Thursday, June 27, 2013

An Introduction to Various Nonimmigrant Visas

If you are an immigrant to the United States, it is unlikely that a credit card is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “visa.” Unless you are among the lucky few to hold a green card (permanent residence is usually obtained by being married or related to a U.S. citizen) a visa is the legal tool that allows you to live in the United States. Unfortunately, this process is very complicated to understand and often even more difficult to access. Mistakes can have serious consequences and easily derail your chance at remaining in the U.S. It is not a bad idea to consult with a visa attorney in Oklahoma City if you have questions regarding your own (or a family member’s) visa status.

Types of Visas

For citizens of most countries, only a passport is required to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days (the State Department maintains a list of admitted countries). No matter what the purpose of the visit, for any stays longer than 90 days, visitors will need a visa. The first step is determining your eligibility. There are many different types of temporary visas (also referred to as nonimmigrant visas) depending on your reasons for wanting to be in the U.S., and you will be limited to only the activities that are covered by the visa you hold. For example, if you receive a visa to attend a U.S. training program (H-3) you will not be allowed to work as well. If you hold a visa to work in sectors that are currently understaffed in the American economy (H-1B, H-2B, O and others), you cannot work in another type of job.

Increase Your Odds of Success

Some visas are easier to get than others. It is possible that you might be eligible for more than one type, and an experienced visa attorney in Oklahoma City may be able to advise you on a strategy that will maximize your odds of being granted residence. Perhaps the most common form of assistance that immigration attorneys provide is help extending the time limits on an existing visa. Often the best way to achieve this goal is to actually switch to a different type of visa. For example, if someone had a student visa but wants to stay in the U.S. after graduation, he or she could try and apply for a specialized work visa.

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