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Immigrant Visas


Immigrant visas are for people who are pursuing Legal Permanent Resident status in the United States.  Persons who have this type of legal status are commonly referred to as "green card" holders.  In general, in order to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by either a current or prospective employer or by a family member who is a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident - such as spouse, mother, father, child, brother or sister.  

The U.S. Congress sets the numerical limit on Immigrant Visas for each year and these available numbers are divided based on type of visa application (family or employment) and then further divided by country of birth.  Persons from countries with very high numbers of people immigrating to the United States often face a longer wait for an Immigrant Visa to become available, as once the numbers for the year are used up for a particular category, no more Immigrant Visas may be issued.  The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service work together on the U.S. Department of State's Visa Bulletin, which  provides information regarding the cut-off dates governing visa availability in the numerically limited visa categories . 

Alfano Immigration Law, P.A. assists clients with the following types of Immigrant Visa petitions and processes:

  • Employment - Based Immigrant Visas:
    • Multinational Manager/Executive (EB-1)
    • Extraordinary Ability (EB-1)
    • Outstanding Professor/Researcher (EB-1)
    • National Interest Waiver (EB-2)
    • PERM (EB-2 and EB-3)

  • Family - Based Immigrant Visas:
    • Unlimited Family-Based
      • Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR):  The spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21 of a U.S. citizen, and the parent(s) of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older.
      • Returning Residents (SB):  Immigrants who lived in the United States previously as lawful permanent residents and are returning to live in the U.S. after a temporary visit of more than one year abroad.
    • Limited Family-Based
      • Family-Based First Preference (FB-1):  Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any.
      • Family-Based Second Preference (FB-2):  Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 21) of lawful permanent residents.  At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. 
      • Family-Based Third Preference (FB-3):  Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children.
      • Family-Based Fourth Preference (FB-4):  Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. 

Non-Immigrant Visas

In order to work in the U.S., under the current immigration laws, a foreign national needs to be able to show they are authorized to be employed.  In many cases the ability to secure such authorization from the government will depend on the type of work they will be undertaking in the United States.  Most temporary worker categories require the approval of a petition by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and in many cases, the foreign national will then need to apply for a visa (stamp/sticker) in their passport at a U.S. Consulate outside the United States (using the petition approval from USCIS). 

A visa (stamp/sticker) in their passport allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port of entry and request permission to enter the United States.  Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.  The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.  If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP official will determine the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94).

Prospective employers should file a petition(s) in advance of the desired employment date to provide adequate time for petition and subsequent visa processing.  The Immigration and Nationality Act provides multiple categories of nonimmigrant visas for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States.  There are annual numerical limits on some classifications. 

Alfano Immigration Law, P.A. assists clients with the following types of Non-Immigrant Visa petitions and processes:

  • B-1
  • E-1, E-2
  • E-3
  • H-1B, H-1B1 
  • J-1
  • L-1A,  L-1B 
  • O-1, O-2
  • P-1, P-2, P-3
  • TN

 Family Members

The spouse and unmarried, minor children (under 21) of an applicant under any of the above classifications may also be classified as nonimmigrants in order to accompany or join the principal applicant.  A person who has received a visa as the spouse or child of a temporary worker (a petition-based NIV), may generally not accept employment in the United States.  The principal applicant must be able to show that he or she will be able to support his or her family in the United States.  However, there are several exceptions to this requirement.  The spouses of persons admitted to the United States in L-1 and E statuses can apply to the USCIS for an appropriate employment authorization document and may use it to work while such document remains valid.  In addition, in certain circumstances, spouses of persons in H-1B status may qualify to also secure such an employment

Staying Beyond Your Authorized Stay in the U.S.

You should carefully consider the dates of your authorized stay and make sure you are following the procedures under United States immigration laws.  The visa stamp/sticker in your passport does not control your ability to remain in the United States - your Arrival-Departure Record/I-94 card (issued at entry) is the controlling document.  It is important that you depart the United States on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the United States on any given trip, based on the specified end date on your Arrival-Departure Record/Form I-94 - or take action to extend your authorized stay, if possible.  Staying unlawfully in the United States beyond the date Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officials have authorized - even by one day - may result in your visa being automatically voided, in accordance with INA 222(g).  Under this provision of immigration law, if you overstay beyond the ending date of your I-94 card, your visa may become automatically voided.  In this situation, you would be required to reapply for a new nonimmigrant visa, generally in your country of nationality.