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Top 10 Visa Articles

Most countries require you to have a visa in order to enter. In fact, if you are planning on going to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and you are from the United States, you will need to pay for a tourist visa to enter Brazil. In a similar manner, depending on what country you are from, more likely than not, you will need a visa in order to enter the United States legally.

Applying for a visa can be a complex process as there are many visas, each of which allows you into the United States for different periods of time and for different purposes.

As a starting point for people looking to apply for a visa in order to enter the United States, the LegalMatch Law Library has compiled a list of the Top 10 Articles on Visas.

1. Permanent Visas or Green Cards

A permanent visa, also known as a Green Card, is one type of visa that allows immigrants to live in the United States. There are several types of Green Cards: Immediate family, work, marriage, or long time illegal resident. One key aspect of applying for a Green Card is that you have to have a sponsor. Another thing to watch out for is that there are also limits placed on the number of people who can receive specific types of Green Cards.

2. Temporary Visas

Temporary visas allow you to enter the United States for a limited period of time and usually for a limited activity. These temporary visas include: student, work, business and tourist visas. If you are from a approved country, however, and you only intend to stay in the United States for a short period of time, you may not even need a temporary visa to enter.

3. Waiting Periods and Quotas for Family Based Visas

Only a certain number of family based immigration visas are granted every year. As such, there is a quota and waiting system in place when it comes to issuing family based visas. If you are a U.S. citizen who is thinking about helping your family apply for an immigration visa, you should check to see the potential waiting period. The waiting period is determined by the family status of the applicant and his or her country of origin.

4. F-2 Visa Restrictions

F-2 visas are granted to the minor children (under 21) and spouse of those who are granted an F-1 student visa. There are several requirements that must be met before you can be granted an F-2 visa, and once an F-2 visa is granted, depending on the circumstances, it might be possible to change it to a F-1 visa.

5. H-1B: Temporary Work Permit

An H-1B visa is a temporary work permit that allows an alien to work for a United States employer in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupation is a field of study that requires specialized knowledge and the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. Common fields that qualify for the H-1B visa includes: engineering, medicine, law, mathematics, and business. These are granted in limited numbers as there is a yearly quota.

6. Entry Visa

All visas are technically entry visas as all visas allow an alien to enter the United States. However, there are two types of entry visas, single entry and multiple entry. Single entry means you can only come into the United States once while the visa is valid, while a multiple entry visa allows you to enter and leave the United States as many times as you like during a set duration.

7. Multiple Entry Visa

A multiple-entry visa allows you to enter and leave the United States as much as you wish for a limited duration. There are many different types of multiple-entry visas and each of them are subject to their own requirements and restrictions, which might differ depending on your country of origin.

8. Overstaying a Visa

It is estimated that about 40% of the people in the United States illegally are a result of them overstaying their tourist or student visas. If you overstay your visa you are now in the U.S. illegally and it might have an adverse effect on future visa applications. However, certain people who overstay their visas might be allowed to renew their visas and remain in the United States legally.

9. Non-Immigrant Visa Extension

Depending on the visa you hold and if you meet certain requirements, you might be able to extend your visa. If you are interested in extending your visa it is important that you file for extension as soon as possible. It is recommended that you file at least 45 days before your visa expires. If your visa expires before your extension is granted, you still might be able to remain in the U.S. in limited circumstances.

10. Working under a Student (F1/J1) Visa

If you have entered the country on a F1 or J1 student visa, you are allowed to work only in certain limited conditions. On-campus work is usually allowed, however, off-campus work is usually not allowed if you hold a student visa except for three exceptions. These exceptions are: hardship, internships, and post grad practical training. If your off-campus job falls within any of these three categories, you might be allowed to work off-campus.

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Law Library Staff

  • Jessica Tam

    LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor

    Attorney at Law