A visa is a permit that allows an alien to apply for admission to the US at the border and it bears the form of a stamp on the alien's passport. A valid status means that an alien is authorized by the USCIS to stay in the US for an authorized period of time. When an alien enters the US via a valid non-immigrant visa, he/she is usually given an I-94 card, which states the validity period of the alien's non-immigrant status in the US. Generally, the USCIS officer will attach the I-94 card in the alien's passport.
The Law Office of Marcel Marcel is able to file a change of status or extension of status application on behalf of the qualified applicant, who is legally staying in the US. Our experienced attorney(s) will first evaluate your situation and assist you in determining which status you may be able to apply for. If the case is doable, we will be glad to take your case.
A visa to the U.S. is a document that gives a non-U.S. citizen or non-permanent resident an opportunity to apply for admission into the United States for a designated purpose.
What is a Non-immigrant Visa?
Generally speaking, to obtain entry into the United States, an alien must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. U.S. consular officers will review an alien's visa application and decide whether to issue a visa to the alien. U.S. consular officers have a wide range of discretion with regards to approving or denying a visa application; a denial could be for any reason or no reason at all. If the Consular Officer grants a visa to the alien, then the applicant will have an allotted time frame, depending on the type of visa issued, to go to a U.S. port of entry and apply for admission into the U.S. A U.S. port of entry is located either at the border of the United States or at a U.S. international airport. At the port of entry, the alien applies for admission into the U.S. with an officer of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Although an alien may possess a valid visa, the border officer can deny the alien’s application for admission to the U.S.
Who needs a Non-immigrant Visa?
As a general rule, an alien who wants to travel to the United States as a nonimmigrant needs a nonimmigrant visa. For some non-immigrant visa categories, an alien can obtain the visa directly from a U.S. consulate or embassy without having to first apply with, and receive approval from, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) For other non-immigrant visa categories, an alien has to obtain approval from the USCIS prior to applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate. In those instances, one must be ready to produce evidence of USCIS approval to a U.S. embassy or consulate.
The following are categories of nonimmigrants seeking entry into the United States who do not need a visa for admission.
1. A Canadian non-immigrant: Canadian citizens, and Canadian residents who are citizens of another Commonwealth nation, are exempt from the visa requirement for the purposes of tourism, limited business activity, and work activity under certain provisions of NAFTA.
2. Visa Waiver Pilot Program: This is a special program allowing nonimmigrants from designated countries to enter the United States for the purposes of tourism and short-term business.
3. Visit of an alien, who is in a valid legal status in the U.S. to Canada or Mexico: A visa is not needed for entry into the United States from Canada or Mexico if:
A. The alien had a valid non-immigrant legal status in the U.S., such as B-1, F-1, or H-1, before leaving the U.S. and going to Canada or Mexico.
B. The alien left the U.S. for Canada or Mexico, and came back to the U.S. within thirty days. Note: In actuality, this is not an exception to the visa requirement but is considered an extension of the alien's expired visa.