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What are the Different Types of Visas for the US?

More people want to move to the USA than anywhere else, but what types of Visas can you apply for.
Statistics suggest tourism in the UK has experienced something of a Trump slump since the election. Even so, it is still one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. However, the process of applying for a VISA can be long and complicated, so you need to know what you’re looking for.

Temporary Visas
If you’re just visiting the USA, you’ll need to apply for any one of many temporary Visas. Which one you choose will depend on the purpose of your visit. Here’s a list of the main ones:

B-1/B-2 Tourist/Visitor Visas
Are you planning a holiday? If so, you’ll need one of these. However, if you come from certain trusted countries you may be able to visit for 90 days without needing one.

E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas: If you’re an investor or trader from a country which has a commercial treaty with the USA an E-1 or E-2 Visa allows you to carry on your business in the US.

F-1 and M-1 Student Visas: As the name implies it’s ideal for anyone visiting to study.

H-1B Specialty Occupation (Professionals) Visas: If you’re a professional with a BA Degree or more, you might be able to get a non-immigrant visa if your receiving at least a reasonable wage.

J-1 and Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visas: Going on an approved exchange program? If so, this is the one for you.

K-1 Fiancé (e) Visas: You can journey to be with your fiancé, as long as you get married within 90 days.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visas: Available for executives, managers and employees with specialist knowledge who are transferring to a US affiliate of their company. An executive with an L-1 Visa might be eligible for permanent residency without the need for a labor certification.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas: For foreign nationals with an out of the ordinary ability. This might include actors, business people, entertainers or scientists.

Other temporary Visas include P-1 for actors and artists, R-1 for religious workers and TN NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade Agreement Visas.

Permanent Visas
If you’re planning to move permanently, you’ll need one of these.
Family Sponsored Immigration Visas: A US citizen or permanent resident can petition for their parents, children, siblings or spouses to be given a Visa.

Employer-Sponsored Immigrant Visas: There are a number of employer sponsored Visas including professionals with what’s deemed an extraordinary ability, such as executives or managers, advanced degrees or abilities in sciences, arts or business; skilled workers and religious ministers.

If you’re a skilled worker with a job offer, both you and your potential employer will need to complete a labor certification process. There is also an additional Visa called EB-5. Under the Immigration Act, the government sets aside Visas for people who are either planning to invest money in the US, or provide employment to US nationals. If you invest at least $500,000 in targeted areas such as rural areas or places with high unemployment, you may be eligible for these Visa. Likewise, if you invest $1,000,000 anywhere else, you’ll also be eligible.

Every year, 55,000 Visas are placed into a Green Card Lottery which is drawn at random allowing people from nations which are under-represented among immigrants. This will entitle the holder to permanent residency.

The rules for Visas can change regularly, so it pays to stay on top of developments to check the latest requirements. Speak to an expert or get advice before making your applications. Even a simple mistake can lead to lengthy delays.

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