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Eve Guillergan PLLC
Call now: (212)-279-9020
875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 17-03; New York, NY 10001; Fax: (212)-202-5064

Who is a nonimmigrant?

People who are not immigrating to the United States are considered nonimmigrants.  In general, a person who comes to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant is coming here temporarily and for reasons that should be consistent with their visa category.  

What do we do for you?

We will discuss various visa options with you and provide you with a solution to meet your needs. We will let you know what documents you need to provide to us. If your visa is based upon work, then we will work with both you and your employer to meet the guidelines outlined by the U.S. government for the appropriate visa category. We will prepare the necessary documents, which you and your employer will have to review. Upon filing the paperwork, our work will involve checking the status of your case while it is pending with the government. We will make phone calls and write letters on your behalf if there are any problems. If there are any requests for additional evidence, we will work with you in preparing an answer and in collecting any supporting documents without extra legal fees incurred to you. Upon approval, we will provide you with copies of your case as well as inform you of the next steps to be taken. If you are in the U.S. and intend to go abroad to make an application for a visa abroad, we will assist you with that process.

What is the process?

Before coming to the United States, a foreign person needs to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, usually at his/her place of residence.  There are exceptions to this rule for Canadians and Mexicans under some circumstances.   There are also exceptions for nationals of certain countries who do not need visas and can come to the U.S. on a visa waiver.

Some nonimmigrant visa categories (Hs, Ls, Ks, Os, Ps, Rs and Qs) are sponsored through a prospective employer and first require approval of a petition with the USCIS before the foreign person can apply for the visa at the U.S. consulate.

Before applying for a visa, the foreign person will need to have a passport that is valid for 6 months beyond the time of anticipated stay.  An issued visa means that a person has authorization to travel to the United States but does not guarantee entry. 

Once the person arrives in the U.S., he/she will need to be inspected by an immigration official at the port of entry.  At the airport, the inspecting officer will look over the passport and visa, question the applicant, and will then allow the person to come into the U.S. if he believes that the person will be engaging in activities that are consistent with the visa.

If the initial inspecting officer requires additional clarification, he will refer the person to a secondary inspections unit for additional questioning.

If a person is admitted into the United States, he/she will receive an I-94 arrival/departure record (white colored cardboard card) from the inspecting officer.  For those entering on a visa waiver, you will receive an I-94W (green colored cardboard card).   This card is extremely important as it indicates your period of authorized stay in the United States.  Be sure not to lose it as you will need to relinquish it to the U.S. government when you leave the United States.  

Who doesn’t need a nonimmigrant visa?

In general, Canadian citizens do not need to have a visa to enter the United States except when they seek entry on an E visa.   When a Canadian citizen comes to the U.S. as a visitor, he is admitted for a period of 6 months maximum.   

Canadians may apply for work-related TN and L status at a Class A port of entry or preclearance/pre-flight inspection.  Non-Canadian spouses and children will need to apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

No visas are required for individuals who are nationals of certain countries that qualify for the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.   Currently, the following countries are on this program: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.  Individuals from these countries may come to the U.S. for a period of 90 days as a B-1 (visitor for business) or B-2 (visitor for pleasure).  The person would need to possess a round-trip ticket at the time he/she comes to the U.S.

Is it possible to hold more than one nonimmigrant visa at the same time?

No, a person cannot hold more than one nonimmigrant visa status at a time. 

What are the visa classifications?

The U.S. immigration laws define various types of nonimmigrant visas, the qualifications needed for a particular visa and the activities that are consistent with each visa.  Here is a very basic description of some of the nonimmigrant visas:

Know your rights as a nonimmigrant

The attached pamphlet is given out by the U.S. Department of State to assist individuals who come to the U.S. on a temporary visa and to alert them of their rights. It offers a number of good tips to foreign workers.