If you are planning to come to the United States the purpose of your travel along with other factors will determine the type of visa that you will need to apply for. In general, there are two main categories of U.S. visas:
In order to receive either type of visa, you need to demonstrate that you satisfy all of the requirements for the specific visa category that you are applying for.
If you are planning to visit the U.S. for a temporary stay you will generally need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. The United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs lists the many different types of non-immigrant visas available for people seeking to travel to the U.S. on a temporary basis. Every non-immigrant visa category has specific eligibility requirements and your visa classification will be based on your reasons for traveling to the U.S.
Visits to the U.S. for business, pleasure, and study are some of the more common purposes associated with applying for a non-immigrant visa. Individuals visiting the U.S. for business (B-1 category visa), pleasure, tourism or certain medical treatment (B-2 category visa must meet specific application requirements and are only permitted to engage in limited activities while in the United States. If you are planning to study in the U.S. you may be eligible for either an F1 or M1 non-immigrant visa. The F1 category visa is for full-time academic students and the M1 category visa is for non-academic students enrolled in vocational training programs. Additionally, individuals participating in an exchange program which has been approved by the U.S. Department of State may be eligible for a J1 exchange program visa.
In addition to these categories, there are many other forms of non-immigrant visas permitting certain professionals, workers and other types of individuals to temporarily visit the U.S. for specific purposes. Determining which type of visa is most appropriate for your situation can be very challenging. If you have questions about a non-immigrant visa category or need assistance with the application process you should contact a skilled Maryland immigration lawyer at our immigration law firm to discuss your situation.
If you are hoping to come to the U.S. to live on a permanent basis you will generally need to obtain an immigrant visa. There are many different categories of immigrant visas available to individuals planning immigrate to the U.S. These visa categories, along with associated eligibility requirements, are set forth on the United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Similar to non-immigrant visas, the immigrant visa classifications are based on your purposes for entering the U.S.
These classifications include sponsorship by immediate relatives and family members as well as employment based immigration. Within these two classifications there are many different visa categories, each with their own specific eligibility requirements. If you do not meet the requirements for either of these visa categories, you may still be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. based on a special status or program such as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program).
If you are having difficulty determining which type of visa you should apply for, a Maryland immigration lawyer at our firm can help. We will take the time to carefully discuss your reasons for coming to the U.S. so that we can help you determine which visa category is best suited for your individual circumstances.