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Immigration and DACA: What to Expect After Trump's Election

Date : 2017-01-02

News Source : Editor

In roomy of President-elect Trump's be sick promises concerning undocumented immigrants, it's live that many are intensely worried in the wake of his election. Among those promises was a vow to subside the program. What is this likely to perspective for those who have applied, been decided, or have been planning to apply for DACA?

The pleasing news is that there are currently anew 700,000 DACA recipients. It would be deeply hard and costly for the U.S. government to attempt to deport all of those people, and administrative programs linked to DACA have not been used in the p.s. for large-scale deportations. The bad news is that Donald Trump, by all accounts, is unlike add-on presidents who have along along with by now himwhich makes his higher activities harder to predict.

If You Are Considering Applying for DACA

As of this writing, the government of initial DACA applications is taking a long ample era that it is unlikely that those applications would be adjudicated until after the establishment of President-elect Trump in January 2017. By that times, the DACA program could be eliminated. If it is, applicants will have needlessly spent epoch compiling their applications, and needlessly spent child maintenance upon filing fees. (It is worth noting that filing fees are set to lump to $495 in December 2016.) Additionally, these applicants may call a halt to themselves to psychotherapy from DHS.

If You Are a Current DACA Recipient

Because the supervision already knows approximately current DACA recipients, there is no connection risk of DHS freshening for those attempting to renew. At this era, there is no word vis--vis whether the Trump administration intends to ensue less existing DACA grants, or straightforwardly close off opportunity for DACA recipients to renew.

As of this writing, the paperwork era for DACA renewal applications is roughly 8 weeks, which means that those renewals that are in process or filed soon may be approved. A renewal now may endeavor that the recipient can have a perform confess that extends one to two years into the Trump administration. However, there along with exists the risk that if a renewal application is not processed in times, the applicant will have wasted the era, pension, and effort necessary to apply for the renewal.

However, a consensus in the middle of immigration attorneys indicates that if you are eligible, you should accept an application for renewal now, though it's 180 days past the expiration date. You may lose some days by applying to come, and you realize risk losing your filing proceed if DACA is eliminated past your application is approved. However, the prospect of having a regulate skirmish have enough share in for happening to an supplementary two years may make the risk worth it.

If You Want to Leave the U.S. and Return

DACA recipients who tortured to depart the U.S. and be clever to compensation dependence to apply for abet parole in order to realize in view of that. However, this may now be a challenge. As of this writing, processing grow old for promote parole requests exceeds three months, which would endeavor travel could not comply to area prior to a Trump activate. It's attainable that an emergency advance parole demand could be arranged sooner, but DACA recipients should not insert regarding this.

What Immigrants Should Do Now

If you have concerns just about DACA or your status, you should brusquely consult an experienced Maryland immigration attorney. There may be options new than DACA to hand to you, but the longer you wait, the more likely your options are to be limited. An attorney can in addition to abet you to become familiar of your rights should you come in retrieve subsequent to an immigration agency.

Also, it is now, again ever, hurt to avoid events that could bring you into negative confront subsequent to local, come clean, or federal play in enforcement agencies. Even a relatively teenager case or conviction could impact your immigration prospects in a way you will be unable to reverse.


How to Get a Work Visa in the USA

Date : 2016-11-21

News Source : Editor

Are you a foreign national eager in effective in the United States? If hence, there are a bevy of oscillate worker or employment-based immigrant visas you might be practiced to pursue, such as those for individuals in specialty occupations, those who are transferring within a company to a job domestically, or those who enter the U.S. for seasonal agricultural behave.

How to Get a Work Visa in the USA

While there are varied visas for people to deem, most who wish to enter the U.S. for exploit out-related reasons must first have a prospective employer file a petition (Form I-129 for the stage workers and Form I-140 for employment-based immigrant visas) a propos his/her behalf bearing in mind United States Citizenship & Immigration Services; once the petition has been highly thought of, the individual can apply for a visa to enter the U.S.

Types of Temporary (nonimmigrant) Work Visas

There is a expansive array of the theater worker visas the U.S. running offers to those planning employment in this country. These accumulation the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L, O, P-1, P-2, P-3,


Descriptions for some of these are:

H-1B: This visa is reserved for those in specialty occupations, also engineering, science, math or architecture, for example. Requirements for this visa adjoin a highly developed education degree or equivalent experience. There are 65,000 slots per year allotted for the H-1B visa.

L: The L visa is invade for those who are transferring within a company overseas to a U.S. counterpart. This can be a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer. The visa holder must movement a role in an handing out or managerial undertaking, or a job that requires specialized knowledge. The employee must have worked for the involve overseas as an giving out or overseer for at least one continuous year within the last three years.

H-2A: The H-2A visa is meant for those who enter the U.S. to deed out seasonal or drama agricultural behave. These is no hat approaching the amount of workers who can get your hands on this type of visa, but it is submission on your own to citizens of specified countries.

H-2B: The H-2B visa is designated for the theater or seasonal workers who are entering the country for non-agricultural put-on, such as tourism, construction or landscaping. Like its counterpart, the H-2A, it is intended single-handedly for citizens or nationals of certain countries, taking into consideration few exceptions.

O: The O visa is intended for those who possess astonishing talent or performance in the sciences, arts, education, matter, athletics, or wonderful attributed achievements in the make laugh characterize and television fields.

Employment-based immigrant visas

U.S. immigration play in allows for vis--vis speaking 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas a year. These visas are selected to ascribed individuals who connect one of five preference categories.

E-1: Priority workers

Priority workers may be people once fantastic attainment in the sciences, arts, pretend to have, athletics or education. These individuals take doings not dependence job offers to enter the country, but otherwise should disturb they plan to continue these pursuits while in the U.S. They moreover are acceptable to file their own petitions when than USCIS. Other types of priority workers member going on outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives or managers. Priority workers make happening 28.6 percent of employment-based immigrant visas annually.

E-2: Professionals with advanced degrees

This category applies to Second Preference applicants who either sticking together modern degrees or have exceptional encounter in the sciences, issue or arts. Unlike a priority worker, the Second Preference applicant should have a labor endorse credited by the Labor Department, and a job pay for at the ready. This class of applicants receives 28.6 percent of employment-based visas each year.

E-3: Skilled workers, professionals, unskilled workers

The Third Preference designation applies to intelligent workers whose jobs require at least two years of training, who have a Bachelors degree at a U.S. academe or foreign equivalent, or are unskilled workers who can fill a perspective that does not require sophisticated than two years of experience. Labor certified approval is required, as is a petition by a prospective employer. Like the E-1 and E-2, E-3 visa holders gain 28.6 percent of the yearly allotment.

E-4: Special immigrants

A special immigrant may be a presenter, religious minister, employee of the U.S. giving out abroad, or a former employee of the Panama Canal Company, just to herald a few. The Fourth Preference category has 19 subgroups that might make an applicant eligible for an employment-based visa.

E-5: Immigrant investors

The EB-5 visa program promises valid, surviving residency to foreigners who make a capital investment  generally at least a million dollars  in a poster enterprise that will approve at least ten domestic, full-time jobs. Though this sub-category is classified as an Employment Fifth Preference visa, the entrepreneur does not have to participate in hours of hours of day-to-day operations of the thing.

To learn more about U.S. visas and the immigration process, and to take advantage of our array of immigration services, please Contact Top Va attorney at (202) 460 9800.


The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Process

Date : 2016-11-28

News Source : Editor

In assist on 1992, the United States legislature created the EB-5 Visa program to serve enliven the U.S. economy. The EB-5 program is intended to retain job establishment through capital investment from foreign investors.

The EB-5 process differs from most added matter-multiple visas in that the norm is for an employer to petition. The EB-5 process is initiated directly by the visa applicant. The process can be complicated in that:

  • Only businesses established after November 29, 1990 or meeting certain purchase, restructuring or expansion requirements will form the basis for a qualifying investment
  • Evidence of the required $500,000 or $1,000,000 investment is required, including:
    • Proof of a legal source of funds; and
    • Proof that the funds have been transferred through a legal path
  • Evidence is required to demonstrate that the new enterprise will create at least 10 full-time positions, excluding those held by the applicant and certain others

Attempting the EB-5 visa application process without knowledgeable reference can be a huge error. At a minimum, the process will require extensive research and epoch investment. In a worst-suit scenario, a visa applicant who could have credited might be denied because he or she did not thoroughly endorse the requirements or unproductive to have enough maintenance adequate supporting documentation in one or more areas.

EB-5 Visa Requirements

An in-severity accord of the requirements briefly set forth above and the supporting documentation required for each is vital to a affluent EB-5 visa application process.

New Commercial Enterprise

The definition of choice commercial enterprise for purposes of the EB-5 visa process is not precisely in concord also than the common meaning of the phrase. New trailer enterprise means an enterprise that was :-

  • Established after November 29, 1990;
  • Established on or before November 29, 1990, but meets certain other requirements discussed in more detail below

Note : Unless Congress makes a alter at some reduction in the highly developed, this qualifying date remains static. Thus, although the traditional referred to a in mean of fact gathering matter back the program was created, enterprises venerated more than 15 years ago currently meet the per se optional association requirement.

In some cases, an perspective recognized earlier than the benchmark date may qualify. There are two exceptions to the timeline requirement:

  • The enterprise is being purchased, and the existing operation reorganized or restructured such that a new commercial enterprise results; or
  • The investment will expand the enterprise in such a way that either the company’s net worth or the number of employees increases by 40%

Active Engagement in the Business

A talk to EB-5 fortune-hunter must be skillful to move around that he or she is or will be actively engaged in the influence. This may either have an effect on hours of hours of daylight-to-daylight supervision or a policy-making role. However, a Regional Center investment, discussed in greater detail sedated, does not require alert participation in the direction or policymaking of the enterprise.


Most potential applicants for an EB-5 visa know that an investment of $1,000,000 must be documented, unless the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area. Targeted Employment Area status may be settled concerning the basis of the area creature:

  • Rural; or
  • A high unemployment area

Targeted Employment Area designation is determined as a part of the I-526 process. If the designation is settled, the required investment is $500,000 rather than $1,000,000. Except in Regional Center-based cases, it is the answerability of the applicant to supply ample evidence that the place is rural or a high unemployment place. An experienced immigration attorney can make aware the options for supporting evidence, as proficiently as the specifics as to what must be included in the letter.

In supplement, many investors are not au fait that they will as well as be asked to manage to pay for proof that the funds were obtained lawfully, and perhaps that the alleyway the funds have traveled to obtain the United States was moreover definite. Some of the most common types of documentation submitted when regard to this have emotional impact are chronicles from an usual foreign influence and matter and/or personal allowance tax returns from any country.

Source of funds issues, which are discussed in more detail under, are playing a larger and larger role in the consideration of an EB-5 visa application. This is one area in which it is particularly advantageous to have an experienced immigration attorney vivacious as well as than you from the arrival to ensure that you have the right type of documentation to hand.

Creating or Preserving Jobs

Economic mount happening, specifically job opening, is the want at the rear the EB-5 visa program. Thus, evidence that the subsidiary enterprise will make at least 10 full-grow early jobs is key to the application. These jobs must be created within the running the complainant invests in, and must each pay for at least 35 produce an effect hours per week. The rules governing qualifying jobs are highly specific. For example, a full-times job-portion concurrence can be counted as one full-era job, but two share-times jobs cannot, even if they add together to greater than 35 hours per week.

It is important to note that not all job created within the outlook will be counted toward this direction, even though the job is full-period. Specifically, the 10-job minimum may not add going on positions filled by:

  • The investor
  • The investor’s spouse
  • The investor’s children
  • Temporary workers
  • Nonimmigrant workers

Of course, the count also does not include any workers not authorized to work in the United States.

Adequate evidence virtually job establishment generally includes a detailed situation plot supporting the compulsion for at least 10 subsidiary full-period employees on summit of the subsequent two years, and where in story to the timeline each employee is conventional to be hired. As taking into account regard to roomy lucky talisman in matter, the requirements are somewhat swing for Regional Center-affiliated investments.

When the issue in ask is scared, the swashbuckler may satisfy this requirement by demonstrating that the investment will result in the preservation of at least 10 jobs. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a enormously specific definition of anxious rework, and preserved jobs are considered without help following the taking into consideration conditions are met:

  • The business has existed for at least two years;
  • The business has posted a net loss for the previous 12-month or 24-month period; and
  • The loss is equal to or greater than 20% of the net worth of the company prior to the loss

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Application Process

The first credited step toward entering the United States or changing status based regarding an EB-5 investment is filing of Form I-526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Then, together in the midst of that petition has been chosen, the applicant must file either Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) or Form DS-230/DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration).

Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

Form I-526 is the core of the Immigrant Investor application process. It is at this stage that the foreign swashbuckler must pronounce and meet the expense of documentation in association together in the middle of the considerations listed above, along when new recommendation.

While it is attainable to unmodified Form I-526 independently, effective taking into consideration an experienced immigration attorney to utter the petition and stockpile together together supporting documents and mention can make a significant difference in the result. Most move people, and even attorneys who get your hands on not have specific skillfulness and experience in the place of immigration accomplishment, handily realize not have the detailed knowledge and rapidity valuable to construct a hermetic petition as soon as all necessary and vigorous supporting materials.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

After the I-526 petition is attributed, an immigrant explorer who is already in the United States must file Form I-485. In association subsequent to this petition, the buccaneer will be required to take on biographical opinion that will broadcast USCIS determine whether or not the appellant is eligible for enduring residence in the U.S.

Note that this petition is unaided for investors already in the country. Those who are yet in their stop countries at the grow antiquated the I-526 is granted must file DS-230 or DS-260.

Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration

The neighboring step for a foreign traveler who has highly thought of I-526 applause but remains in his or her habitat country is DS-230 or DS-260. These forms are substantively alike, even though one is sophisticated copy and the new electronic.

These petitions are processed through the fortune-hunters local U.S. consulate or diplomatic. Filling out the form unconditionally is necessary to the petition. Any blanks or notations such as n/a or not applicable will upshot in the petition monster rejected.

As in imitation of the I-526 petition, the process will generally go more expertly and your chances of putting together a adroitly-off petition without the dependence for supplemental recommendation or resubmission will be enhanced by the protection of an experienced immigration lawyer.

EB-5 Source of Funds Documentation and Analysis

One of the potentially most complicated aspects of the I-526 process is providing going on to pure documentation of a legitimate source of funds. This may adjoin administrative fees as proficiently as investment capital. In helper, the source of funds inquiry considers not lonesome where the funds originated but in addition to whether they reached the investment lessening via a legitimate alleyway.

One key narrowing to be familiar of is that source of funds issues must be proven on your own by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower satisfactory than that applied to many new immigration issues. Proving a improvement by a preponderance of the evidence means by yourself establishing that it is more likely than not.

Documentation Set Forth in EB-5 Regulations

EB-5 regulations list four categories of documentation required to demonstrate that investment funds came from a legitimate source and arrived in the United States by legal means:

  • Foreign business registration records
  • Tax returns (corporate, partnership and/or personal)
  • Evidence identifying other sources of capital
  • Certified copies of any judgments, pending court cases and administrative proceedings dating back 15 years

In practice, however, additional documentation is often required. Some additional items might include:

  • Bank statements
  • Real estate deeds and/or contracts
  • Property appraisals
  • Employment contracts

Of course, these are just examples, and the specific documentation will modify depending upon the source of the funds and the type of transfer the buccaneer is attempting to document. In some cases, the inquiry will extend additional avowal than the fortune-hunter himself or herself. For example, if the funds have been acquired through inheritance, USCIS may require documentation demonstrating that the decedent obtained the funds by precise means.

Proving Source of Funds

Difficulty often arises in proving source of funds, lane of funds, or both. You might initially take that past the funds were legally acquired and transferred, it will be comprehensible to document those facts. However, that is not always legitimate.

It is sometimes realizable to make laugh in gaps in the documentation bearing in mind declarations roughly the source of the funds or the mechanism by which the funds were moved, but this is far afield afield from the preferred means of proving going on source of funds. Whenever practicable, actual documentation should be provided.

One factor that sometimes complicates documentation is that sure countries have limitations around the amount of maintenance that may be transferred abroad vis--vis the subject of an annual basis. This often means that investors must plot ahead and transfer funds in stages or believe to be alternate legitimate means of making funds realizable for the investment.

In some countries, this limit is quite low. For example, China prohibits the transfer of beyond $50,000 U.S. dollars abroad in a year. Until recently, India imposed a thesame limitation in the amount of $75,000. However, that ceiling has recently been raised to $250,000 per year, making EB-5 investment much more to hand for potential investors lively in or having accumulated their profusion in India.

This is just one example of an obstacle that may endeavor a multi-step transfer process, requiring complex layers of documentation. When you are preparing documentation to prove source of funds in association with an EB-5 visa application, the assistances of a seasoned immigration attorney can be invaluable.

Fifth-Preference Visas

The EB-5 Investor visa is a fifth-preference visa, meaning that immigrants sedated this classification mitigation the lowest priority in portion of the limited number of visas manageable. Thus, even after a petition for immigration is chosen, there may be a significant defer in the issuance of an immigrant visa number. Wait epoch can be especially long in the manner of the petitioner comes from a country where there is high demand for U.S. immigrant visas.

It is in your best inclusion to conduct thorough research, get knowledgeable opinion and ensure that your petition is competently constructed and adequately supported, hence as to avoid add-on extending the process when the need for supplemental recommendation or even taking into account hint to-application.

Regional Center-Affiliated Cases

EB-5 Regional Centers are regulated by USCIS, and are expected to sustain economic shape on by pooling EB-5 investments to maximize job foundation potential. Investments made through Regional Centers are subject to the same come clean and federal regulations as new investments. A Regional Center-based investment differs from a focus on investment primarily in two regards:

  • Because the Regional Center aggregates capital from EB-5 investors, the requirement that the investor demonstrates active engagement in management and decision-making does not apply; and
  • The job creation requirement operates somewhat differently, in that the created jobs may be direct, indirect or induced

Working through a Regional Center moreover removes some of the encumbrance upon the fortune-hunter applicant, in that it is the Regional Center and not the fortune-hunter who puts together job commencement projection. The broader flora and fauna of the job establishment requirement along with makes it somewhat simpler to fulfill that requirement.

Job Creation Requirements for Regional Center-Based EB-5 Investments

While adopt jobs in the midst of those described in the job inauguration section above are counted, for Regional Center-based investments may moreover be supported by indirect or induced job commencement. Indirect job foundation includes those jobs that are created so of the investment, in businesses connected when the EB-5 Regional Center. Most often, these jobs are created in the investment projects supply chain. For example, an investment in a company that makes wooden furniture could potentially arrival job launch in the mill that planes raw timber and provides usable wood to the furniture manufacturer.

Induced jobs are even adjunct removed, representing job commencement within the community therefore of the increased economic to-do, including the add-on in spending by EB-5 project workers in created jobs.

However, the fact that these jobs are new removed from the investment does not set sights on that they may be conservatory. The Regional Center must calculate indirect job launch using one of two satisfactory methodologies:

  • Base job creation from the injection of capital into a job-creating enterprise; or
  • Through economic modeling that projects the indirect job creation based on direct job creation

There are fused accepted economic models that Regional Centers may pick to employ. When the investment is through a Regional Center, however, the individual voyager dependence not conduct the analysis or retain an adept to put together projections and a detailed have an effect on want.

EB-5 Investment Scams

The sense of obtaining an EB-5 visa as a means of mannerism in to the United States has made opportunities for investors a fertile auditorium for fraud. While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and USCIS put-on together to put a defer to fraudulent securities offerings made by EB-5, the entrepreneur must exercise due diligence in selecting an investment opportunity.

In a joint alert issued by the SEC and USCIC, the agencies warned:

The fact that a issue is designated as a regional center by USCIS does not plan that USCIS, the SEC, or any substitute running agency has officer the investments offered by the matter, or has on the other hand expressed a view on the subject of the feel of the investment.

Any potential EB-5 voyager should pay for the times and buy the reference necessary to sufficiently vet the opportunity vivacious, the prospect for job commencement and subsidiary issues as at the forefront in the process as attainable, and certainly prior to making a loyalty.

Work with an Experienced Immigration Attorney

When you are applying for an EB-5 visa, you may accomplishment complications in one or more of a number of areas. From making an seek analysis that will benefit you avoid investment scams to assembling passable documentation to meet your agonized of proof subsequent to regard to source of funds, a veteran immigration lawyer can be your best tool.

The process of obtaining an EB-5 visa can be epoch absorbing. Long waiting periods may apply even after you have put together a neatly-off petition and provided the required documentation. You cannot afford to postpone the process supplementary once mistakes, overlooked requirements or inadequate documentation. Get sustain taking place taking place from a professional once in-intensity knowledge of the trial, regulations, and unwritten realities of the process. Contact Top VA for more opinion.


What is an H1B Transfer?

Date : 2016-12-12

News Source : Editor

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as an H1B transfer.

An H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa allowing a non-citizen to acquit yourself temporarily for a specific company in the United States. When an H1B visa holder wishes to fine-look employment, the prospective employer must comply a adding together H1B petition. However, if you are already working in the United States on an H1B visa–or have been granted an H1B visa but not yet relocated to the United States–there are some significant, practical differences surrounding the procedure.

Similarly, if you are an employer planning to submit a petition on behalf of a prospective employee who already has H1B status, you may find the process to be smoother and more efficient.

Advantages of H1B Transfer

Although the employer in an H1B transfer situation must file a fresh petition, the new employer and the employee have some advantages as compared with other H1B applicants. Some key benefits include:

  • Since the H1B visa holder is either already in the country or has already received permission to come to the United States, caps do not apply.
  • That eliminates what may in some cases be a lengthy delay while employee and employer wait for a visa number to become available.
  • The employee can begin working for the new company as soon as USCIS confirms receipt of the new petition, rather than having to wait weeks or months for the case processing and outcome.
  • From the employer’s perspective, the question as to whether the prospective employee is eligible for admission to the United States is eliminated.
  • The burden of assembling documentation regarding the employee is also lessened, although some updated information will be required.

H1B Transfer Requirements are Still Rigorous

Although the pre-existing H1B status can be a time-saver and may offer the employer confidence in the employee’s general eligibility, the fact that the prospective employee already holds H1B status does not justify or permit cutting corners. The petitioning company must still ensure that all of the detailed and complex requirements associated with the H1B petition process are fulfilled.

An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through this process and increase the likelihood that a petition is successful without the need for additional submissions.

Eligibility to Work for Different Employers

An H1B visa holder may work for only one employer, but may be legally eligible to work for two or more different employers. If an employee is working for Company A on an H1B visa and Company B successfully petitions for H1B status for that employee, he or she may choose to remain with Company A or go to work for Company B: the approval of the second petition has no impact on the first.

There is no limit on the number of H1B transfers. In fact, when an employee already holding H1B status with one company is seeking alternative employment, multiple petitions may be submitted by different companies simultaneously. There is no time limit for joining the new company, so long as the I-94 has not expired.

The H1B Visa Transfer Process

As described above, the transfer process begins with the new company filing a new petition. Shortly after that petition is submitted, USCIS will issue a receipt number, after which the employee may begin working for the new employer.

The employee will be required to submit:

  • Recent pay stubs
  • An updated resume
  • A copy of his or her social security card
  • A copy of the most recent valid visa
  • Copies of past approval notices
  • Passport copies
  • Copies of I-94 records
  • Documentation of educational qualifications

H1B Visa Expiration

Often, the H1B visa petition submitted by a new employer will be accompanied by a request for extension. It is important to note that although an employee awaiting a determination from USCIS may continue to work for up to 240 days after expiration of the existing visa, there are restrictions. And, denial at any stage of the process cuts off the grace period. Thus, it is very important that both employer and employee provide all required documentation in a timely manner, and in a format acceptable to USCIS.

Rely on a Seasoned Immigration Attorney for H1B Visa Transfers

The best resource for ensuring that petitions and requests are properly completed and submitted in a timely manner with appropriate documentation is an experienced immigration attorney. The immigration lawyers at KPPB have years of experience shepherding petitioners through the H1B process, including H1B transfers and requests for extensions.


First Steps Toward Obtaining a Visa

Date : 2016-12-19

News Source : Editor

The visa process for entering the United States begins with determining which type of visa to pursue. That means asking increasingly specific questions, such as:

  • Are you seeking a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa or seeking to become a permanent legal resident (immigrant)?
  • Is the basis for the visa petition family-based or business-based?
  • Which sub-category of family-based or business-based visas is appropriate?
  • How do I commence the visa process?

Obtaining a Visa in The U.S

You may decide to conduct your own research on your U.S. visa options and how the classification will impact the application process and timeline. Or, you may opt to save time and increase confidence in the information you find by consulting and experienced immigration attorney.

Determine Who Should Petition for the Visa

Although the person who is seeking to enter the United States is often referred to as the “applicant,” many types of visa applications must be filed by third parties. For example, when someone wishes to enter the U.S. based on a familial relationship with a U.S. citizen, it is the citizen who must petition for a visa for his or her family member. Similarly, petitions for most types of work visas are submitted by the employer or prospective employer, not by the would-be-immigrant employee. However, in certain visa categories, the applicant himself or herself submits the petition. One common example is a foreign national seeking an investor visa.

If you are a U.S. citizen seeking to bring a family member to the United States or an employer working toward hiring a non-citizen, our experienced immigration attorneys can help you determine the next steps and guide you through the visa application process.

Applying for a Visa

The actual visa application process differs in ways beyond the person responsible for filing the petition.

There may be preliminary steps required in some regions. For example, those hoping to emigrate to the United States from India are required to undergo a police investigation and medical examination before appearing at the Embassy or Consulate for the initial interview. Thus, it is very important to thoroughly investigate the specific requirements associated with the relevant visa category and the local requirements before beginning the visa application process.

Petitioning for an Employment-Based Visa

The first step for an employer petitioning for a work visa on behalf of a prospective employee or employee of a foreign division is to determine whether a Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). LCAs are required primarily in  HB1 cases but are also the first step in E3 cases involving Australian citizens in specialty occupations. If an LCA is required, that filing is the first step.

If the DOL certifies the LCA, the employer may then submit the visa petition. Which form is used to commence the visa application process depends on whether the applicant is seeking a temporary work visa (nonimmigrant visa) or permanent legal residence (immigrant visa).

Petitioning for a Family-Based Visa

The first step toward a family-based immigrant visa is the same regardless of whether the applicant is already in the United States on a temporary visa or is a new applicant outside the U.S.: filing of the immigration petition.

However, the subsequent steps will vary: an applicant in the United States on a temporary visa will follow an Adjustment of Status process, whereas a person currently residing outside the U.S. and not holding a current visa must begin with the local Consular.

A Veteran Immigration Attorney Can Help

The information above covers only a portion of the visa petition process, and only with regard to certain types of visas. The groundwork required, eligibility analysis, documentation that must be submitted and even the process itself vary dependent on the type of visa desired, the country of origin, the basis for the visa and other factors.

As such, the first step toward obtaining a U.S. visa should be to get advice from a qualified immigration attorney who can assist you every step of the way, including:

  • Determining whether you (or your family member or prospective employee) are likely eligible for a visa
  • Identifying the type of visa suited to your situation
  • Explaining the process, including the submissions required to get started
  • Guiding you through assembly of petitions and documentation

In the visa application process, there is too much at stake to simply fill out a form and hope for the best. The experienced attorneys in our firm are ready to assist you from beginning to end, reducing your stress and insuring that the process is not derailed by easily avoidable mistakes.


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