NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

Nonimmigrant Visas, unlike Immigrant visas, are for persons who wish to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose, e.g. to visit or to work in the United States for a specific employer, or to engage in a specific kind of business. Visitors can stay in the United States on Non Immigrant visas up to a maximum of 1 year. Whereas holders of non immigrant work visas can stay up to 7 years in certain visa categories and in the case of E Visa holders, indefinitely.

Proof of Non Immigrant Intent:
For most Non Immigrant Visas, it must be shown to the Consular Officer at a United States Consulate or Embassy abroad that the applicant indeed has non immigrant intent and will depart the United States after their stay. If the Consular Officer feels that the applicant has immigrant intent, the non immigrant visa application will be denied.

Requirement of a Passport:
Non Immigrant Visa applicants have to have at least 6 months validity in their passports beyond their time of anticipated stay.

Overstay and Visa Violations:
If the applicant for an extension of a non immigrant visa has previously overstayed her visa or committed visa violations in the past, the applicant cannot obtain an extension while in the US but must apply for a new visa from a US Consulate or Embassy in her home country. Under the present law, if an applicant has overstayed in the past for more than 180 days, the applicant is banned from any United States Visa for 3 years and if 360 days, then for 10 years.

Procedure:
A Visa application can be made either at a US consulate or embassy or if it is an application for change of status while in the United States, through the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the United States.

Point to Note:
The issuance of a visa at the United States Consulate or Embassy abroad is no guarantee that the visa holder will be granted admission into the United States. The final authority on whether the visa holder is allowed admission into the United States is the United States Immigration Officer at a port of entry in the United States, who can deny entry in spite of the visa.

Change of Status while in the United States:
The unique aspect of United States immigration policy is that it permits, in most visa cases, a change of status from one visa category into another without leaving the United States. For example, a person holding a visitor visa status may if he finds a professional job in the United States, apply to change his visitor visa status to that of a work visa.

US Immigration policy:
US Immigration policy has always been to invite foreigners into the United States with skills who can contribute to the growth and advancement of the United States economy. It is this far sighted policy of the United States government towards foreign talent that continues to make the United States the most sought after country in the world to go to.