Ultimate Guide to Temporary Visas

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Ultimate Guide to Temporary Visas

If you are planning a temporary visit to the United States, you will likely be required to apply for a temporary visa. There are many different types of temporary visas, and each type relates to a specific purpose. Once it is granted, the temporary visa permits the holder of the visa to enter into the United States for a specified activity, such as studying or working, until the time limit for the visa expires and the person must return to their home country. There are many nonimmigrant visas also issued to people who visit the United States for the purpose of travel, foreign exchange programs, and employment opportunities requiring a special skill that may not be abundant in the United States.

Nonimmigrant or temporary visas are divided into nineteen major categories and one special purpose category for those employed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The main categories are given letter designations. The categories of nonimmigrant visas are explained in further detail below.

Types of Temporary Visas

As stated above, there are nineteen different categories of visas, in addition to one special purpose category for NATO personnel. Each category is assigned a letter designation. The following are the classifications for temporary visas:


Limitations on Temporary Visas   

Once you have been issued a temporary visa, you are permitted to enter the United States. However, the category of your temporary visa puts a limitation on the activities with which you can engage. For example, if you have been issued an F visa, you must be a student while you are here in the United States, and you cannot use that visa as a way to stay in the U.S. legally while working as a full-time employee for a company long after you are done with school. 

When Does My Temporary Visa Expire?

The expiration date of your visa, which is visible on the face of your visa, will vary depending on the type of temporary visa you have been issued. For example, those who are here for business and personal activities are generally permitted a one-year temporary visa status with renewal options available at six month increments. The time between visa issuance and expiration date is called your visa validity. The visa validity is the length of time you are permitted to travel to a port of entry in the United States.

While a visa may be valid for a certain period of time, possessing a valid visa does not guarantee a person’s entry into the United States. The visa expiration date shown on your visa does not disclose how long you are authorized to stay within the United States, and you may be deported at any time. Entry and the length of authorized stay within the United States are determined by the Customs and Border Protection Officer at the port-of-entry each time the person travels.

Denial of a Temporary Visa and Visa Waivers

There are certain grounds that permit the U.S. to deny the issuance of a temporary visa. People who are known to be drug abusers or addicts, drug traffickers, spies, and terrorists, as well as people who are likely to become dependent on government services are inadmissible and will not be issued a temporary visa. All of these people are also ineligible for a waiver that would allow them to obtain a temporary visa.

Other grounds for inadmissibility include possession of a communicable disease such as tuberculosis, possession of a mental or physical disorder that may lead them to cause harm to themselves or others, and a lack of proper vaccinations. People who have committed of crimes of moral turpitude, violated immigration laws, engaged in prostitution, or possess multiple criminal convictions are also included in this inadmissible list. However, contrary to the first list provided, these people may acquire a waiver  such as a Hranka waiver from the United States and may be issued a temporary visa.


Is Anyone Exempt from the Temporary Visa Requirement?


People who are exempt from the temporary visa requirements are those visiting from countries that are waived by the United States. These people may visit the United States for up to 90 days for business or personal reasons without first obtaining a temporary visa. A passport from the person’s home country, however, is always required.

As of 2015, 38 countries are included in the visa waiver program, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, and Portugal.

Do I Need an Attorney to Get a Temporary Visa?

There are many different types of temporary visa categories with specific requirements and limitations. Additionally, navigating the immigration process alone can be daunting. An immigration lawyer can assist you through the complex road of immigration and visa issuance and find the temporary visa best suited for you.

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Last Modified: 11-11-2015 10:17 AM PST

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