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What You Need to Know About Temporary Visas


Plan on coming to the United States? If so, you’ll need a visa unless you are from Canada or are entering under the Visa Waiver Program for less than 90 days. Whatever your temporary purpose in the U.S. might be, there are many visas available and one that probably suits your purpose. If you plan on coming temporarily for short-term business, vacation, or any other purpose, the good news is you can make your online application and usually get a visa appointment quickly. While short-term visas are generally much quicker to obtain than an immigrant visa, they are still subject to background checks and the current administrations “extreme vetting” procedures and there is never a guarantee that you will be granted the visa. Here is a brief explanation of some of the available short-term visa types so you can make sure you choose the right one for your purpose.

B-Visas: Tourists & Visitors

The B-1 is for temporary visitors who wish to enter the United States for business purposes, such as those who work for a company abroad but wish to come to the country to attend a meeting with a business partner in the United States. It is not for short-term employment by the U.S. company. A B-2 visa is for tourism or pleasure such as vacation or visiting a relative. Most often the Department of State combines the two with into a B-1/B-2 visa.

E-Visa: Treaty Traders (E-1) & Treaty Investors (E-2)

If you wish to come to the United States to engage in trade, you must obtain an E-1 or E-2 visa, which is available only to those foreign nationals of countries with whom the U.S. has an active treaty. Availability for these visas is heavily-dependent on several factors, including what activities you wish to perform, what businesses you have invested capital in (if any), what country you come from, and what services or technology you wish to provide. Not every country has a treaty and not every treaty is valid for both purposes.

F-1 & M-1: Student Visas

Want to further your education at an American education institution? You’ll need either an F-1 International Student or an M-1 Vocational training visa. F-1 visas are designed for students who attend a full-time academic program at an accredited school or university, while M-1 visas are designed for vocational or non-academic studies like culinary schools, cosmetology programs, or an aviation academy.

J-1 & Q-1: Exchange Visitor Visas

Are you taking part in a cultural and educational exchange program designated by the Department of State? You’ll need a J-1 visa to enter the country. Q-1 visas are designed to allow visitors to attend an international cultural exchange program that provides employment and practical training as opposed to the more education-based J-1.

K-Visas: Marriage

Foreign nationals who are engaged to American citizens may obtain a temporary visa that allows them to enter the country and get married within 90 days: the K-1 fiancé(e) visa. If the visa holder has a child under 21, the child may also qualify for entry to the U.S. on a K-2 visa. This process requires a petition to USCIS and is more of a hybrid between the temporary visa categories listed above and the immigrant visa for permanent residence. Generally speaking, USCIS will take 5-7 months to issue a decision on the required I-129F Petition for an Alien Fiancé(e) before the visa appointment can take place. It is important to note that this K-1 visa classification cannot be amended to any other nonimmigrant visa classification unless a new visa in that new classification is obtained outside the U.S. at a consular post. However, once in the U.S. and lawfully married to the spouse petitioner, the K-1 approval will help the next phase, lawful permanent residence through Adjustment of Status, to go more smoothly.

Need help obtaining a temporary visa? Call Akula & Associates, P.C. today at (844) 299-5003!

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