Understand the Requirements for Immigrant vs Non Immigrant Visa Applications

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to obtaining a visa for occupancy in the United States. Every foreign national is different, with different histories, needs, and goals for their time in the U.S. The specificity of visa applications is the reason many foreigners consult visa attorneys Los Angeles. A visa lawyer in Los Angeles will be well-versed in the ever-changing U.S. immigration laws and requirements. They can give you advice tailored to your situation in order to give you the best chance at being granted a visa for permanent or non-permanent residence in this country.

Immigrant Visa vs Non Immigrant Visa

As a foreigner, you may not be aware of the differences between an immigrant visa and a non immigrant visa, which is all the more reason to hire an experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles.

The U.S. government grants an immigrant visa to someone who was born in another country but plans on making the U.S. their home, meaning that they will live here permanently and only leave for short trips at a time.  You may have heard the following words when referring to an immigrant visa:

  • Permanent Resident
  • Immigrant
  • Green Card Holder
  • Resident Alien

An immigrant visa gives an immigrant most of the same rights as a citizen. The biggest difference is that they cannot leave the country for more than a year and that their visa is contingent upon their behavior once in the U.S.; if a visa holder commits a crime or shows that they are dangerous to the country, they can have their visa revoked and be deported.

A non immigrant visa encompasses many different kinds of visitors who are staying in the country for longer than 90 days. The most common types of non immigrant visas are:

  • Student Visa
  • Business/Tourist Visa
  • Work Visa
  • Exchange Visitor Visa
  • Journalist and Media Visa

The purpose of each visa is different, but they generally all mean that the person intends on staying in the U.S. for over 90 days. A US tourist visa lawyer Los Angeles can further explain the different kinds of visas and which one is best for your specific situation.

For example, The B Class visa and the H Class visa both cover employed people in the U.S.  If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily, you must be approved for an H visa, or work visa. A Los Angeles lawyer for H visa specialty workers can tell you if the work you are going to do puts you in this category or another one, like Category B.

Category B covers those traveling for business (B-1), pleasure, or medical treatment (B-2). The B Class visa can sometimes be used in place of other visas, but this is something you should ask your Los Angeles visa lawyer for non-immigrants B about before moving forward with the Class B visa.

Requirements for Non Immigrant Visa

A non immigrant visa can be applied for at a U.S. consulate in your home country a few months prior to your visit. You should bring printed copies of all required documents as well as your passport. Since the government takes time to process your visa, adhere it to your passport, and mail your passport back to you, make sure to give yourself ample time before your flight to the U.S.

When you apply for your non immigrant visa, you must attach all required documents listed on the U.S. embassy website. The materials you may need to submit are:

  • Completed DS-160 Application Form 
  • Valid Passport
  • Old Passports From the Last 10 Years
  • Color Headshot – This photo should be in front of a white wall in clear lighting. If you wear glasses, remove them for the photo.
  • Interview Appointment Confirmation Letter
  • Receipt Proving Payment of Application Fee
  • Social Media Accounts

Application fees vary based on which non immigrant visa you are applying for. The fees for each visa are as follows:

  • Non-Petition Based Visas – $160
  • Petition Based Visas – $190
  • E Class Visas – $205
  • K Class Visas – $265

No matter what reason you are wishing to come to the U.S., a Los Angeles visa lawyer for non-immigrants B can ensure that your application is ready and has the best chance of being approved.

Requirements for Immigrant Visa

If you are applying for an immigrant visa, you are applying for permanent residency in the U.S. This comes with a different set of requirements and responsibilities.

One thing that people run into is the long wait time since the U.S. immigration system receives so many requests. You can move to the front of the line if you have a close family member or employer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsor. If you fall into certain categories such as workers with extraordinary ability, investors, and certain special immigrants, then you can petition on your own behalf without the help of a sponsor.

A full list of the different immigrant and non immigrant visas can be found here. Consulting an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles is the best way to get legal immigration help Los Angeles future residents count on to get them into the country. Scheduling an appointment with Alami Law is the first step in your journey to residency.