Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Visa?

A travel document sealed inside the passport which permits ingress and egress through a U.S. Port of Entry. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad issues visas.

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Do I need a Visa?

Generally all travelers require a visa to enter the United States. However, certain travelers may enter the United States from Europe using ESTA or other nations using Visa Waiver Programs. Typically, ESTA or VWP travelers are only permitted to remain in the United States for a period of ninety (90) days. Typically, B1/B2 Temporary Visitors for Business / Pleasure are permitted to remain in the United States for a period of up to six (6) months. B1 business travelers may visit the United States to negotiate a contract or attend a seminar. Note, that opening and running a business is a violation of B1 tourist status and can lead serious consequences including revocation of your visa. If you are considering doing business in the United States you should strongly consider an E2 Treaty Investor Visa or EB5 Alien Entrepreneur Application.

What is the difference between Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Visas or Status?

Generally, non-immigrants intent to depart the United States upon their arrival. On the other hand, immigrants intent to stay permanently in the United States. In some cases, visas or change of status applicants both non-immigrant and immigrant intent, this is called dual purpose. Examples are explained below.

  • Nonimmigrant Examples
    The applicant intends to enter the United States for a temporary purpose such as tourism or to study or to open a business and then return to their home country. Examples include the: B1/B2 Visa, F1 Visa or Status, E1/E2 Treaty Investors.
  • Immigrant
    The applicant intends to enter the United States and obtain residence status or green card in order to permanently reside in the United States. The basis for immigrant visas can be family ties (Ex. Husband / Wife). Employment based applicants such as EB1 Aliens of Extraordinary Abilities, EB2 Aliens with Advance Degrees / Exceptional Abilities, and the EB5 Alien Entrepreneurs qualify for permanent resident status or green cards.
  • Dual Purpose
    The dual purpose combines a nonimmigrant intent that can be converted to an immigrant intent at a later time. Example include the: L1/L2 Intercompany Transferees (typically for Multi-National Corporations that hold offices in the United States and abroad).

Can you apply in the United States?

If you already hold a visa, certain applicants may seek a change of status inside the United States. But first, consult with an attorney because application(s) within in a ninety (90) day period of entering the United States may carry serious consequences. Our firm often assist client(s) in seeking change of status for non-immigrant status such as E2 Treaty Investors and F1 students. Our firm also assist clients in applying for immigrant applications such as EB1 Aliens with Extraordinary Abilities and EB2 Aliens with Advance Degrees or Exceptional Abilities.

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