1. I would like to visit the United States. Do I need a visa? What kind of visa do I need?
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States must first obtain a U.S. visa. Certain individuals who are nationals of countries included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, depending on their reasons for doing so, may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa.
There are numerous types of visa categories, allotted to individuals who seek to visit as tourists or work in the United States. To determine which category is appropriate, it is advisable to seek attorney counsel.
2. I am an exchange student in the United States on a student visa. How can I stay and work in the U.S. once I have completed my degree?
Generally, exchange students who complete their programs of study are eligible for Optional Practical Training, which is authorization to stay and work in the United States in their fields of study for up to one year or more. During the period of Optional Practical Training, should a U.S. employer offer a longer-term role, other visa categories may be available depending on eligibility. To determine eligibility for Optional Practical Training and other visa categories, it is advisable to seek attorney counsel.
3. My visa has expired. What do I do? How do I extend my visa?
A visa holder’s length of status in the United States is determined by the I-94 Arrival Departure Document created either upon entry into the United States or issued as part of a change or extension of status approval notice issued by USCIS. The visa, issued by a U.S. consulate abroad, is what allows the individual to enter the United States in a particular status. There may be times when an individual’s I-94 expiration date is beyond that of the visa expiration date. This is generally fine; however, an expired visa holder will not be able to return to the U.S. following international travel without renewing the visa. It is advisable to seek attorney counsel to determine when, where and how to apply for a new visa.
4. I have a green card. How do I become a U.S. citizen?
With limited exception, a permanent resident of the United States (green card holder) must meet a list of specific criteria to become a U.S citizen. One major requirement is five years of permanent residence. It is advisable to seek attorney counsel to determine if and when one is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
5. I am a U.S. citizen and I married a foreign national. How does my foreign spouse obtain permanent residence in the United States?
U.S. citizens can petition for foreign spouses with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the foreign spouse is eligible to apply for permanent residence and/or an immigrant visa to be issued at a U.S. consulate abroad. A number of factors will enter into the determination for a strategy to best complete this process. It is advisable to seek attorney counsel to decide how and when to proceed with the marriage-based immigration process.