There are two primary types of visas an immigrant may apply for. Immigrant visas are for those seeking permanent resident status, and nonimmigrant visas are for those who seek to reside in the U.S. on a temporary basis. While there are usually no limits on the number of temporary visas that may be issued, the number of immigrant visas is strictly limited by type and by country of the applicant’s origin, so it is important for those applying to follow application procedures correctly.

If you need help applying for a visa in San Diego, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced attorneys at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC. We are dedicated to making this process go as smoothly as possible and we hope to address any concerns you may have about this process.

Requirements for Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa

A resident of another country who wants to live in the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose typically qualifies for a nonimmigrant visa. People who fit into this category include those visiting for business or vacation, students, temporary workers, foreign government officials, religious workers, and individuals engaged to be married to U.S. citizens.

In most cases, those traveling on a nonimmigrant visa may be joined by spouses and minor children. The purpose for entering the U.S. determines the type of visa for which someone applies. The requirements vary depending on the type of visa.

For instance, those seeking a visa to serve as temporary agricultural workers must have an employer with a foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and then must have their application approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By contrast, those coming to the U.S. as tourists, journalists, or athletes do not require special approval by a government agency before applying for a visa.

Requirements for Applying for an Immigrant Visa

Immigrant visas may be granted on a number of different grounds, but the most common means through which an applicant can obtain a visa are based on family connections or employment. Just as with temporary visas, the requirements vary depending on the type of immigration visa sought.

Most visas require an immigrant to obtain a sponsor which is usually a family member or employer, and employers generally need to have labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Those seeking a visa based on family connection receive preference if they are immediate family members of a citizen (spouses, minor children or parents). Close family members of a citizen or immediate family members of a legal permanent resident may also obtain a visa, but the number of visas granted in these categories are limited.

The Process of Applying for an Immigrant Visa

Applying for a visa in San Diego is handled differently depending on the type of visa sought, so it is helpful obtain guidance from an experienced immigration attorney. For a family-based immigrant visa, the first step is for the citizen to file a Petition for Alien Relative with the USCIS.

Once USCIS has approved the petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center and assigned a case number. The applicant is then required to fill out additional forms and pay the appropriate fees, including fees for required medical exams and vaccinations.

Then the applicant must submit the required documentation such as an Affidavit of Support from the sponsor, passport, medical exam forms and other documents. When the file is complete, it is sent to a U.S. embassy or consulate where the immigrant will be interviewed and fingerprinted. If all requirements are met and the interview is satisfactory, a visa should be granted.

Contact a San Diego Attorney When Applying for a Visa

Applying for a visa in San Diego can be confusing and mistakes can delay or prevent approval. Those contemplating the process are advised to consult a lawyer who could explain the process, ensure that requirements are fulfilled, and work to get the application is approved as quickly as possible. For help with your application, call today.