There are two basic types of visa categories: immigrant and non immigrant. If you intend to live in the U.S. indefinitely, then you are considered to be an intending immigrant. You must have a Green Card to enter the U.S. On the other hand, if you are intending only to visit the U.S. for a specific limited period, then you are a non-immigrant.
The vast majority of cases will not qualify to immigrate into America, no matter how good their intentions, without a qualifying sponsor. The sponsor must be either an immediate family relative who is a US citizen, or an employer who needs the skills, know-how, professional expertise, etc. of a foreign employee. More on this area will be given below. Most persons going to America will therefore be non-immigrants: generally tourists or business visitors who are not engaged in working in America.
Many visitors to the USA from qualifying countries will be able to remain in the US for 90 days on the visa waiver programme; i.e. they do not need to obtain a visa in advance. Persons who want to remain for more than 90 days must obtain a non immigrant visitors' visa which (in most cases) will allow entry for up to 6 months.
Persons who attempt to work in America without an authorized work visa are subject to deportation proceedings. Therefore, if you want to work in the USA, even for only a short period, you must have a specific work visa which will allow the holder to work for a designated employer for a specified period of time. Generally, you must have exceptional qualifications for the job and you must have an employer who will sponsor you for the work visa. There are however some cases where your own business can be the qualifying sponsor. Persons who have substantial funds to invest in an American venture, or who are already engaged in substantial trade between the USA and Britain, may be eligible for the coveted E visa.
There are other visa categories for specific types of workers such as sportspersons, entertainers, motion picture producers and persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Visas are also available for persons who qualify under one of the many exchange programmes which are specifically authorized by statute. Students, trainees, and vocational apprentices can also obtain visas for these specific functions.
If you don't fall within one of the above categories, it is probable that you do not qualify for anything other than a tourist visa. If you think you do fit into one of these categories, then you may want to obtain professional advice from our legal department. We can evaluate your qualifications in private and advise on the appropriate visa. Retaining a qualified American immigration attorney is advisable for several reasons. First of all, for the peace of mind in knowing that a professional will correctly process your case through to completion. Just as important to some clients is the professional duty of confidentiality by which lawyers are bound to keep their clients' matters in strict secrecy. There is no such duty imposed on travel agents, courier companies and so-called visa consultants who are able to disclose sensitive client details to the highest bidder. Another important advantage to retaining professional legal counsel is the ability to represent you before the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service or at the American Consulate.
Upon receipt of a retaining fee, a fully qualified American immigration attorney will analyze your particular case to make an assessment of your qualifications for a US visa. We will then provide full legal services to obtain the visa for your purposes. Should you not qualify for a visa, your retainer fee will be refunded in full.
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