Foreign nationals who want to study, work, visit, do business, settle down in the United States have to apply for visas to get entry into that country.
Visas, which help you settle down in the US, are immigrant visas, while work, visit and business visas are categorized as nonimmigrant visas. Time taken for the USA Visa Application Process varies depending on the type one is opting for.
Most popular visas in nonimmigrant category are visitor visas (B2), business visitor visas (B1) and student visas (F1 and F2). On the other hand, most sought after immigrant visas are short-term work visas (L1), long-term work visas (H1B and H2). Investor visas, which allow you gain permanent residency in America are (EB-5). There are many other visa categories, but they have fewer applicants vying for them. Visa process for the USA is dissimilar for each of the categories.
Besides being the largest-economy of the world, America sets trends in most fields which all other countries follow. This makes it one of the popular destinations in the world for different reasons. Be it tourism, business, trading, study or investment, people make a beeline to enter the US.
But all those who apply for American visas need to attend an interview at a US Embassy or Consulate. Questions posed are toughest for people who apply for H1-B Visas and student visas. This is because authorities want to make sure that candidates on those visas do not end up staying illegally in their country.
To be eligible qualify for an F1 visa, candidates should have got a letter of admission in a full-time education programme in a college or a university, which is recognised by the US authorities. It is considered full-time studies only if there are 18 study hours per week. In addition, applicants must prove that they have enough money on them to support themselves, as they need to pay their tuition fees and money for accommodation for their study duration. Finally, they should be able to convince immigration officials that they would return to their home country after completing their studies. They also need to show that they are healthy by undergoing medical examinations, and have had no criminal cases booked against by producing certificates from the police authorities of the place they live in.
With an F1 visa, its holders are eligible to be employed with restrictions if they meet certain criteria. B2 visas are granted to applicants who satisfy the immigration authorities by proving that they are entering the US only for leisure, to meet friends or relatives, for sightseeing, medical treatment and such other cases.
Although they travel on short-term visas, they too are required to show evidence that they enough money to take care of themselves during their stay. These candidates also need to fulfill health and character requirements.
Normally, B2 visa holders can stay in the US for up to six months. In certain cases, their stay can be extended up to a year. They are also barred from taking up jobs or enrolling for long-term courses.
Applicants can be qualified for L1 visas if they have been in employment with the same company for a minimum of one year in executive, managerial or as experts in the three years prior their date of their applications. When they move the US, they should be in a similar position or must have been promoted. With L1 visas, its holders can work and reside in the USD for up to three years provided the company already has operations in the US.
L1 visa holders can take with them their spouses and dependent children aged below 21. They would be eligible for an L2 visa, a derivate visa of L1 visa. Though they are eligible to study or work in the US, they cannot apply for study visas.
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