USA Non-Immigration Visas

Non-Immigrant Visas To The United States

While seeking migration to the United States, a visa plays a crucial role. The visa policy of the US pertains to the travel, entrance, and residence of foreign nationals. It is necessary to obtain one of the applicable visas from one of the US diplomatic missions and fulfill the requirements of the procedures that follow. The specific type of visa needed by the applicant is defined by immigration law and takes into consideration the purpose of your travel

US Immigration

Various Types of Non-Immigrant Visas

There are a wide range of factors that play an instrumental role in determining the type of visa needed under U.S immigration law. The intended purpose for travel determines the visa required. Common types of non-immigrant visas are B-1 Business visa USA, B-2, P, K-1, O-1, E-2 and L1.

Why Do You Need A Non-Immigrant Visa?

A non-immigrant visa is required when a person wants to stay temporarily in the US The US legal system defines this kind of visa for purposes of a temporary visit to the US, such as travel for work, study, medical treatment, tourism, business, etc.


There are countries that enjoy the privilege of the Visa Waiver Program by the US Embassy. Under this program, immigrants from certain countries are allowed to enter the US and stay for a maximum of 90 days without a visa.

Below are the categories of non-immigrants seeking entry into the US who do not need a visa for admission:

  1. A Canadian non-immigrant: Canadian citizens, and Canadian residents who are citizens of another Commonwealth nation, are exempt from the visa requirement for the purposes of tourism, limited business activity, and work activity under certain provisions of NAFTA. For more information, click here.
  2. Visa Waiver Pilot Program: This is a special program allowing non-immigrants from designated countries to enter the United States for the purposes of tourism and short-term business. For more information, click here.
  3. Visit of an alien, who has valid legal status in the US, to Canada or Mexico: A visa is not needed for entry into the United States from Canada or Mexico if:
  • The alien had a valid non-immigrant legal status in the US, such as B-1, F-1, or H-1, before leaving the US and going to Canada or Mexico.
  • The alien left the US for Canada or Mexico and comes back to the US within thirty days.

How Can You Apply For Non-Immigrant Visa?

The application process is easy. An individual can directly apply to the embassy abroad or the US consulate for a business non-immigrant visa (B-1) visa or tourist visa (B-2). However, foreign nationals attempting to visit the US for work or study purposes may need to complete additional documentation formalities and get certain authorization prior to the application for a non-immigrant visa.
It is a misconception that issuance of visa guarantees entry to the US. A visa just ensures that a US consular officer or consulate has thoroughly scrutinized the application and allowed the entry of the individual to the country for specific purposes. It is the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer who is responsible for conducting an in-depth investigation at the port-of- entry for determining the eligibility of the individual under US immigration law. Hence, in a nutshell, this elaborate process requires meeting the needful requirements for visa approval.

What Is Required To Apply For Non-Immigrant Visa? How Does It Work?

The first thing you need to apply for a visa is the DS-160 application

  • A passport that validates travel to the US. Your passport is required to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates must have at least one blank page for the visa to be affixed.
  • You are required to upload one photograph.
  • To schedule appointments and interview, you need to produce a receipt against the payment of a non-refundable amount of US $160 for the non-immigrant visa application. Visas such as work and religious visas require payment of US $190. The charges for K visas are US $265, and for E-visas it is US $205.
  • The scheduling process requires your passport number, fee receipt number, and the 10-digit alpha-numeric barcode from the DS-160 confirmation page.
  • The fingerprint and photograph appointment should be scheduled after the application form is filled, and fee payment is made.
  • Your social media handles, their names, your phone number(s), email address, and the social media history for the past five years are required.
  • All mentioned documents are required to be in either English or the official language of the country in which the interview is taking place. If the documents need to be translated, they should be translated by an accountable translator.
  • If you wish to apply for a renewal, you need to carry your current/most recent visa to the interview.
  • Children declared below the age of 14 are required to submit both parent’s biographic information and valid US visa page. They are exempted from all other qualifications. Similarly, for elders who declare themselves above 80 years of age, need to ensure that their most recent visa application was not rejected.
  • Interview appointments are held at the US Embassy/Consulate, generally one day or more beyond your fingerprint and photograph appointment. For the interview, you need to ensure you have a printed copy of your appointment confirmation letter, the DS-160 confirmation page stamped at the VAC, your current and all old passports, and additional documents as per your visa type.

How Can You Renew Your Visa?

While traveling to the US, if you need to get your visa renewed, you may be exempted from the interview process under the following conditions:

  • You have a previous visa in the same class as the one you are applying for. If you are applying for any other class, the prior visa is still valid or got expired within 12 months from the application date.
  • Your most recent visa was issued in the country you are applying from.
  • You received your visa after January 1, 2008.
  • Your previous visa is not declared “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”.
  • Your most recent visa was issued on or after your 14th birthday.
  • Your most recent visa was not lost/stolen or canceled.
  • Your visa was not rejected (in any class) after your most recent issued visa.
  • In case of applications for an H or L (individual) or R visa, your prior visa in the same class is still valid or expired within the last 12 months.
  • In case of applications for an F visa, you are continuing as a student at same school for which your last visa was issued.
  • In case of applications for a J visa, your current DS-2019 is issued by the same institution as the institution listed on your last visa.
  • Children below 14 years of age and adults above 80 years of age can also enjoy an interview waiver if they meet the requirements mentioned previously under the application section.

Which Visa Should You Apply For?

There are different types of non-immigrant visas for various requirements and reasons. The major categories under the non-immigrant visas are business visitors; athletes, amateur or professionals; transitional workers; domestic employees accompanying a foreign national employer; employees of designated international organization; exchange visitors; journalists; religious workers; temporary workers for seasonal labor; in-transit people; foreign media representatives and more.

The various categories have their own letter designations, specific rules and application procedures. You need to carefully study them to understand which visa you would require and if there are any special requirements for its application.

In some cases, an individual can directly obtain the visa from the embassy or consulate without an application and receive an approval from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). But, in such circumstances, the individual must have documentary evidence with USCIS approval to the consulate or US embassy. Besides that, other essential documents and forms are necessary for the application of visa and easy approval from USCIS.

Us Visa For Business/Tourism

Planning a temporary visit to the United States for any purpose requires a non-immigrant visa. The procedures following the application submission are crucial to follow to obtain your visa. W

The various types of non-immigrant US visas are divided on the basis of different utilities and are signified different letter conventions. The B-1/B-2 visas are designated for people travelling to the United States for business purposes, for pleasure, medical treatment, etc.

B-1/B-2 Us Visa

If you plan to travel to the US for business consultancy/meetings, business conventions, scientific, research, educational or professional conferences, or for any other professional endeavours regarding real estate, etc., you need to apply for a B-1 visa. Athletes (competing for prize money only), amateur entertainers/artists/musicians/photographers and domestic employees (accompanying foreign national employers) also have to apply for the B-1 visa with certain restrictions on their work.

On the other hand, the B-2 visa covers the recreational purposes of travel. Travel for tourism-related purposes, visit to/with friends and family, travel with the intent of getting engaged or married to a US citizen, medical visits for treatment or checkups, and social, fraternal or volunteering services or other evangelical tours, participating in non-compensatory events, come under the umbrella of the B-2 visa. Foreign citizens just accompanying a person with D-1/D-2 visa, visiting a child or spouse who is a US citizen.

The B-1/B-2 visa lets you stay in the US for up to 6 months. You can apply for an extension for a legitimate reason. Most often, there is no restriction on going back to your home country and coming back again during the validity period of the visa.

If your visit is short, you can apply for a B-1/B-2 waiver under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. You need to meet certain requirements for that, but it lasts for 90 days. Moreover, it can be converted to a B-1/B-2 visa later. However, you need to ensure that your country is applicable for this waiver program.

What Is Required To Apply For The B-1/B-2 Visa?

It is easy to apply for the B-1/B-2 visa. You may contact the embassy in your country for the application form, either in person or online. In addition, you have to present your qualification, as per the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for a US visa to a consular official. To prove your qualification, you need to produce proofs of the following:

  • Declaration of your purpose of visit as a business visit or recreational activity;
  • A specific period of time, for which you are planning to reside in the US;
  • A declaration that your visit and stay in the US is sufficiently funded and you can cover all your expenses; and
  • A declaration stating that you have a residence outside the US, and you are bound to return back at the end of the specified period of time.

After submission of your application, there is an interview requirement to obtain your visa.

For an application, you need to obtain the following documents:

  • A Non-Immigration visa application form, that is, DS-160 form, from the US Department of State Electronic Application Center website.
  • A passport that approves travel to the US Your passport is required to have a validity of 6 months prior to your US visit. Every US visitor must apply for their own individual visa.

What Does B-1/B-2 Visa Restrict You From? 

B1/B2 visas come with certain restrictions on what activities are allowed while you are in the US If you are going on a long-term basis for studies, work or other activity, you cannot opt for a B-1/B-2 visa. Students are not allowed to gain college credits for any conferences and seminars. Any kind of paid professional performances are not allowed for people under the visitor visas. For crew members onboard, B-1 may be applicable in some cases but you should check with INA to make sure it is applicable to your status. Additionally, you cannot be a part of journalism, print, and information media.

How to Apply For B-1/B-2 Visa?

The application process is simple. Most steps are generic to all other non-immigrant visa types.

  • You need to complete form DS-160 accurately and then book your interview appointment.
  • You need to submit the visa fee of US $160 through the available payment options. Keep your receipt number safely for use in additional paperwork.
  • If you are between 14 to 79 years of age and/or you have never previously received a US visa that expired in the past year and your new purpose of travel is different, you will have to appear for an interview at the consulate.

Using the same credentials as you used for the payment of visa fees, you can log on and schedule your photograph and fingerprint appointment. This appointment will take place at the Visa Application Center in your country and should be taken at least 24 hours prior to your interview date. You should carry your interview confirmation, completed application conformation, your passport and a photograph as required by the guidelines.

  • For your interview at the consulate, you must carry your current passport, the date of fee payment and the 10-digit alpha-numeric barcode from the DS-160 confirmation page.

You are required to carry your appointment confirmation letter, all old passports, and other supporting documents. These supporting documents might include current proof of income, tax payments, declaration of assets, travel itinerary, letter from any authority or employer (if any) in case of business visit, and any records of conviction against you, ever in the past.

For students, carry your latest transcripts, results and degree/diploma records, evidence of financial support like bank statements or fixed deposit slips are required.

Working adults and business visitors require proof of remuneration or recent pay slips and documents declaring the purpose of their visit. General visits to kith and kin require the proofs of details of the US resident family/individual you are visiting.

Original documents should be carried to avoid any issues with your visa process.

In the case of visit for medical care, the consular officer might require evidence of the nature of ailment and the reason of getting treatment in the US, length, and cost of treatment, from a local physician and a physician from the US stating his willingness to provide you with the medical facility. A statement declaring financial responsibility and being able to bear all living and medical expenses and the proof of before-mentioned capability need to be submitted in the form of bank statements, income tax return copies.

Children under the age of 14 should have their parents/guardians carry the above documents for the interview.

Do not provide any false information or documents. This is important to avoid fraud penalty or permanent visa ineligibility, if found guilty.


F1 Visa- US Visa For Students

The United States is the most sought-after destination for higher education. Apart from the various formalities of universities, the most important thing you need is your student visa.

As a student, your course might expect you to fulfill certain requirements that are possible with your student visa. You cannot travel to the US for the purpose of education through the Visa Waiver Program or the Visitor’s (B) visa.

Before applying for a student visa, it is necessary that you have been approved and accepted by the school or university where you wish to pursue your studies. This makes your application process easier because the educational institution shall provide most of the necessary documentation for your student visa application.

F-1 Visa

The F-1 visa is the most common type of non-immigrant student visa required to continue academic career in the United States at a reputable school, university, private secondary school, or an English language program. If your course of study is more than 18 hours a week, you need an F-1 visa.

However, if the purpose of the visit is non-academic or vocational study or practice, you might need to apply for a M-1 visa. The application process is similar to the F-1 visa and the only difference is that students under the M-1 visa are not allowed to enroll for any University program and are expected to return after one year of stay in the US.

However, the F-1 visa can’t be given to foreign students seeking to attend public rudimentary school (kindergarten to 8th grade) or a publicly financed adult training program. Moreover, if you are traveling for a short period of time, for recreational study that is not counted for credit towards any academic program or degree, you can use the visitor (B) visa.

What Is Required To Apply For The F-1 Visa?

The application process for the F-1 student visa not only requires your personal information and documents but also requires your prospective college or school to submit proof of your proposed education program. It is advisable to apply to Student and Exchange Visitor Program-approved schools in the United States.

  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application Form, commonly known as the DS-160 form is available online at the State Department’s website.
  • As per the rules for non-immigrants, you need to possess a passport that is accepted to be valid for travel to the US and has a validity of 6 months beyond the last day of your stay.
  • You need a 2 x 2 inches (51×51 mm) photograph 51 x 51 mm, taken within the last six months.
  • Your educational institution needs to sign and approve form I-20 to show their consent for your participation in their program.
  • Depending on your native country, the fee for your student visa can be found on the Department of State’s website.

What Does F-1 Visa Restrict You From?

While the F-1 visa is a one-stop solution for foreign students seeking admission to highly prestigious US universities and schools, the visa comes with its own obligations. The stay of a student attending a public secondary school (9th grade to 12 grade) is limited to a maximum of 12 months. The school must Lao acknowledge on the applicant’s form I-20 that they have paid the entire cost their education without any subsidies.

How To Apply For F-1 Visa?

The application process is similar to other non-immigrant visa application process’ (hyperlink to general application process)

What After You Get The F-1 Visa?

After obtaining your F-1 visa, you are eligible to complete your course and then go for practical training. This training is called Optional Practical Training (OPT) and is not included in your academic program. You apply for an OPT by presenting Form I-20.

You need to commence your studies within 5 on this of successfully receiving your F-1 visa/otherwise your visa will lose its status.

If you have a dependent (spouse/children) who intend to reside with you during your study, they will need to apply for non-immigrant F-2 or M-2 visas. For them, the educational institution will issue an individual Form I-20 for their visa application but there will be no extra fee.

Work Visa To The US

The US government grants approximately 85000 work visa usa applications every year. The type of your work visa will depend on the nature of your work. There are multiple work visas available, like H-1B for people having specialty occupation, H-1B1 for treaty-based work visas, H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers, H-2B for skilled and unskilled workers, H-3 for trainees, H-4 for dependents, L-1 for intracompany transferees, O for extraordinary achievers, P for entertainers, and Q for participants of international cultural exchange programs.

H-1b Visa

The H-1B visa is the non-immigrant visa that allows you to work in the US temporarily. If you are planning to visit the US for a pre-arranged professional job, you need to apply for the H-1B visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must hold a bachelor’s degree or any other higher qualification (or equivalent degree) in the specialty or field in which you seek employment.

Apart from this, your employer is required to submit a labor condition application to the Department of Labor providing the terms and conditions of your employment. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will decide if the purpose of your travel is specialty employment.

Mostly, the nonimmigrant H-1B visa applications require the employer to file a petition and get it approved by the USCIS before you apply for the visa. The petition is nothing but Form I-129 which must be approved by the US Embassy and then verified through the Department of State’s Petition Information Management Service while you attend the interview. However, the issuance of the petition does not ensure the visa grant.

What Is Required To Apply For The H-1B Visa?

Your application can be processed by the US Embassy, up to 90 days prior to the beginning of your employment. You can use the H1-B visa for entry in the US only 10 days prior to the beginning of the period mentioned on your approved I-797 form.

  • The H1-B application can be filled online. You will fill out form DS-160.
  • Your passport needs to be valid 6 months beyond the date of your last day in the US.
  • The form requires a 2 x 2 (51 mm) photograph taken within the last 6 months.
  • Your employer needs to send an I-797 form.
  • You should save your receipt number for future use.

Restrictions While On H1-B Visas

Being a non-immigration visa, the duration of the H-1B visa is 3 years at maximum. But, under certain valid and reasonable conditions, it can be extended until 6 years. However, your status as a non-immigrant remains and you should to look for options to apply for permanent residency for e.g. EB5  Investor Visa USA.

How To Apply For H-1B Visa?

The application process is similar to other non-immigrant visas. For the process details click here (hyperlink to general application process for non-immigrant visas).

What After You Get The H-1b Visa?

If applying for family members, the process is easier once you have received your own H1-B. Dependents are required to bring necessary documents showing proof of marriage or birth certificates for children under 21 years.

The H1-B visa allows you multiple entries into the US as long as your visa is valid. You are allowed to buy real estate and trade in the stock market too. Additionally, you are allowed to change employers while on H1-B, however, your new employer should file their petition for an alien employee before starting. Keep in mind, that the change in your visa status is required if the nature of your work changes because H1-B is given to employees with specialty in their fields.

Intracompany Transfers Visas: L-1A

L-1A visa is for you, if you wish to transfer intracompany.

The international company could be either a US or other foreign organization. For an L-1 visa, you should be at an administrative level, or have particular skills regarding the specific knowledge required, and be bound to a position inside the US company at any of these levels. It is important that you should have been working outside the US with the same company consistently for one year within the three years prior to your application for temporary immigration into the US.

Your employer is additionally required to submit a labor condition application at the Department of Labor and provide them the terms and conditions of your employment. USCIS will make the final decision if your field of work is “specialty” employment. You can apply for an L-1 visa after your US organization or institution has got an endorsed appeal from USCIS, either on a “blanket” or an individual basis.

In most cases, the non-immigrant visa applications require the employer to get an approved petition from the USCIS before you can apply for the visa. This petition is Form I-129 which must be approved by the US Embassy and then verified through the Department of State’s Petition Information Management Service while you attend the interview.

In case if you are a Canadian citizen, who is exempted from the L-1 visa requirement, you can submit the completed Form I-129S and supporting documentation to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at some specific ports-of-entry on the US-Canada land border or at a US pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station in Canada. This form has to be submitted with an application for admission to the US in L-1 status.

Application Requirements For L-1A Visas:

Your application can be processed by the US Embassy, up to 90 days prior to the beginning of your employment. You should know that you can use the L-1A visa for entry in the US only 10 days prior to the beginning of the period mentioned on your approved I-797 form. The application form for the L-1A visa can be found at the Department of State website. For other general requirements click here .

What Does L-1a Visa Restrict You From?

The L-1A visa is mainly for people having managerial status in their company. The components included in managerial or executive capacity range from overall decision-making regarding policies, goals, and procedures in the company, and daily management and operations of the subdivision as well as all the employees working there. Moreover, once under this visa, you need to enter the US while working for the same employer.

You cannot switch the employer under the L-1A visa. If you wish to change your company or start working for another employer, you first need to change the status of your visa.

How To Apply For L-1A Visa?

The application process is similar to other non-immigrant visas. For the process details click here (hyperlink to general application process for non-immigrant visas).

What After You Get The L-1a Visa?

The grant period of L-1A visa for new, start-up companies is 1 year, and it is and 3 years for established companies. The employees might get an extension of an L-1 visa for terms of 2 years for a period of 7 years.

Once you have an L-1A visa, you can apply for permanent residency in the US. This provision is possible only after you apply for a permanent resident card through the EB1 category.

You can ensure your dependents continue to stay with you in the US by applying for an L-2 visa for them.

Treaty Investor Visa To The US

Looking for business opportunities in the United States can be extremely fruitful in the long run. The strong economy, diverse investment, and trading options available, make it a favorable country for businessmen, entrepreneurs, and stock marketers.

The existing visitors’ visa for businesspersons is the B-1 visa. But it doesn’t have enough provisions for entrepreneurs and people who want to trade or do business in the US. Under the special non-immigrant visa for entrepreneurs, individuals from different countries can enter the US and work on any business they control while staying in the US.

E-2 Visa

 The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which enables foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and individuals to live and work in the US and develop their business. It allows the entry of executive, management and essential skilled employees. If you are a treaty investor who wishes to migrate to the US to invest a fair amount of capital in a US business or your own organization, you can apply for the E-2 visa. You can either develop your existing business or start a new business while working under this visa.

Treaty investors are investors from countries with which the US has an agreement with the subject matters of commerce and navigation. Thus, to be able to apply for the E-2 visa and visit the US to carry out commercial work, you need to ensure your country is listed under the E-2 visa acceptable countries list on the State Department’s website.

In some cases, the employees of certain organizations also are eligible to apply for this visa and not the H-1B work visa. This depends solely on the nature of the company and the work the employee is hired to perform.

If you are already working in the US as a treaty investor as a legal non-immigrant, you can file Form I-129 to change your existing visa to an E-2 visa. Your employer should do the same to change your visa status to E-2.

Requirements for E-2 Visas:

  • You should be a citizen of an eligible (hyperlink to list) E-2 country.
  • You should have invested or be in the process of investing a sufficient amount in bonafide enterprise in the U S. Such an enterprise could be a practical, working and operational commercial establishment that produces goods or services for a marginal profit, still having the capacity to produce more income.
  • Your intent to enter the US should be solely to expand and develop this enterprise.
  • You should have 50% managerial control over the enterprise.

US immigration officials carry out a proportionality test (between your investment and the total value of the business) to determine the substantiality of your investment. Thus, for businesses with low turnover, high investment accounts for high substantiality and vice-versa.

You can use the E-2 visa for entry in the US only 10 days prior to the beginning of the period mentioned on your approved I-797 form. The application process is similar to other non-immigrant visas. For the process details click here (hyperlink to general application process for non-immigrant visas).

What Does E-2 Visa Restrict You From?

As previously mentioned, E-2 visas are only for citizens of eligible (hyperlink) countries. Additionally, your business should be generating substantial profits, marginal profit-making businesses cannot be used for the E-2 application.

If you are an employee for a treaty investor, you are restricted to work only for the specific employer who acted as the sponsor for your E-2 visa. You cannot switch employers once you are on an E-2 visa in the US. You need to change the status of your visa for that.

It is important to note that you can still work for the company’s parent organization or its subsidiaries until the relationship between the subsidiaries is active and the subsidiary requires essential skills, or the terms and conditions of employment are the same.

What After You Get The E-2 Visa?

The initial stay period on an E-2 visa is two years. There is no restriction on the number of renewals for anE-2 visa. As long as your business meets the E-2 visa prerequisites, you can renew your visa and continue to work/stay in the US.

The E-2 visa must be renewed at regular intervals. It is prudent to renew your E-2 visa before your I-94 form lapses. By doing so, you will be able to work in the US for another 240 days before the renewal decision is taken. In case the application for renewal is submitted after the termination of your I-94 form, you shall be permitted to work for only 40 days before your renewal decision.

For the dependents (spouse, children, etc.) of people under the E-2 visa, there is no specific non-immigrant visa, however, a candidate’s life partner and kids (more than 21 years of age) can apply for subsidiary E-2 visas. The main necessity that is applicable for their visa application is that they belong to the same eligible country.

US Visa For Individuals With Achievement Or Extraordinary Ability

The US welcomes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capabilities in fields of art, science, business, education, and athletics. The disciplines of achievement/ability are not only confined to these fields but also include the picture and motion industry.

US offers Extraordinary Ability permanent resident cards (EB1-1) (hyperlink) to people who wish to secure permanent residency in the US but for temporary migrators, there are a few non-immigrant options.

O-1 Us Visa

The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for a person who has the unparalleled capacity in sciences, arts, education, business, or sports, or who has shown a record of remarkable accomplishment in the movie or media business and has been perceived broadly or globally for those accomplishments.

The O-1 visa is further categorized into two parts, depending upon the fields of expertise of the person.

  • The O-1A visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the field of science, -education, business, or athletics only.
  • The O-2A visa covers fields of arts, motion picture, and television industry. 

Moreover, if you have achieved distinguished awards or honors, your visa application could be filed under the O-1 category.  

You can establish your distinguished status in a field if you possess the following:

  • A well-renowned international honor, for example, a Nobel Prize or Olympic medal, an Oscar or Grammy
  • An outstanding honor that is broadly or globally recognized
  • Enrollment or lead role in a prestigious association identified with your field of expertise
  • Acknowledgments for your publications
  • Insightful articles composed for your field
  • Sitting as a judge or on a board of judges for your field
  • A lead and/or featured role in an outstanding organization in the field of art
  • Audits, reviews, publications, or different news that demonstrates your business achievement
  • Commanding a good remuneration
  • Acknowledgment for your accomplishments from respectable associations in your field
  • Other noteworthy commitments to your field

What Is Required To Apply For The O-1 Visa?

The application/extension process for an O-1 visa is simple. You need to have a US company or agent to sponsor your petition. The application can be filled either in person or online. Additionally, you to prove your qualifications under the INA to a US consular official. To prove your qualification, you need proofs of the following:

  • Declaration of your purpose to visit the US
  • Time-period for your visit
  • Declaration for sufficient funding for you US stay
  • Declaration that you have a residence outside the US and you will return to that residence at the end of your US stay
  • Statements and proofs of your exceptional abilities and awards

After this, you need to submit the application and go through an interview and other procedures to finally get your visa. Click here for the general application process for non-immigrant visas. 

Restrictions on O-1 Visas:

O-1 visas cannot be self-petitioned. You must be exceptional in your field to apply and your visit to the US must be related for work in that same field.

How to Apply For O-1 Visa?

Besides fulfilling the general requirements (hyperlink) for your O-1 application, you will need the following:

  • You need to obtain written advisory opinions from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in your area of expertise, as evidence of your work. If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in television or motion picture, the consultation must come from a management organization or appropriate labor union with experience and expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
  • The supporting documents required in the O-1 visa process might include a thorough explanation of the itinerary of the events or performances you are looking for in the US, thus establishing the period of stay you are applying for.
  • In case a US agent is performing the function of an employer, you need to declare the terms of the oral/written agreement between the agent and you, wages offered, itinerary details, etc. to the USCIS for approval of the petition.

What After You Get The O-1 Visa?

You can apply for an immigrant visa after securing an O-1 visa. Changing the status of a nonimmigrant O-1 visa to an immigrant EB1-1 (hyperlink) visa is hassle-free. You do not have to apply for a labor certification to change the status of an O-1 visa.

The initial duration of the O-1 visa is three years but it can be extended infinitely. For the extension, a valid reason for an extension has to be demonstrated to the USCIS.

If you are an O-1 visa holder, your dependents can join you on the travel to the US by applying for the O-3 non-immigrant visa of the same period of travel as yours. However, they will not be allowed to work in the US but might be allowed to study part-time or full-time.

K-1 Visa

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for the fiancé(e) of a US citizen or permanent resident. This visa allows the foreign citizen fiancé́(e) to travel to the US and marry their US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. 

It is important to note that the foreign citizen has to apply with the Department of Homeland Security and the USCIS for the change of status of citizenship after the marriage. Thus, the K-1 visa just acts as a mediator between the migration of the foreign citizen to the US and the change of citizenship. The eligible dependent (children) of K-1 visa holders need to apply for a K-2 visa.

Requirements for K-1 Visa:

Besides the general requirements found here (hyperlink), there are some additional requirements:

  • The US citizen sponsor needs to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with the USCIS office and wait for the approval.
  • Complete a medical examination before your interview. Regardless of your age, the medical examination has to be performed by a panel physician.
  • Occasionally, you may be requested to file Form I-134 or I-864 with the USCIS for certain requirements regarding financial support and adjustment of nationality status to that of a legal permanent resident (LPR) after the marriage.

Restrictions under K-1 Visas:

Once you have the K-1 visa and travel to the US to your fiancé(e), you need to get married within a period of 90 days and file with the USCIS for change of status of citizenship to LPR. This requirement should be followed strictly.

The petition is valid for 4 months from the date of approval by USCIS, but it can be extended if it expires while you are undergoing the visa process.

What After You Get The K-1 Visa?

When your K-1 visa is approved, you will receive a sealed packet from the consular office. It contains your civil rights document and your passport. Do not open the sealed packet. The DHS officials will open the packet once you reach the US port of arrival.

You can apply for work authorization when you apply for the LPR adjustment of status. The work permit granted by the USCIS is called the Employment Authorization Document. Be mindful that this takes 45 to 90 days for this document to process and till then you might lose your fiancé(e) status.

If you miss the 90-day period, you should apply for an extension for your stay to remain legal. adjustment of status your stay in the US becomes illegal. It is advisable that you stay in the US and get married as soon as possible even if you miss the 90-day period.  This is so because going through legal proceedings regarding your status is easier on US soil than filing a petition for return to US soil.