There are many ways a noncitizen can come to America, both temporarily and permanently. If you are interested in coming to America, contact an experienced immigration attorney.
The following are ways to visit the United States temporarily. For these visas, you must enter the United States with the intention of leaving when your visa expires, but you can obtain another temporary or permanent visa in the future if your plans change.
Visitor for Business (B-1) or Pleasure (B-2) – a B visa is for a short term visit for business or pleasure. Business activities can include training or negotiating a deal; as long as no work is being done that is paid from the U.S. A B-2 visa is available for tourists, people visiting family, and people seeking medical treatment.
Student Visa (F-1) – you must be accepted and enrolled in an American university and be able to pay for your education. The visa lasts as long as you are in school. If you graduate, you can work for 12 months in the United States afterwards, 29 if your degree is in science, technology, engineering or math.
Skilled work permit (H-1B) – A person with a 4 year college degree (or an equivalent experience level) can be sponsored by an employer for an H-1B visa. There is a limit of 85,000 H-1B visas per year, although certain visas are exempt from the cap. An H-1B visa lasts for 3 years with one possible extension of another 3 years.
Temporary Investment Visa (E-2) – Citizens from certain countries can get a temporary visa if they make a qualifying investment in an American business. Unlike the EB-5 visa, there is no minimum investment, as long as the applicant invests enough money for the business to reasonably operate. An E-2 visa is good for two years, with no limit of extensions.
Permanent visa options are for certain family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, people with certain job skills, and asylees and refugees.
Spouses, parents, and young children of U.S. citizens can apply for Green Cards without a quota or backlog. Spouses and children of Green Card holders, along with older children, brothers, and sisters of U.S. Citizens can apply for Green Cards, but there is a backlog.
People with college degrees or advanced skills and a job offer can apply for employment based Green Cards. The difficulty and waiting times for employment based Green Cards depend on the level of skills and expertise of the worker.
People who invest $1 million ($500,000 in some areas) and create 10 U.S. jobs can apply for a Green Card under the EB-5 visa program.
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