If you wish to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, a non-immigrant visa permits you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security to visit for a specific purpose – work, schooling, a conference, etc., or to visit the country, friends or family.
A non-immigrant visa differs from an immigrant visa in that the non-immigrant visa only allows a person to enter temporarily, whereas an immigrant visa [link to immigrant visa page] holder can enter and stay permanently.
The length of time someone can stay in the U.S. depends on the visa status under which they are admitted (for example, specialty occupation). And a person admitted in one status can often change their status in order to stay longer or to perform different activities. For instance, a medical school student may want to change his or her status to an employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa once they graduate and find employment (assuming their new employer will sponsor them). Several types of non-immigrant visas also allow a person to extend their status and thereby extend their stay in the U.S.
The process can sometimes be confusing and complicated. Our firm can make it much easier, determining the visa category that is right for you and assisting you with changing status from your current category to the new category. In appropriate cases, we can also obtain legal status and work authorization for your dependent family members.