Non-employment Based Categories for Nonimmigrant Visa Change of Status in the U.S.:
If you wish to change your status to one of the following nonimmigrant categories, you will need to apply to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status:
A (Diplomatic and Other Government Officials, Immediate Family members, and Employees)
B-1 and B-2 (Visitors for Business or Pleasure)
E (Treaty Traders and Investors dependents)
F (Academic Students and dependents)
G (Foreign Government Officials and Certain Immediate Family members)
H-4 (Temporary Worker dependents)
L-2 (Intra-company Transferee dependents)
M (Vocational and Language Students and dependents)
N (Parents and Children of Certain People Who Have Been Granted Special Immigrant Status)
NATO (NATO Representatives, Officials, Employees, and Immediate Family members)
O-3 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability dependents)
P-4 (Athletes and Entertainer dependents)
R-2 (Religious Worker dependents)
TD (TN dependents)
B-1 and B-2 Visas for Temporary Visitors
To determine whether you should apply for B1 or B2, consider the nature of your planned trip. If the purpose of your travel is to attend business meetings or scientific conferences, negotiate a contract, settle an estate, etc., you should apply for a B1 visa. If it is recreational, such as visiting family members, tourism, amusement, or receiving medical treatment, a B2 visa would be more appropriate. Citizens from 27 countries currently participating in the Visa Waiver Program do not need a B visa to visit the U.S.
You can obtain a B-1 visa if you are employed abroad but need to come to the U.S. temporarily on business to attend business meetings or trade shows, buy goods, conduct research, etc. The B-1 visa holder may take no compensation directly or indirectly from a U.S. company. Admission in the U.S. is granted for 6 months, but may be extended for an additional six months for good reason consistent with the terms and conditions of your original status.
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The B-2 visa is a tourist visa, which allows for admission to the U.S. The Department of State also permits a domestic partner to use a B-2 visa to accompany a nonimmigrant visa holder, such as someone with an E-2, H-1B, or L-1. Admission in the U.S. is usually granted for six months.
Am I eligible for a B-1 or B-2 visa?
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, when you apply for a visitor visa, you are presumed to have immigrant intent. To qualify for a visitor visa, you must prove to the consulate officer that you are not an intending immigrant, by demonstrating all of the following:
- your planned stay in the U.S. is temporary;
- you have sufficient funds to cover all expenses;
- you have strong social and economic ties to a foreign residence and do not intend to abandon it.
F-1 Visas for Academic Students
The F-1 visa category is reserved for academic students enrolled in colleges, universities, high schools, language training programs, and other academic institutions. The other student visa is M-1, for non-academic vocational studies. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of a student may come to the United States in F-2 or M-2 visa status. Duration of your F-1 visa meaning for as long as you remain enrolled, full-time, in an educational program at an approved school; are making normal progress toward completing your course of study; and are in compliance with all the terms of your F-1 status. You’re allowed a 60-day grace period to prepare to leave the United States. No extension application is needed.
Am I eligible for an F-1 student visas?
- - You must be attending an academic institution or a language-training program;
- - You must be enrolled as a full-time student;
- - The school must be approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to accept foreign students;
- - You must show sufficient financial support to complete the study;
- - You must prove that you do not intend to abandon your foreign residency.
If you have any questions or concerns about your visa application or change of status, call or email us for a free initial consultation. [LINK TO JCS]
K-1 “Fiancé(e)” Visa
The K-1 visa is a “fiancé(e) visa” for U.S. citizens wishing to bring a foreign national fiancé(e) living abroad to the United States to marry. If you plan to marry a foreign national outside the United States or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, you do not need to file for a fiancé(e) visa. The K-1 visa lasts only ninety days, with no extensions. However, USCIS may accept an application to adjust status from a K-1 applicant who is out of status, but who married the U.S. citizen as intended.
Your immigration lawyer should know YOU-- your life, your aspirations, your hopes. Your lawyer should be with you at every step of the way, and at JCS Immigration and Visa Services, we are committed to helping you and your loved ones with your immigration or visa needs. If you have any questions or concerns about your visa application or change of status, call or email us for a free initial consultation. [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]
Am I eligible to petition for a K-1 visa?
If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
- If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.
Children of Fiancé(e)s
If your fiancé(e) has a child (under 21 and unmarried), a K-2 nonimmigrant visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of your fiancé(e)’s children on your petition.
Permission to Work
After admission, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for permission to work. Any work authorization based on a nonimmigrant fiancé (e) visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry. However, your fiancé(e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence.
M-1 Student Visa
If you would like to study as a full-time student in the United States, you will need a student visa. The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training. M-1 students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies. For M-1 students, any off-campus employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to starting any work by the Designated School Official, the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and USCIS. The M-1 visa allows you to stay for the length of the vocational program as shown on your SEVIS Form I-20, up to a maximum of one year, plus a 30-day grace period in order to prepare to depart the United States. If your vocational program will extend beyond the date indicated on your I-20 and I-94, you can apply for an extension. If you need help in applying or would like assistance in determining which visa is right for you, please contact our experienced immigration attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services. We offer a free initial consultation. Call or email today! [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]
Am I eligible for an M-1 visa?
You may enter in the M-1 visa category provided you meet the following criteria:
- You must be enrolled in an "academic" educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program
- Your school must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
- You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution
- You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
- You must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
- You must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up.
U visa for victims of crimes
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This visa is intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
Am I eligible for a U visa?
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf.
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver for permission to enter as a nonimmigrant.
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Qualifying Criminal Activities
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.
U Visa for Qualifying Family Members
Certain qualifying family members are eligible for a derivative U visa based on their relationship to you, the principal, filing for the U visa. The principal petitioner must have their petition for a U visa approved before their family members can be eligible for their own derivative U visa. If you are under 21 years of age, you may petition on behalf of your spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings under age 18. If you are 21 years of age or older, you may petition on behalf of your spouse and children.