The Immigration Process: Keys to Successfully Entering the U.S.

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If you’re planning to migrate to the United States, that’s wonderful. But are you aware of the necessary immigration process? Do you know the types of visas you can apply for before you move to the USA? If not, we are here to assist you every step of the way. We will help you know the immigration process and visa types like family, work, student, and humanitarian visas so you can select the best fit for your immigration needs.

Typically, there are two categories of visas; immigrant and non-immigrant. An immigrant visa stands for one that allows you to live in the USA permanently. Such a visa is known as a permanent visa (Green card).

Whereas non-immigrant visas will enable you to live in the USA temporarily for some years. Such visas are known as temporary visas. Not everyone can get permanent visas, so they refer instead to temporary visas for the purpose of study, work, or visit. Let’s take a closer look.

Types of USA Immigration Visas

There are various types of immigration visas that you can refer to according to your preferences. We have compiled a list below for your quick reference.

Temporary work Visa

If you want to work in the USA, you can obtain a work visa for a short-term period and stay there. You can apply for various work visas, including an H-1B, H1-B1, H2-B, H-3, L-1, type O visa, type P visa, etc.

H-1B: It is given to those who qualify under specialty occupation. H-1B visa applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to that and an offer letter from a US employer.

H1-B1: The H1-B1 visa is given to Chilean and Singaporean citizens who wish to temporarily work in the US in specialty jobs.

H2-B: Through an H2-B visa, US employers hire immigrants who wish to work in agrarian jobs temporarily.

L-1: L-1 visa is applicable to those who work in an international firm, and now the firm wants to transfer employees to the USA temporarily.

Type P visa: Type P is given to athletes, entertainment artists, and their support staff who wish to organize events and concerts in the USA for short-term periods.

Student Visa

If you are a student and want to pursue a course in the USA, you can do so by getting a US student visa. Before applying for the student visa, you must secure admission to US colleges certified by SEVP. You can either apply for an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.

F-1 visa: F-1 visa is given to those students who look forward to enrolling in academic courses in US colleges and meet specific eligibility requirements.

M-1 visa: M-1 visa is given to those who wish to pursue non-academic or vocational courses at US colleges.

Business/Tourist Visa

You can apply for a business/tourist visa to travel to the USA for business meetings, corporate events, social events, honeymoons, etc. You can apply either for B-1 or B-2 visa.

B-1 visa: B-1 visa is given to those who travel to the USA to attend business meetings, corporate events, etc.

B-2 visa: B-2 visa is given to those who visit the USA for a specific purpose like social events, honeymoons, etc.

Humanitarian Visa

You can apply for a humanitarian visa to see your unwell family members, attend the funerals of loved ones, seek medical assistance, etc. You can also apply for an Asylum visa to get asylum. Since the visa is given on humanitarian parole, you can not appeal if USCIS rejects your application. USCIS generally takes 60-120 days to decide about a humanitarian visa.

How to do the visa process?

The visa process depends on the type of visa you are applying for. Given here is a broad outline of the visa. Make sure you check the USCIS site for detailed (and latest) information about the visa you choose to apply for.

After you decide on the type of visa you want, you can proceed with the visa process. Your sponsor living in the US must file form I-130 to start the petition on your behalf. For work visas like H-1B, US employers must file form I-140 on your behalf. While most immigrant visas are filed within the US, there are some other visas that you can apply for outside the US as well.

Once the petition is filed and approved by USCIS, it goes to the National visa center (NVC). The NVC creates a case for you in the system, and once it is complete, you receive a welcome letter via email/physical mail. With the information shared by mail, you can log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to check your status and manage your case. Next, you must pay your fees by logging through CEAC to proceed with the application.

Now form I-864 needs to be filled by the individual who takes the financial responsibility for the applicants willing to live in the US. Once it is done, the sponsor must attach the supporting financial documents.

After the fee is paid and CEAC updates the status, the applicant can complete the form DS-260. Next, gather the civil documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, photocopy of a valid passport, etc.) to support your visa application. Please note that the document you submit must be issued by the official issuing authority. If you include any documents that are not in English, you must get them translated by an authorized competent translator. Next, scan, save, and submit all the documents. Do not send documents via mail unless you are specifically told to do so.

After your interview is scheduled, NVC will send an email/notification to you, the petitioner, and the attorney (if applicable) mentioning the date and time for the interview. Carry all the documents (appointment letter, passport, DS-260 confirmation page, civil documents) you submitted to NCV and photographs during the interview.

US visa processing times

Visa processing times may vary depending on the visa type you seek. It varies from work visa to student visa to family-based visa. The other crucial factor includes workload and staff designated to process your application. As discussed above, USCIS approves the petition first and then sends NVC to review your case to ensure you have provided the essential details and documents to schedule your interview at the embassy or consulate. This whole process may take several months, depending on the multiple factors ( application type, staff & workload).

Concluding Thoughts

You can choose the type of visa depending on your intention to stay in the USA. You can opt for a work visa, student visa, family-based visa, or humanitarian visa to suit your immigration needs. The US immigration landscape is a complex maze of policies and forms. It is advisable to seek help if you are planning to apply for a US visa. For more help with the visa process or immigration requirements, contact our immigration experts or enquire at

About Imagility

Imagility is an innovative immigration software that helps individuals, petitioners, and attorneys to build a compelling visa story while showcasing the vital points that need additional attention. The platform’s AI and ML capabilities automate the whole process, thus diminishing the chances of errors and creating effective petitions. Imagility covers a range of employment & family-based petitions, as well as humanitarian visas and naturalization visas.

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