A Visa is an official endorsement, obtained from a U.S. consulate abroad, certifying that the foreign national has been examined and is permitted to proceed for purposes of seeking admission to the United States at a port of entry. There are two types of Visas, an Immigrant Visa and a Non-immigrant Visa. Each type of visa has its own conditions and requirements which must be met prior to and after admission to the United States. In specific situations, a foreign national can be issued a non-immigrant or immigrant visa while in the United States. However, the procedures and eligibility for a specific visa vary and may be difficult to understand.
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It is important to keep in mind that a Visa does not guarantee the foreign national the right to enter the United States, it merely permits the foreign national’s attempt to seek admission at a port of entry. A common misconception is that a non-immigrant visa holder can stay in the United States for the duration of the validity period of the visa. However, the Form I-94 issued at the port of entry by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer will determine how long a foreign national may remain in the United States.
There are many forms of non-immigrant visas available to a foreign national such as:
•A1/A2; Ambassador, public minister, or career diplomat.
•B1/B2; Temporary Visitor to the United States for Business or Pleasure.
•E1/E2; Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor.
•F1/F2; Student Visa.
•H-1b/H-2b; Temporary worker in a field of specialized knowledge.