Frequently Asked Questions about Immigration Law

With our attorneys and legal team on your side, you will get the visa you need to work, learn, or travel in the United States. Challa Law specializes in employment-based, temporary, and permanent visas. We work with individuals as well as companies of all sizes. Whether you need to manage your own case or you have numerous employees to sponsor, our legal team is on your side. Get answers to your most pressing questions by reaching out to us or consulting our frequently asked questions (and answers). We know all there is to know about getting permanent and temporary visas in Richmond, VA.

Questions Pertaining to Students

How can I enter the U.S. as an academic student?
Foreign national students that want to study in the United States usually apply for the F-1 visa. Vocational students most often apply for M-1 status. There are different options that allow for your spouse and young children to join you in the United States.

How can I enter the U.S. as a vocational student?
Vocational students can enter the United States from the M-1 visa. The visa is offered to students that want to pursue full-time study at an USCIS-approved vocational or non-academic school. The U.S. offers opportunities for you to train in a positive environment while strengthening technical and non-academic skills. There are several qualifications you must have prior to applying for this visa like proof that you have money to afford schooling and living expenses and also an acceptance into an approved school or program.

Questions Pertaining to Workers and Employment

Where can I find out more information about employment-based immigration?
Employment-based immigration can be either temporary or permanent. You can find out more information from our legal staff or on our temporary work and permanent work visa pages.

How can I enter the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation?
The H1-B visa allows for foreign workers to enter the United States if they specialize in a field of their choice. From architecture to medicine and health, the number of employment possibilities under the H1-B visa helps you in your specialty occupation.

What is the process underlying the hiring of foreign agricultural workers?
Employers must prove that there are no U.S. workers available to perform the work to be completed. It fills a specific need for both the United States and for foreign nationals.

How do I fill a temporary need for foreign workers?
Companies can fill a temporary need for foreign works with the used of an H-2B visa. This temporary visa has a limited number issued per year. This visa allows for US businesses to fill temporary needs for nonimmigrant workers. The employer must sponsor the employee.

How can I receive training in the U.S.?
You can receive training in the United States with the H-3 visa. This option was designed to enable workers in “any field of endeavor” to train in the US. It can be used with everything from agriculture to communications to governmental leadership. An employer needs to sponsor your visa.

How can I transfer employees to a U.S. operation?
The L-1 visa is open to international organizations with offices in the U.S. who temporarily transfer employees to their U.S. location. If you have a company with international operations, this visa allows for you to have an intra-company transferee.

How can a religious worker enter the U.S.?
The R-1 visa allows religious workers to temporarily enter the U.S. as long as the applicant can demonstrate that he or she has belonged to a nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two years. The organization the religious worker is visiting needs to be able to afford the room and board for the person being sponsored. Some of the parties that belong in this classification include nuns or monks, religious instructors, missionaries, religious translators, and more.

Where can I get more information about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Under NAFTA, certain Mexican and Canadian citizens are allowed to enter the United States to work under nonimmigrant status. The TN-1 visa applies to Canadian citizens while the TN-2 applies to Mexican citizens. When applying for this visa, you need to be employed by a U.S. company and work in a profession on the NAFTA list.

Generally the process for a TN-1 visa is much less extensive but they all include a document from the sponsoring employer, profess the employee is trained for the job, and evidence of necessary licenses for the job.

How can foreign media representatives enter the U.S.?
The I visa is what a foreign media representative will need to enter the United States. I visas are only an option for professionals that are still based in their home country and want to return home after the job is finished. It is available to members of the media only.

Questions Pertaining to Those with Extraordinary Abilities

How can an individual with extraordinary abilities enter the U.S.?
Those with extraordinary abilities can enter the U.S. under the O-1 visa. The classification of extraordinary abilities can fall under categories including the sciences, arts, and business. This visa allows for other interpretations of ‘extraordinary abilities’ which our legal team can help you work through it. Qualifying individuals may need to prove they are employed, proficient in their field, essential to their organization, and more.

How can support personnel of people with extraordinary abilities enter the U.S.?
People that support those with extraordinary abilities can qualify for an O-2 visa. This is a different visa than one for spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age qualify for.

How can entertainers, artists or athletes enter the U.S.?
The P-1 visa applies to artists, circus professionals, and athletes that wish to work in the United States. This can apply for individuals or groups looking to compete in the U.S. Some of the qualifications for this visa may include a letter from an appropriate labor organization, letters demonstrating international renown of the group, and even letters proving renown. These visas require facts or evidence that varies based on your specific case.

How can artists or entertainers involved in an exchange program enter the U.S.?
The P-2 visa is the option of artists or entertainers that are part of troupes or bands. These petitions are not filled by the applicant but by the U.S. labor group that negotiated the exchange agreement, the sponsoring organization, or the U.S. employer.

How can art educators enter the U.S.?
The P-3 visa allows for artists and entertainers to visit the United States for temporary positions as teachers and art educators. In order to be filed, the application needs to have a sponsoring organization or U.S. employer.

Questions Relating to Business Ventures and Exchanges

What is the best way to enter the U.S. to engage in a business venture?
When promoting a business venture, you want to visit the U.S. under a B-1 visa. This is a merit-based option that allows access to people from a range of backgrounds. When applying for this, you need to explain the type of business you plan to do, the length of time needed to conduct the business, and their intention to return home after the business is concluded.

What is the visa classification for ‘treaty traders’?
The visa classification for people defined by the state as ‘treaty traders’ is an E-1 visa. This is a nonimmigrant category. A treaty trader must be from a country with which the United States maintains a treaty for commerce. This visa holder must be coming to the country for trade or business operations or development.

What is the visa classification for ‘treaty investors’?
The visa classification for ‘treaty investors’ is an E-2 visa. This visa holder must own more than fifty percent of the proposed investment they are making in a United States technology or business investment or represent an owner of fifty percent of the business.

I am an exchange visitor. What visa should I apply for?
The visa an exchange visitor should apply for is the J-1 visa. This option is specific for students and trainees involved in on-the-job training, visiting scholars, researchers, and consultants. You may not be employed during your visit.

I am an exchange visitor interested in receiving training in the U.S. What visa should I apply for?
The Q-1 visa supports international cultural exchange visitors coming to the United States for employment, training that is practical to the career, and the sharing of the history, culture, or traditions of his or her home country. This visa needs to be accompanied by support from an employer or sponsor.

Questions Pertaining to Travel to the U.S.

Can I enter the U.S. for a brief period of time without obtaining a visa?
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows for people to travel to the United States for business or pleasure. Citizens from participating countries can travel to the country for 90 days or less without needing a visa.

What is the ideal tourist visa?
The ideal tourist visa is the B-2 visa. It allows for tourists to visit the United States for pleasure trips that are up to one year in length.

Questions Relating to Traveling Through the U.S.

I am traveling through the U.S. Can I visit family/friends while waiting for my departing flight?
The C-1 visa, or the transit visa, allows traveling, nonimmigrants to leave the airport and visit family or friends. Every member of your traveling party needs to apply for their own C-1 visa.

What visa can I use to travel to the UN?
The C-2 visa allows for foreign nationals to travel to and from the United Nations. This option cannot be change and is only valid for 29 days.

I am a foreign government official. How can I visit family/friends while waiting for my departing flight?
You can visit your family or friends or even just leave the airport to enjoy your surroundings with a C-3 visa. Everyone in your traveling party needs their own visa and no one can accept employment when traveling under this status.

What is the visa process for crewmen?
A crewperson that is docked in the United States temporarily can apply for a D-1 visa that allows for travel. This applies to those serving in good faith for regular operations aboard vessels as professionals including musicians, stewards, technicians, and chefs.

What is the visa process for crewmen leaving one vessel for another?
Much like the D-1 visa, the D-2 visa is for crewpersons serving under normal business operations of a vessel or aircraft. The D-2 visa is the option for those leaving one vessel to depart on another.

Questions Relating to Family Members or Permanent Residency

Is there a temporary visa classification for someone engaged to an American citizen?
The K-1 visa is also known as the “fiancé(e) visa” because it allows conditional permanent resident status. If you enter the country to marry an American citizen and live in the U.S., the K-1 visa allows you to do so and also covers your dependent children. The marriage must take place within 90 days of arriving in the United States.

Where can I find out more information about the LIFE Act and Amendments?
When you are applying for a visa, there is likely an option that helps cover your spouse and non-married children. Our legal team will advise you concerning the right option for you and visa your dependents or spouse will need.

The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act and amendments, effective since April 1, 2001, created new categories of nonimmigrant visas, including three V Visas, the K-3 Visa, and the K-4 Visa. These useful visas help make immigration easier for thousands of people and allows for families to be reunited after being separated during the lengthy immigration approval process.

I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Can I sponsor my family for immigration to the U.S.?
Permanent immigration is possible for your family members through the Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. On your end, you must prove that you are a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States, you can support the family member, and you are related. There are several preference categories, with the highest preference going to immediate family members.

What is the process for sponsoring a spouse?
There are two methods for sponsoring a spouse, either the K-1 visa or the Alien Spouse Immigrant Visa. When it comes to establishing a spouse in the United States, you want to make sure it gets done right for the best results. Our legal team is here to make sure you get the visa your family member needs.

Where can I get more information about the Diversity Lottery?
The Diversity Visa Lottery Program (DV) offers 55,000 new immigrant visas each year for people from underrepresented nations. A nation is underrepresented if less than 50,000 people from that country have immigrated to the United States in the last five years. To see if you qualify and to fill out the documents required for the program, reach out to our immigration lawyers.

I am an asylee/refugee. How can I change status to permanent residency?
In order to change your status to one of permanent residency, you will need to meet a basic set of requirements and then follow the application procedure for a status adjustment. As an asylee, you can work in the United States. It typically takes three months for the document to process. Learn more here.

Contact us today to get answers to any of the questions you have relating to permanent or temporary immigration visas. We are proud to serve clients in Richmond, VA, and the surrounding areas through the use of our unique international perspective.