If you wish to enter the US for a temporary period of time, a nonimmigrant visa allows you to travel to a US port of entry and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security to visit for a specific purpose. That purpose might be for work, school, a conference, or to visit friends and family in the US.
What are the differences between an immigrant and nonimmigrant visa?
A nonimmigrant visa is different from an immigrant visa in that the nonimmigrant visa only allows a person to enter temporarily, whereas an immigrant visa-holder can enter and stay permanently. In entering on a nonimmigrant visa, the visa holder is viewed, and legally bound, to be entering the US for a specific, temporary period of authorized stay with a promise to depart the US at the expiration of that period of authorized stay.
What are the types of visas that can be applied for?
The most common types of nonimmigrant visas are:
Visit our page on other nonimmigrant visas to learn more about other options.
Visa Status and Length of Stay
The length of time someone can stay in the US depends on the type of visa and, more importantly, on the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection officer who inspects and admits the person at the border. A person admitted in one status may be allowed to change their status in order to stay longer or to perform different activities. For example, college students may want to change their status to an employer-sponsored nonimmigrant visa after they graduate and seek employment (assuming their employer will sponsor them).
What are my next steps?
This process can be, and often is, complicated. The immigration attorneys at Antonini & Cohen can help simplify the process by determining the visa category that is right for you and assisting you with your application or change of status from your current category to a new category. In appropriate cases, we can also obtain legal status and work authorization for your dependent family members. Contact the firm or call us at 404-850-9394 for a consultation.
"As an athlete, one hardly has time for off the field endeavors. In applying for my change of immigration status, I can say I was extremely glad that I entrusted this into the capable hands of Antonini & Cohen. They made the process a stress free one.”
-Simone Facey, World Champion Gold Medalist 4 X 100m Relay