Over one million people received a United States green card in 2018. This is to say nothing of the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
We are a nation of immigrants, and that’s going to be the case for quite some time. People come here for several different reasons and in several different ways.
There are different types of visas, and each one pertains to different circumstances. Figuring out which one is right for you may require a bit of research.
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. We’ll talk about the various visas and what they’re for in this article.
1. Work Visa
A work visa is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to work in the United States for a certain amount of time.
The amount of time varies from case to case and isn’t always fixed. In some cases, it doesn’t even occur all at once. Some people come to the US to do seasonal work every year and then return to their native country once that season is over.
This can be quite beneficial for foreign nationals because the US often has higher wages than the immigrant’s parent country. This is despite the fact that the US falls behind several other countries in terms of take-home pay.
For instance, the average take-home pay in the US is three times what it is in Mexico. To put that in perspective that’d be like living in the US while working in a country that pays $21.75 per hour at minimum wage.
Work visas can be broken down further into different types of visas for different types of jobs. For instance, a construction worker will not have the same type of visa as a teacher, who will not have the same type of visa as a journalist.
For all types of visas, a background check will be conducted to determine that you don’t have anything in your past that would bar you from entering the country, like a serious criminal offense.
2. Study Visa
Study visas are used for those who are coming into the US to pursue some kind of education. Most types of education will fall under category F. However, there is a separate category, M, which applies to vocational education.
If you decide to pursue citizenship, and many temporary visitors do, be sure to study the immigration process and check your immigration case status with some frequency.
Another type of educational visa is listed as J-1. This is one of two classifications for a foreign exchange student, with the other being F-1. F-1 is the most common of the two.
There are also F-2 visas for those who are the dependents of someone with an F-1 visa. Finally, there are F-3 visas, which applies to any student who goes to a school inside the US border while continuing to live outside of it.
All of these are considered non-immigrant visas because you’re only staying in the country temporarily to pursue an education.
3. Marriage Visa
You’ve probably heard of marriage visas at some point. They’ve been the cornerstones and subplots of who knows how many dramas, but the reality is very different.
These visas fall under the K-1 category, which permits a foreign national to stay in the US for 90 days so they can marry their fiancé. After the 90 days is up, they can no longer reside in the US without some other form of visa or authorization.
As with all visas, you will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork to qualify for a K-1. The next step in the process will be an interview. Usually, this interview will be conducted in your own country.
However, some countries don’t have the appropriate programs or facilities, so you may have to apply in another country.
The interview will consist of questions about yourself and your fiancé. Essentially, it’s there to ensure that you actually have a fiancé currently residing in the US. It’s not unheard of for people to lie about being engaged in an effort to become a citizen.
Do not lie in this interview. This can get you denied entrance, even if you would’ve otherwise been allowed.
4. Emergency Appointments
Emergency Appointments are a rarer type of visa issued only in more dire circumstances. You might qualify for an emergency appointment if you are desperately in need of medical care.
The US may lag behind comparable countries in certain aspects of healthcare, but it’s still among the best in the world. There are instances when foreign nationals will seek medical care in the US that they would not be able to get elsewhere.
Emergency appointments may also be granted for the deaths of an immediate family member living in the US. This allows relatives to make end-of-life arrangements for their loved ones.
The final situation that might merit an emergency appointment is a business emergency. These include disasters and other humanitarian issues. It also covers any sudden business requirements, such as unforeseen seminars or meetings.
Types of Visas and Which is Right for You
There are a lot of different types of visas, and which one you should pursue depends on your situation. Factors such as your reason for coming to the country are going to determine which visa you need.
We’ve talked about some of the most common visas in this article but it’s a complicated issue. There are other categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories that we didn’t have the space to address. You may need to do a little more research to figure out which best suits your situation.
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