Temporary Visas (Nonimmigrant Visas)
Our Los Angeles and Orange County California Visa Attorneys
can help you determine which type of visa is best-suited to you, and then prepare a thorough application and guide you through the process, whether you apply from inside the United States or from outside its borders. Most visas require a U.S. employer or agent to apply for the foreign worker.
What is a Temporary Visa?
Temporary Visas (also known as “Non-Immigrant Visas,” or “NIVs”) are for people who wish to stay in the U.S. for a short period of time, and then return to live in their home country. The temporary visa is not a green card and does not put you on a path to a green card or to citizenship. It allows certain activities, such as visitors / tourists, or certain types of work.
Temporary Nonimmigrant Visa Categories We Handle
We handle certain categories of visas. In most cases, we do a paid Legal Advice Consultation with you and/or your U.S. employer to determine if you are eligible. If you believe you qualify in one of the following categories, please contact us to schedule your consultation. The consult fee is applied toward attorney fees if you hire the law firm.
B-1/B-2 – Business visitor or tourist
Canadian border crossing packages -- For Canadians who anticipate they may be pulled aside and questioned about their frequent travel to the U.S.
E-1 Treaty Trader – For business owner / employee of a trade treaty country conducting substantial international trade of goods / services with the U.S.
E-2 Treaty Investor – For business owner / employee of a trade treaty country to manage / direct an established investment enterprise in the U.S.
E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional for Australians – For Australian professionals working for a U.S. employer in an occupation that requires a specific baccalaureate degree (e.g., architect, engineer, etc.)
H-2B Temporary / Seasonal Worker – Available to nationals of certain countries for limited assignments less than 9 months in most cases. Employer must advertise and recruit for U.S. workers first, may take 4-6 months to apply.
L-1 Transfer – To transfer current managers / executives and specialized knowledge employees from a foreign enterprise to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, affiliate, etc. Requires one year minimum experience working for the foreign enterprise
NAFTA workers from Canada/Mexico -- For professionals working for a U.S. employer in an occupation that requires a specific baccalaureate degree
O-1 Extraordinary Ability in Athletics, Business, Sciences, Education or the Arts (including Motion Picture/Television) – For those with national / international recognition in the field, demonstrated by awards, media attention, distinguished employment, and other markers of achievement, may bring essential support personnel
P-1 International Athlete – For athletes in international competition with significant records / rankings, may bring essential support personnel
R-1 Religious Worker – For those performing work essential to religious worship / ceremony, must be member of the religion / denomination
T - For victims of human trafficking, must demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement to investigate the crime (directly leads to a green card)-- FREE APPOINTMENT
U – For victims of violent crimes / domestic violence committed inside the U.S., must demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement to investigate the crime (directly leads to a green card) -- FREE APPOINTMENT
For free information about the types of temporary visas and the process:
The U.S. State Department of State website has useful information about all available types of temporary visas. Some temporary visas for employment must be initiated with a petition filed in the United States by the employer, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) website contains information about these employment visas.
Two-Step Visa Application Process
At Hill & Piibe, we view the application process for temporary visas as a two-step process:
- Step 1: Demonstrate you meet the qualifications described by the visa category
- Step 2: Attend an interview about your prior immigration and criminal records reviewed, to determine if you are “admissible”
Step 1 requires detailed documentation, but Step 2 is equally important and should be considered before you spend money and time applying for the visa.
Waivers (212(d)(3) waivers)
We handle waivers for people who have been told they need one to get back into the United States. These take up to 3-4 months to get a decision.
How a Temporary Visa Works
Visa Document: Proof You Qualify to Enter the U.S.
A temporary visa is a document stapled or glued into your passport that gives you authorization to enter the U.S. and stay here temporarily. The visa is granted for a specific “visa validity” period. This means that, during the “visa validity period,” you can use the visa for an unlimited number of times to enter the U.S. — it is similar to a season pass that allows you admission to an amusement park, or a museum, etc. Each time you present the temporary visa to U.S. Border Patrol Officers, they have the right to determine if you are still eligible for the visa category before allowing you to enter the U.S.
I-94 Period of Admission: How Long You Can Stay in the U.S.
You present your visa at the border to show why you qualify to be admitted. Once inside the U.S., your I-94 Period of Admission controls how long you can stay. This is recorded electronically in your I-94 record with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Every time you enter the U.S., even on the same visa, you will be given a deadline by which to leave the country. This deadline can be extended, and/or your visa validity period can also be extended.
Speak to a U.S. Visa Attorney: In-Person, Skype/Zoom and Phone Consultations Available
Contact Hill & Piibe for a paid Legal Advice Consultation on whether you or your employee qualifies for a visa. We will have you complete a questionnaire and the attorney will discuss all possibilities and strategies. The fee for this consultation will be applied toward future attorney fees for the visa. Schedule a consultation for an in-person meeting in Los Angeles or San Juan Capistrano, or we can arrange one via telephone or Skype.
The immigration and visa lawyers at Hill & Piibe serve clients of all nationalities living abroad or in the Los Angeles, California area, including Riverside and Bakersfield and all of San Bernardino County, Orange County, San Diego County, Ventura County, and Santa Barbara County.