United States Visa Advice

Non-Immigrant Visas To The US

Visitor Visa

The visitor visa is a type of non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2):

B-1 Visa - Temporary Business Visitor

  • consult with business associates
  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • settle an estate
  • negotiate a contract

B-2 Visa - Tourist

  • tourism, vacation (holiday), visit with friends or relatives, medical treatment, participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations, participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating, enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).

O-1 Visa - Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The 'O' visa is intended for persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.

E-3 Visa - Australian Professional Specialty

The 'E-3' visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia, as well as their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation, and there is no Age limit.You will need a job offer from a sponsoring employer in the United States before you can apply for the E-3 visa. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. However the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate.

The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:
  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  • The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
How long is the E-3 visa valid for?

The validity of the visa will not exceed the validity period of the LCA, nor will it exceed the reciprocity period of 24 months established by the Department of Homeland Security. Any validity period extensions will be based on LCA extensions.

Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas?

There will be a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas issued annually during each fiscal year, which runs from October 1st to September 30. Spouses and children of applicants do not count against the quota, nor do applicants extending their E3 visas whilst still in the U.S. and working for the same employer.

L-1 Visa - Intracompany Transferee

The 'L' visa enables the applicant to work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. Individual must have been employed by the same employer abroad continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years.

H-1B Visa - Person in Specialty Occupation

The 'H-1B' visa enables the applicant to work in the US in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to- government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.

I - Media Visa - Members of the Foreign Media, Press, and Radio

Media (I) visas are for representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries, traveling temporarily to the United States to work in their profession, which is engaged in informational or educational media activities, essential to the foreign media function.

While on a media (I) visa, the activities in the United States must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. The activities in the United States must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.

See examples below of travel purposes that require an I Visa for the United States:

  • A member of the foreign media engaged in the production or distribution of film
  • A journalist working under contract
  • An employee of foreign information media or employee of an independent production company having a credential issued by another country’s professional journalistic association engaged in filming a news event or documentary
  • A foreign journalist travelling to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience
  • An accredited representative of a tourist bureau

J-1 Visa - Exchange Visitor

Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J-1 visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization. When you are accepted into the exchange visitor program you plan to participate in, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Most J-1 Exchange Visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

F-1, M-1 Visa - Student

You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa. Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, is permitted on a visitor (B) visa. Study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration. For example, distance learning which requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus requires an F-1 visa.

Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The U.S. school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

The F Visa is meant for study in the United States to attend:

  • University or College
  • High School
  • Private Elementary School
  • Seminary
  • Conservatory
  • Another academic institution, including a language training program

The M Visa is meant for study in the United States to attend:

  • Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program

P-1 Visa - Internationally Recognised Athlete or Entertainment Group

The P-1 temporary visa has 2 classifications:

1. P-1A - Internationally Recognised Athlete - The P-1A allows you to go to the US to perform at a specific athletic competition, as an athlete, individually or as part of a team or group, at an internationally recognised level of performance.

2. P-1B - Internationally Recognised Entertainers - The P-1B allows you to go to the US to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.

Immigrant Visas To The US

Immediate Relative and Family Sponsored

If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or is a lawful permanent resident, your relative in the U.S. will need to sponsor you and prove he/she has enough income or assets to support you, the intending immigrant(s) when in the United States.

Family Immigration is a 3 stage process:

1. The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by your sponsoring relative for you.

2. Most sponsors will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support the intending immigrant, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their family member, by completing and signing a document called an Affidavit of Support.

3. Then the intending immigrant will apply for the immigrant visa.

Marriage to a Foreign National

If you are an American citizen you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. They are:

  • Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) - An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required.
  • Non-immigrant visa for spouse (K-3) - It is important to note that application for the nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) who married a U.S. citizen must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place. After the visa process has been completed, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case. Two petitions are required: Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130; and Petition for Alien Fiance, Form I-129F.

Employment-Based (5 Preferences)

To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories below, the applicant's prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (if required), the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category.

E-1 Visa - Employment First Preference: Priority Workers

There are three sub-groups within this category:

1. PERSONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY - in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have specific job offers, so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the fields in which they have extraordinary ability. Such applicants can file their own Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.

2. OUTSTANDING PROFESSORS AND RESEARCHERS - with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. Applicants in this category must be coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. The prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.

3. MULTINATIONAL MANAGERS OR EXECUTIVES - who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant’s employment outside of the U.S. must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. The prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.

E-2 Visa - Employment Second Preference: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

A Second Preference applicant must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, on behalf of the applicant.

There are two subgroups within this category:

1. PROFESSIONALS HOLDING AN ADVANCED DEGREE - (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.

2. PERSONS WITH EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY IN THE SCIENCES, ARTS, OR BUSINESS Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.

E-3 Visa - Employment Third Preference: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

There are three subgroups within this category:

1. SKILLED WORKERS - are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.

2. PROFESSIONALS - are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.

3. UNSKILLED WORKERS (OTHER WORKERS) - are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.

E-4 Visa - Employment Fourth Preference: Certain Special Immigrants

There are many subgroups within this category, including:








E-5 Visa - Employment Fifth Preference: Immigrant Investors

Immigrant Investor visa categories (such as the EB-5 detailed below) are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation.


For more information about the EB-5 Visa and our current Regional Center Projects open for Investment, please go to our website page:

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

To qualify as an immigrant investor, under the EB-5 program, a foreign national must invest, without borrowing, the following minimum qualifying capital dollar amounts in a qualifying commercial enterprise:

  • $1,000,000 (U.S.); or
  • $500,000 (U.S.) in a high-unemployment or rural area, considered a targeted employment area.

A qualifying investment must, within two years, create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the United States, not including the investor and his/her family.


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