Legal Help To Obtain Temporary Visas

Our Legal Team

Steven L. Tuchman
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Thomas R. Ruge
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Robert W. Rund
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Sarah Moshe

Sarah Burrow
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Dallin Lykins

Dallin Lykins
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Temporary visas are used for many different purposes and the validity period may range from days to years. Temporary visas may be granted to the principal applicant as well as to his or her spouse and minor children.

The process for obtaining temporary visas (also called "non-immigrant visas") can be undertaken in the U.S. or at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. To change status to a temporary visa status while remaining in the U.S., the foreign national must be in lawful status at the time of the application and must meet other requirements. Processing abroad requires complying with the procedures at the particular consulate or Embassy.

Some temporary visas require a two step process that begins with a petition in the U.S. by a sponsor (e.g. an employer for an H-1B or L visa) which is approved before the applicant applies for the visa abroad. In all cases (except the visa waiver program) a non-immigrant who wishes to enter the U.S. in a particular temporary visa status must have a valid passport with a current and valid visa stamp in the passport. Also, in order to enter the U.S. on a temporary visa, the foreign national must not be inadmissible by reason of past immigration violations, criminal convictions, national security risk, or posing a public health risk. In some cases these problems can be "waived" which requires a separate application.

The different temporary visa categories are classified by letters which do not necessarily carry any significant meaning. Below is a list and general description of temporary visas:

  • A: Diplomatic employees of another country's government and their households
  • B: Business visitors or tourists (one of the most common temporary visas). All B visa holders must not derive income from a U.S. employer for activities in the U.S. and all must demonstrate the intent to return home at the end of the temporary stay.
  • C: Passengers passing through at an airport or seaport and crew of airlines and ships.
  • D: Previously assigned for crew members (but eliminated in June 2004)
  • E: Investors or persons engaged in international commerce. These visas are based on treaties between the U.S. and the non-citizen's home country. Extensive documentation of the business operations is required.
  • F: Students. Students must be admitted to a specific school, college or university which must be certified in the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) program. In most cases a designated school official provides the necessary preliminary approval that permits the prospective student to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy.
  • G: Employees of international organizations, such as International Red Cross
  • H: Professionals, nurses, temporary/seasonal workers, and certain trainees (one of the most common temporary visas). A sponsoring employer that is willing to make specific promises to the U.S. government is required. The credentials of the foreign national and the requirements for the job must match.
  • I: Representatives of international media
  • J: Exchange visitors, such as students, graduate medical trainees, professors and researchers, short-term scholars, camp counselors. There are SEVIS requirements similar to the F visa (above).
  • K: Fiancés, fiancées, spouses of U.S. citizens married abroad
  • L: Certain employees of international companies in a managerial or executive position. Employment abroad for the U.S. Company or an affiliated company in a managerial or executive capacity is required. There is a sub-category for employees who have "specialized knowledge" instead of being managers or executives.
  • M: Language and vocational students
  • N: NATO employees
  • O: Persons with extraordinary skills that are recognized nationally or internationally
  • P: Athletes, entertainment groups
  • Q: Cultural exchange visitors
  • R: Religious workers, such as Rabbis and Priests or employees of religious organizations in a professional capacity.
  • S: Criminal informants
  • T: Victims of international trafficking in persons
  • TN: Certain professionals from Canada, Mexico
  • U: Victims of crimes
  • V: Spouses and minor children of permanent residents who are awaiting green cards

Visa Waiver Pilot Project: Nationals of certain countries can enter the U.S. without a visa. A passport is required and the foreign national completes a form (often distributed on the plane while in route). With some exceptions (notably, certain spouses of U.S. citizens), someone who entered the U.S. on Visa Waiver cannot change or adjust to another visa status while remaining in the U.S..

Our experienced immigration attorneys can help determine which temporary visa classification best suits your needs and goals and craft the application to ensure the highest chance of success. In addition to preparing the applications and petitions initially, we have experience in processing at consular offices and embassies all over the world and in responding to Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny. Our immigration team has successfully acquired visas in almost all the categories listed above.