If you are not a US citizen or resident and wish to enter the United States, you will be required to apply for a visa. Prior to your visit. To discover the process which you'll need to undertake to have a visa application approved and the different types of visas which you may be eligible to apply for, simply continue reading.

Overview To US Visas

The Two Key Types Of Visas That You Can Apply For In The United States

The two main types of visas that you can apply for are immigrant visas which are better known as green cards and non-immigrant visas which will allow you to live, work or study in the United States for a fixed period of time.

Do You Need A Visa To Visit The US As A Tourist?

If you are a foreign national and resident, you'll need to apply for a tourist visa such as the B-2 tourist visa or an ESTA visa. The B-2 tourist visa is one of the easiest visas to obtain and will allow you to travel to the United States for short vacations, for a 10 year period. Just be mindful that you can only stay in the United States for up to 180 days per visit.

If you are a foreign national of a country on the United State's visa waiver list, you'll be able to visit the United States without applying for a B-2 visa. Instead, you can obtain an ESTA visa, which will allow you to take vacations in the United States, up to 90 days in length. An ESTA visa is easier to apply for and does not require visiting a US embassy or consulate for an interview.

Do You Need A Visa To Visit The United States For Business Purposes?

Yes, if you plan to visit the United States for business purposes such as business negotiations or an industry conference, you will need to apply for a B-1 visa. If you are a business owner, attach evidence that you own your business to your application, while if you're an employee obtain a letter from your employer, stating the purpose of your business trip. That you'll be able to upload with your B-1 application.

Do You Need A Visa To Study In The United States?

Austin TX Visa LawyerYes, there are two different student visas that you may be interested in applying for, the F-1 visa and the M-1 visa. Most prospective students choose to apply for an F-1 visa, which will allow them to study at a US high school, college, English school, or registered educational institution. If you plan to study at a US high school, you'll need to apply for an F-1 visa. However, if you are seeking to study at a private high school, you'll be able to stay in the United States for over 12 months, whereas if you choose to study at a public high school, you'll need to return home within a year of stepping foot in the country. You'll only need to petition for an M-1 visa if you want to register for a spot in a non-academic program in the United States.

How To Get A Visa To Work In The United States On A Fixed-Term Contract?

If you have been offered a temporary position in the United States, your potential new employer can apply for a temporary work permit for you, which will allow you to live and work in the United States for a fixed time period. If your employer wants to retain you as an employee in the long term, they can then apply for an employer-sponsored green card for you, so that you'll be able to remain in the United States. Remember that you won't be able to apply for a work visa until you've had a serious job offer and your employer must apply for your visa for you on your behalf. You will not be permitted to apply for a visa yourself.

How To Obtain A Green Card In Order To Permanently Reside In The US?

The main ways to obtain a green card are to petition for a green card as an immediate family member of a US citizen or resident, to win a green card through the annual diversity lottery, or to have a new employer petition for a green card for you on your behalf. You can also apply for a residency visa if you are a refugee who has suffered persecution and is looking to find a new, safe country to call home. Lastly, if you invest a million dollars into a US business, you will be able to petition for residency as an investment.

Are You Eligible To Petition For A Green Card Through A Family Member

If you're curious about whether you're eligible to apply for a green card through a family member, which happens to be the most direct route, you need to have a sibling, parent, child, spouse or fiance, in order to petition for a family-sponsored green card. For your visa to be approved, your sponsor will also need to prove that they can afford to look after you, upon your arrival to the United States. So keep this in mind, before you choose to apply for a family-sponsored visa through the USCIS.

Applying For A Green Card Through The USCIS

If you don't plan on applying for a work-sponsored green card, you'll be able to submit your visa application package through the USCIS website. You'll need to set up an account with the USCIS and to upload any supplementary evidence which may support your application package along with your completed forms. Once you've submitted your application package, you'll be able to keep up to date with the processing of your application through your USCIS account.


So whether you want to enter the United States on a temporary basis or you're interested in applying for a green card, which is the first step towards US citizenship, it's well worth using the tips listed above to choose a visa to apply for.

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