Temporary Visas & Work Permits

Posted on October 21, 2014 | Category :Immigration | No Comments on Temporary Visas & Work Permits

There are more than 20 different types of visas (each designated by a letter category, like A, B, C, etc.) that allow you to come to the United States for time periods ranging from a few months up to six years or more. None of them is particularly easy to get, unless you come from an industrialized nation with a good economy. Most types of temporary visas allow you to do some specific type of work in the United States. A few do not allow you to work at all.Click here to read a good post about EB5 business plan visa that might be interesting to you.

Why is it so hard to get a temporary visa?

People who are applying for permission to come to the United States are put in two different legal categories—immigrants and non-immigrants. People who hold temporary visas are called “non-immigrants” under the law, because an “immigrant” is someone who plans to move to the United States permanently.You can read more information on US immigration laws at http://www.uscis.gov/laws

You have to prove that you intend to return to your home country after a temporary stay in order to qualify for almost every type of non-immigrant visa. The way our law is set up, if you apply for any type of visa the government presumes that you have immigrant intent—that you plan to move here permanently—unless you can prove that you do not. You can prove that you do not plan to move here permanently by showing strong connections in your home country that indicate you are likely to return—for example, close family members, a good job, property ownership, etc.

If you come from a poorer country, it is hard to overcome the presumption that the greater economic opportunity in the United States is likely to make you want to stay here. That is why so many people have such a hard time even getting a tourist visa to visit the United States. If you come from a wealthier country, that presumption is not as strong. That is why most people from Europe and a few other countries with traditionally strong economies do not even need a visa to come to the United States unless they plan to spend more than 90 days here.

Temporary Visas & Work Permits

Which temporary visas will allow you to apply for immigrant status later?

There are a few types of temporary visas you can get without showing that you plan to go back to your home country when your visa expires. The three most common are categories H, K and L. H and L visas are for different types of workers who have employers in the United States to sponsor them. There are very few temporary (non-immigrant) visas that allow you to come here specifically to work, unless you already have a sponsoring employer.

K visas are called “fiancé/e visas.” You can apply for a K non-immigrant visa if you already married a U.S. citizen in your home country or if you plan to come to the United States in order to get married to a U.S. citizen. If you plan to come here for your wedding, you would apply for a K-1 visa. If you already married in your home country, you would apply for a K-3 visa. Once you come to the United States using a K visa and your marriage is finalized, you can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (immigrant). The idea behind the K-3 category was to make the process faster than waiting for an immigrant visa petition to be approved. Sometimes it is faster and sometimes it is not. The K visa application process is different, depending on whether you are applying for a K-1 or a K-3 visa. An immigration attorney can help you arrange all of your immigration paperwork and let you worry about better things—like your wedding!

How can you get a work permit?

People often ask if they can get a work permit without a visa. The answer is, generally, ‘no.’ If you have a non-immigrant work visa you do not ordinarily need a separate work permit, unless you got your visa as a dependent spouse or child of someone whose employer sponsored him for a work visa. If you have come to the United States as an immigrant, you do not need a work permit either; lawful permanent residents are automatically authorized to work.

So who can get a work permit?

There are many categories of people who can get work permits, but you must already have a temporary visa, or have an application for some type of lawful immigration status, or have received some form of protected status in the United States in order to qualify. Unfortunately, just being willing to work and having a clean record is not enough to get a visa or a work permit—at least not under our current law.

Most people who have work permits are either applying for adjustment of status or asylum, or they have already been granted asylum, refugee or some other type of protected status because they would be harmed if they returned to their own countries. So the key to getting a work permit is to find some way to become an immigrant, get a non-immigrant visa, or get protection under a variety of special programs. You should talk to an experienced immigration attorney to see if you can qualify in any way.

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