A visa application is one of the first steps an individual takes when immigrating to the United States. Whether their intention is to permanently relocate to the United States or simply to visit for a short time, they will need a visa.
There are many different types of visas and visa applications. These include:
- Family-based petition visas;
- Employment-based visas;
- Permanent visas, and
- Student visas.
What are Some Requirements in a Visa Application?
When an individual is submitting a visa application, they will be asked to answer many questions. They will also be required to submit proof for any claims they may be making. Some information and documents an individual may be required to provide when applying for a visa include:
- An official photo ID;
- Travel documents, such as a valid passport, if available;
- A birth certificate;
- Proof of residence within the past five years;
- Employment-related documents;
- Bank account statements and proof of financial capability;
- Medical records;
- Various processing fees; and
- Other requirements that may be specific to each individual case.
There are many subcategories of temporary visas. Each has its own set of requirements based on the nature of the visa for which the individual is applying.
For example, an individual that is applying for a student visa will be required to provide proof of their acceptance and cooperation with the sponsoring educational institution. Similarly, employment-based visas will typically require proof of employment or an alien labor certification.
What are Some Tips for Handling a Visa Application?
Some tips that may help an individual when handling a visa application include:
- Only use the official forms because immigration officials will not accept non-standard forms;
- Do not leave anything out that is requested or required;
- Do not submit more than is requested;
- Provide exactly what is being asked, nothing more, nothing less; and
- Ask for help if necessary, an individual should not try to figure out the process on their own. If needed, hire an attorney for assistance.
For further information, certain visa applications will be discussed below.
What Types of Visas are There?
There are many types of visas available to individuals who wish to visit the United States or reside there permanently. An entry visa is one of the many types of visas that are issued to foreign nationals in order for them to enter the United States legally.
The type of visa an individual applies for will be determined by how long they intend to remain in the United States and for what purpose. A visa may be obtained, for example, for the following reasons:
- For business travel;
- For tourist travel;
- To attend a United States academic institution as a student; or
- To marry a United States citizen.
The length of time an individual intends to remain in the U.S. is important. If an individual wishes to travel to the U.S. as part of a visa waiver exchange with the U.S., they may visit for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Countries that are a part of this exchange include:
- Japan; and
- Many European countries.
It is important to note that there is a difference between a visitor visa and an immigration visa. An immigration visa is for individuals who are staying in the United States long-term in order to gain citizenship.
What is a Multiple Entry Visa?
A multiple entry visa is a specific type of visa that permits the visa holder to enter the United States multiple times in a certain time frame. For example, an individual who holds a multiple entry visa may be permitted to enter the U.S., return back to their home country, and re-enter the U.S. multiple times.
Multiple entry visas are usually valid for a specific period of time. This time period is known as the validity period. It may range anywhere from 6 to 12 months and usually has a maximum of 24 months. During the validity period, the visa holder may enter, leave, and re-enter the U.S., subject to various restrictions on their travel.
What are the Differences Between Multiple Entry Visas, Re-Entry Visas, and Single Entry Visas?
It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between a multiple entry visa, re-entry permits, and single entry visas. A multiple entry visa is different from a re-entry permit. A re-entry permit may be valid for only one instance of re-entry after an individual has left the U.S. for a short period of time.
A multiple entry visa, in contrast, allows an individual to re-enter the U.S. more than once. It also allows them to remain outside of the U.S. for longer periods of time. In some cases, an individual may re-enter as many times as they wish.
A single entry visa is typically issued to a traveler who plans to make one trip to a particular destination. This is different from an applicant for a multiple entry visa, who may plan to visit the same country multiple times over a specific period of time.
What are the Requirements for Obtaining a Multiple Entry Visa?
Each country establishes their own requirements that must be met by applicants who request multiple entry visas. Multiple entry visas are classified by the purpose for which the individual is visiting the United States temporarily.
For example, tourist visas, work-related visas, etc., can be issued as multiple-entry visas. Therefore, the applicant would be required to fulfill the basic requirements for that specific temporary visa category in order to receive multiple-entry status.
Additionally, multiple-entry visas are subject to unique restrictions and requirements, which may include:
- Time gaps between visits;
- A maximum allowed time for each stay; and
- A good record.
Depending on the applicant’s country of origin, they may be required to wait a certain time period between each re-entry. For example, multiple-entry visas for individuals who are coming from India require a gap of two months between each instance of re-entry. In some circumstances, this waiting period may be waived.
Again, depending on the applicant’s country of origin, there may be a maximum time limit that the individual may stay for each entry. For example, an individual traveling from China may stay in the United States for a minimum of 30 days for each entry period. The maximum time an individual from Brazil can stay is 90 days.
In addition to the standard eligibility requirements for a temporary visa, a multiple-entry visa is usually only issued to an applicant who has a good record with the immigration authorities. A good record includes:
- No criminal history;
- A good track record from previous entries; and
- No history of removal or deportation.
The specific details for each multiple-entry visa depends on many factors including the applicant’s country of origins and their overall immigration record. The requirements for eligibility may also change every year because many types of visas are subject to quotas, which fluctuate every year.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Visa Application?
Yes, it is essential to hire an experienced immigration lawyer for help with your visa application. Visa applications often involve many details, documents, and requirements. It is in your best interest to expedite the process by hiring an attorney to help you.
Your attorney can review your application to ensure it is complete and on time. An incomplete application or an application that is not submitted in a timely manner may hinder an individual’s chances of obtaining their visa. Additionally, your attorney can represent you if you are required to appear before a panel or before a judge.