Applying for a Visa in Birmingham
If you are a foreign national who wishes to enter the United States, you should remember that you likely need a visa. The U.S. issues various forms of visas, all serving different purposes.
The application process can be complicated, confusing, and time-consuming. The best-case scenario if you make a mistake is that you will have to resubmit your application and suffer a potentially lengthy delay. The worst-case scenario is that your mistake will disqualify you from entry into the U.S.
If you are applying for a visa in Birmingham, you should discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable team member. An experienced visa attorney could advise you about the right visa for your needs and help you complete your application to avoid preventable errors.
Some visas allow the holder to apply for a Green Card, which is the first step toward U.S. citizenship. These immigration visas usually require an employer or a family member to sponsor the applicant. The U.S. limits the number of immigration visas it issues in some categories, but there is no limit on other categories.
U.S. citizens can sponsor their parents, spouse, and unmarried children under 21 for an Immediate Relative Visa. The U.S. does not limit the number of these visas it issues every year. U.S. citizens also could sponsor their siblings and older or married children, but these visas come under the Family Preference category, and the government limits how many of these they issue annually.
People with Legal Permanent Resident status (also known as green card holders) can sponsor their spouse and unmarried children under 21 for a Family Preference visa. Because the U.S. caps the number of visas it issues in this category, a family member could wait several years before receiving a visa.
Sometimes an employer can sponsor an applicant for an immigration visa. To do this, the employer usually must demonstrate that they cannot find a qualified U.S. citizen to accept the job and that they are offering compensation that is in line with the prevailing wage. This demonstration might not be necessary if the applicant has specialized knowledge or qualifications.
The U.S. limits the number of employer-sponsored immigration visas it issues and wait times for these permits can be significant. However, in some cases, an employer could pay an additional fee to expedite the processing time. A Birmingham attorney could explain whether this option is available in a specific visa case.
Meanwhile, multiple categories of visas exist for people who wish to enter the U.S. without an intention to remain. These permits are valid for a limited time, and an individual must leave the country before their visa expires.
A Birmingham attorney could help someone apply to extend their visa if necessary. People who overstay their visas might not receive U.S. visas in the future.
Student/Cultural Exchange Visas
Students who have gained admission to a recognized program of higher education or people accepted for participation in a State Department-approved cultural exchange program can apply for a student visa. The school or program must send the student a form after acceptance, and the applicant must submit that form with their visa application.
Temporary Work Visas
Many industries in the United States face chronic worker shortages. These range from professions like nursing to positions in tourism, agriculture, and fishing. Many of these jobs are seasonal.
Employers can apply to hire foreign workers to fill these positions. In most cases, they must get a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that they cannot find enough U.S. citizens to fill their needs for workers.
Finally, people with unique or special talents or skills, like writers, performers, professors, and athletes, also could receive a temporary visa to engage in their vocation. A Birmingham attorney could help this category of foreign national determine whether they can apply for the visa they need.
Seek Counsel from a Birmingham Immigration Attorney
The visa application process is complex and time-consuming. Seeking help from an attorney could relieve some of the stress and ensure your application is accurate and complete.
It is beneficial to speak with a local immigration lawyer before applying for a visa in Birmingham. Reach out today to discuss your case with a knowledgeable legal team member.