIS, the next step is to complete preliminary processing with the Department of State. At this point, you will be required to provide:
- An affidavit of support;
- Any and all required applicant documents (birth certificate, marriage certificates, police reports);
- Medical exam and physician information; and
- Complete the necessary interviews.
There is a different process for those hoping to travel to the U.S. for just a brief visit, rather than a permanent stay. Keep in mind that current law does not require a visa for most Canadian travelers.
If a visa is required for the individual's travel, he must provide for the purpose of the intended travel and will need to state any other facts necessary for personnel to determine the type of visa required for that individual. A common nonimmigrant visa is the B-2 classification. This visa is for tourism, vacation, and pleasure visitors. Another prevalent classification is the F visa. This is commonly known as a student visa.
If you have questions related to visas or other issues regarding immigration and are seeking legal representation, contact the attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Immigration laws are detailed and constantly changing, it is therefore in your best interest to align yourself with professionals that are skilled on immigration matters and have a deep understanding of the laws.