Study AbroadUSA

What is USA Visa?

If you want to go to the United States for any reason and you are a resident of a foreign country, you must obtain a US visa from your country of citizenship. International persons who meet the visa-free travel requirements do not need a visa. In this article, we will give general information about the US visa to those who have to obtain a visa and will travel to the USA for a reason of working and studying. In addition, we will also provide a brief overview of the green card option.

You can click here to find out if you need a visa based on your country information.

Tourism

Generally, a foreign citizen seeking to travel to the United States must obtain either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for people who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism (visa category B-2), or both (B-1 / B-2).

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary depending on the US Embassy or Consulate. Please refer to the instructions on the US Embassy or Consulate website.

Studying & Exchange

The United States is a country that supports international education and offers a lot of options for foreign students and exchange programs. However, those who will apply for a visa should first receive an acceptance letter from the school or program sponsors.

To study in the United States, you must have a student visa. Your training program and the type of school you plan to attend determines whether you need an F or an M visa.

To enter the United States to attend: You need the following visa category:
University or college F
High School
Private elementary school
Seminary
Conservatory
Another academic institution, including a language training program
Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program M

Yo need to take a student visa (F or M) to study in the United States. Foreign nationals cannot study after obtaining a visitor (B) visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), except for recreational work (non-credit) as part of a tourist visit. For more information on VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.

For short periods of recreational study, a Visitor (B) visa may be appropriate

A visitor (B) visa permits enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate. Learn more about Visitor Visas.

Study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is never permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration. For example, a student in a distance learning program that requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus must obtain a student (F or M) visa prior to entering the United States.

Student Acceptance at a SEVP Approved School

The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States.  After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20.  After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa.  You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

If your spouse and/or children intend to live with you in the United States while you study, they must also enroll in SEVIS, obtain individual Form I-20s from the SEVP-approved school, and apply for a visa (but they do not pay the SEVIS fee).

Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

Visit the Department of State EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, and an overview of the application process.  You can also visit the DHS Study in the States school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary depending on the US Embassy or Consulate. Please refer to the instructions on the US Embassy or Consulate website.

Exchange

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Exchange visitor (J) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.

Exchange Visitor Categories Include:

Au pair and EduCare

Camp Counselor

Government Visitor

Intern

International Visitor (Dept. of State use)

Physician

Professor and Research Scholar

Short-term Scholar

Specialist

Student, college/university

Student, secondary

Summer Work Travel

Teacher

Trainee

Exchange Visitors cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas – An exchange visitor visa (J) is required to participate in an exchange visitor program in the United States.  Foreign nationals may not study after entering on a visitor (B) visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)  For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.

Acceptance in Exchange Visitor Program –  The first step is to apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization in the United States. Visit the Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.

After the exchange visitor program accepts your participation, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (except in certain cases – consult your exchange visitor program sponsor). Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website.

Employment

To work in the United States temporarily as a lawful nonimmigrant, temporary workers must qualify for the available visa category based on the planned employment purpose. The steps in the process before applying for a visa vary. Review the employment groupings and categories below.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time, and are not considered permanent or indefinite. Each of these visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website.

Green Card

For many people, the first step towards being able to permanently live and work in the USA is applying for an immigration visa (Legal Permanent Resident Status). There are 3 different paths you can take towards getting a Green Card: Through winning the Green Card Lottery, through your work or through your family.

Where can I apply for a Green Card?

A Green Card is an immigrant visa for the USA. There are several different paths you can take to apply for an immigrant visa to permanently reside in the USA. In general, all applications are sent to and processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

After USCIS has approved the Green Card application, the main Green Card applicant will be invited to complete the so-called “consular processing” at the US embassy in their home country. Since 2004, the Green Card application must be completed and submitted online.

Generally, there are three Green Card categories:

Admission requirements, application processes and features, waiting times, the authorities responsible, and costs all differ depending on the Green Card category. The first step is to identify which Green Card category applies to you. Maybe you have relatives in the USA, a job offers in the USA or have an idea for a new business in the United States? Some things never change though and the easiest way for USA fans to get a Green Card is to participate in the Green Card Lottery.

The simplest way to get a Green Card is through the Green Card Lottery. The U.S. Department of State gives away 55,000 Green Cards through the Diversity Visa Program every year. Even though a fair amount of luck is needed, this path is the most available to those looking to make their dream of living in the USA come true. People in each participating country have a fair chance to win since no country receives more than 7% of the total Green Cards.

Getting one of these highly sought-after resident permits through the Green Card Lottery is easy. All you must do is apply to participate in the drawing that takes place every year. The American Dream is the largest Green Card consulting agency worldwide and provides a wide range of comprehensive services, especially in all matters concerning the Green Card Lottery. In case you are one of the 55,000 annual lucky winners, you have the right to apply for a Green Card and emigrate to the USA.

Green Card through a Job

There are a few visa options for those seeking to take up work in the United States. Which visa is required depends on the type of work and under what conditions. Therefore, each case needs to be individually assessed. Crucial factors when deciding on a work visa include qualifications, citizenship, the planned length of stay and company affiliation or corporate constellation.

The most common visa types (non-immigrant) are those issued for temporary work in the USA. If you would like to permanently live and work in the United States, then you need to apply for an immigrant visa (Green Card) in one of the following categories. Furthermore, please be aware that applying for most U.S. work visas is a very complex and time-consuming process.

You can get a Green Card through a job in the following cases:

  • You get a very specific job offer for a position which few Americans can fill. The employer must fill out an application with USCIS and the Department of Labour and carry-out the application process
  • Entrepreneurs and investors can get a Green Card for creating new jobs in the USA
  • Some immigrant visa categories allow for a so-called self-petition. Through self-petitions, people with extraordinary skills can apply under the “Aliens with Extraordinary Ability” or the “National Interest Waiver” option.
  • Applicants who qualify under the very specific special job category can also apply for a Green Card. These jobs include Afghan/Iraqi translator, international organization employee, religious worker and many more.

Green Card through the Family

One of the longstanding foundations of the Green Card program is making sure families stay together when one member emigrates to the United States. Immediate relatives of and people who marry US citizens or Green Card holders also qualify for a Green Card. Each individual case is subject to category restrictions. Moreover, applicants must endure a waiting period before a Green Card becomes available and this differs strongly between the categories.

RELATIVES/SPOUSE OF A US GREEN CARD HOLDER

Immediate family members of a Green Card holder have the right to emigrate to the USA. Not only US citizens, but also Green Card holders (Permanent Residents) have the right, according to American immigration law, to file an application to bring certain family members to the USA through a Green Card. Bringing family to the USA is subject to restrictions.

US immigration law allows the following family members of Green Card holders to apply for a Green Card:

  • Spouses of Green Card holders

People who marry a Green Card holder are allowed to emigrate if the marriage is legally binding and not a sham marriage.

Spouses are included in the Second Preference Category under the subsection F2A. There is a yearly quota for the number of visas issued in this category and applicants should expect a waiting period before receiving their Green Card (See Visa Bulletin).

  • Unmarried children of a Green Card holder under the age of 21

In keeping with yearly immigration quotas, there is a distinct difference between unmarried children under the age of 21 and those over the age of 21. In general, children under 21 can emigrate quicker because they fall under the Second Preference Category. Despite this, there is a waiting period and an applicant may have to wait years before receiving their Green Card. The same conditions apply for adopted and step-children.

  • Unmarried children of a Green Card holder over the age of 21

Children of Green Card holders who are unmarried and over the age of 21 must, unfortunately, wait many years for their Green Card. These children are included in the Second Preference Category, but under the subsection F2B.

Exact waiting times and immigration quotas can be found in the Visa Bulletin released monthly by the U.S. immigration authorities. The same conditions apply for adopted and step-children.

Take note: There is no possibility for Green Card holders to bring other relatives, such as married children, parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. to the United States under these family reunification conditions.

RELATIVES/SPOUSE OF A US CITIZEN

Under certain conditions, US citizens can also file immigrant visa applications for immediate relatives. US immigration law allows the following family members of US citizens to apply for a Green Card:

Immediate relatives of a US citizen:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21
  • Parents of US citizens (if the US petitioner is over the age of 21)

Other Close Family Members:

  • Unmarried children over the age of 21 (First Preference)
  • Married children over the age of 21 (Third Preference)
  • Brother or sister (Fourth Preference)

Please take note that US citizens cannot apply for an immigrant visa for other family members like aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. and these relatives do not qualify for a Green Card through family unification.

HOW A GREEN CARD HOLDER OR US CITIZEN CAN FILE A GREEN CARD APPLICATION FOR A RELATIVE

To apply for an immigrant visa through a family member who has a Green Card, the following steps need to be taken:

  • The first stepis filing the Green Card Application (I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The main applicant in this case is always the Green Card holder or the U.S. citizen who is petitioning for their relative.
  • In the petition, you must provide documents like a birth certificate, proof of family relationship, etc. How quickly USCIS processes the application depends on the relationship of the Green Card holder to the family member.
  • USCIS will support the application only after they are convinced that the family relationship is authentic.
  • The petition can be rejected if, for example, the US authorities believe that a marriage in not authentic and only took place for the spouse to get a Green Card. If the US authorities are suspicious, they will invite the pair for an interview and may even visit the applicant’s home for an inspection.
  • Note: A US citizen who has lived for at least one year outside of the USA can file the petition with the US consulate in the country they are living in.
  • After the application has been authorized by USCIS, the Green Card applicant (foreign relative) is notified that they can proceed with the so-called consular processing. If the foreign relative is already living in the USA with a non-immigrant visa, it is possible to get the visa while in the USA under a procedure called adjustment of status.

FAMILY-SPONSORED WAITING PERIOD IN THE VISA BULLETIN

Please note that additional information concerning waiting periods for different visa categories and types can be found in the monthly-released Visa Bulletin. Here, the US authorities post all current immigrant and non-immigrant visa information.

A visa is available for the applicant as soon as there is a “c” for current in the visa category table that pertains to their visa. However, depending on the workload of the authorities, the waiting time until approval can still be about 1 year or more. A cut-off date is shown if there are no more visas available in that visa category. The priority date is the date that the petition was properly filed with USCIS or the respective US consulate.

The easiest way to get the coveted Green Card for your own family is definitely a successful participation in the Green Card Lottery, as spouses and children under 21 years of age automatically receive the Green Card if you win. In case of a later family reunion, the waiting time until the Green Card is granted can currently be up to 2 years, even if the visa category is “current” according to the Visa Bulletin.

İlayda Doğanay

StudyIngram Editor

Source

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html

https://www.green-card.com/apply-for-a-green-card/

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close

Adblock Detected

Hey there! You are using adblock? Please disable adblock to use our site.