Non-Immigrant Visas

All people who enter the United States on Non-Immigrant Visas (Temporary Visas) are considered to be here temporarily. It is presumed that foreign nationals intend to return to their home countries at the end of their stay in the United States. If you are in the U.S. on a temporary nonimmigrant visa and you start the permanent resident (“green card”) process, under the current U.S. law (as it applies to most nonimmigrant categories) you are believed to have “lost” your intent to stay here temporarily because you now wish to immigrate (i.e., stay permanently in the U.S.). Normally, if you remain inside the United States and do not renew your temporary visa, this change of intent will not be a problem. However, if you must travel internationally or you must apply for an extension of your present stay, you could face some problems.

B-1 and B-2 Visas: Business & Pleasure

The B-1 and B-2 Visas allow applicants to remain in the United States for up to six months per trip, to conduct business or to vacation. To obtain this visa, the person must apply at the U.S. consulate in their home country, unless already present in the United States in other valid status.

To be eligible for a B visa, you must:

  • have a foreign residence with no intention of abandoning that residence;
  • be visiting in the United States for a limited duration;
  • intend to leave the United States at the end of that duration;
  • have adequate financial support to travel to, vacation in, and depart from the United States.
  • engage only in legitimate activities related to business or pleasure.

Although a B-1 visa holder may enter the U.S. for business purposes, the B-1 visa is not a temporary work visa. B-1 visa holders are not eligible to work in the United States or receive payment for their services. However, a B-1 holder who qualifies may apply for a change of status to lawful permanent resident – Green Card – or apply for a temporary work visa.

The most commonly used visa for entry to the U.S. is the B-2, visitor for pleasure. This visa is for visitors to enter temporarily for touring, to visit family and friends, to obtain medical treatment, or to attend conferences of social or service organizations. It does not permit the visitor to work or to attend school.

The B-2 visa is obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas. Applicants should be expected to show evidence of maintaining an address or other ties to the home country, and financial resources to stay in the U.S. without working.

F-1 and M-1 Student Visas

Persons seeking to pursue a full course of study at a school in the United States may be eligible for a visa for the course of their study plus, in some cases, a period for practical training in their field of study.

An F-1 student visa applicant must have available sufficient funds and outside financial support to ensure he or she will not become a public charge or accept unauthorized employment. He or she must be proficient in English or receive training to make him or her proficient, intend to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her studies, and be qualified to attend the particular institution. All F-1 students are given permission to be in the United States for “duration of status,” that is for the period of time needed to complete the educational program plus 60 days.

The M-1 student visa offers a great opportunity for students to train in a positive U.S. environment and strengthen their technical and non-academic skills. The M-1 visa is offered to students who wish to pursue full-time study at an USCIS approved vocational or non-academic school in the United States.

These schools are usually community and junior colleges that offer vocational and technical training or vocational high schools. The schools must prove their international students program will reach certain educational objectives and will not be used to make students work.

Non-American Fiancés K Visas

We assist with applying for a visa for an overseas fiancé, and with overcoming immigration barriers that could interfere with your ability to marry a foreign national in the United States. For assistance contact an experienced California immigration attorney at Bowman & Associates in downtown Sacramento.

Our immigration law practice provides legal services to individuals who are petitioning for their spouses or fiancés. Family unity is the cornerstone of U.S. immigration law, and we keep families together. We also excel in taking on complex cases that involve negative immigration or criminal histories. We have extensive experience with applications through marriage and K-visas for non-American fiancés who live in other countries. The K-visa allows your fiancé entry into the United States, but it normally leads to permanent resident status and eventual American citizenship.

H-1B Specialty Worker Visas

H-1B specialty worker visas are the most common temporary work permits available to professionals. They are obtained routinely by U.S. corporations and other organizations that require foreign professional workers.

A U.S. employer can file an H-1B specialty worker petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a foreign employee, provided that the job requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in a particular field and the foreign national employee possesses that degree or the equivalent.

Eligible fields of endeavor include, but are not limited to, most computer science jobs, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and other positions that require a degree of a combination of education and experience in a field related to the job’s duties.

The potential H-1B worker must either have a university degree, or a combination of education and experience equal to a degree in a field related to the offered job. Three years of progressive experience in an occupational specialty often is deemed equivalent to one year of university studies. H-1B status usually is granted for an initial period of up to three years; however, extensions can be obtained for up to a total of six years and sometimes more.

An employer can request an H-1B visa for less than three years, and H-1B employment may be part-time. An individual requesting part-time H-1B status must be able to demonstrate that employment remains his/her primary purpose for being in the U.S. An H-1B authorizes a foreign worker to be employed only by the petitioning employer under the terms of the H-1B petition, and a foreign worker maintains lawful status by employment pursuant to the terms of the H-1B petition.