Immigrants and non-immigrants alike are an integral part of America's culture and economy. Whether a person comes to visit the United States and spends money here, shares in cultural exchanges, and creates memories, or whether a person comes here on a more permanent basis to grow a family and/or business, that person becomes a part of who we are.
According to the State Department, millions of Non-immigrant visas are awarded each year, though the number has decreased considerably over the last few years (from a total of 10,891,745 in 2015 to 8,742,068 in 2019). Thousands of Immigrant visas are awarded each year, too, though the numbers have consistently decreased over the last few years (from a total of 531,463 in 2015 to 462,422 in 2019). Statistically speaking, many visas are granted, but they are limited.
Making sure you have an attorney to help you tackle the U.S. immigration process is key to comprehensively facing challenges and accurately complying with forms, regulations, and the law. Gopal Shah, a trusted immigration attorney in San Francisco Bay Area and as an immigrant himself, has the insight, knowledge, and commitment to make sure your visa application goes as smoothly as possible.
What Types of Visas Are There?
There are two types of visas: those for non-immigrants and those for immigrants. Non-immigrant visas are for temporary visits for things like tourism, medical treatment, study-abroad programs, or temporary work. Immigrant visas are those for people who want to move here permanently to raise a family or grow a business. Below are examples of visas we help clients obtain.
- U visa. If you are a victim of a crime and have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse, you and your family may be eligible for a U visa.
- T visa. If you are a victim of human trafficking, you and your immediate family may be eligible for a T visa.
- H visa. There are different types of H visas, and they are all employment-based visas for temporary workers.
- L visa. There are a few different types of L visas, and they are employment-based visas involving managerial and executive capacities or specialized knowledge.
- O visa. O visas are visas for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- P visa. P visas are for athletes, artists, and entertainers as well as their immediate families who will perform at a specific athletic competition, entertain, or perform under a reciprocal exchange program.
For those moving to the United States on a permanent basis, you will apply for a permanent resident card, also known as a green card. This card gives you an official immigration status in the United States and also affords you certain rights and responsibilities. A green card is also required if you want to naturalize as a U.S. citizen one day.
What Challenges Are There To Obtain a Visa?
Many challenges exist that could create roadblocks to people hoping to visit or live in the United States on a temporary or permanent visa. This is true whether you are applying for a visa for the first time or attempting to extend or renew a visa.
Challenges to Temporary Visas
- Your potential employer or current employer may be unaware of the proper visa/work permit you need.
- Your potential employer or current employer may not have centralized control to help you get your visa or work permit.
- Government delays can hold up visa applications and you may not know how to address it.
- The demand for work permits or visas exceeds the supply of the same.
- Security issues may interrupt your application.
- Special concerns or restrictions may exist based on your country of origin.
- Frequent changes and uncertainty in immigration law create uncertainty in processes involving visas.
- There's a limit on immigrants with "extraordinary abilities."
- Children of parents in the United States on temporary work visas wait "in line" with their parents for permanent residency, but are kicked out of that line when they turn 21.
Challenges to Permanent Visas
- Problems requesting an "adjustment of status" from a temporary visa to a permanent residence card.
- Arrests and convictions of criminal offenses will cause complications.
- Arrests and criminal convictions can harm your permanent residency application or status.
- The immigration process is far too restrictive.
- Immigrants can wait for years for a visa.
- Quotas are harsh, e.g., only 5,000 green cards allotted for workers without college degrees.
- There's no immigration category for workers like entrepreneurs, and Congressional action is necessary to create new categories.
The above two lists are just examples of the many challenges and problems with the United States immigration system. Some of these challenges can be very difficult to overcome, but with the insight of an experienced immigration attorney, you just may overcome them.
What's probably the toughest challenge for anyone applying for a visa is this: the overall uncertainty that hangs in the balance of our immigration system – especially in today's climate. Almost anything can happen at the whim of the President. In particular, the President can end the refugee program unilaterally, and sometimes this doesn't seem like a far-fetched reality.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer in California Today
Gopal Shah dedicates his practice to people like you who want to make sure you get all the steps right so that your encounter with the U.S. Immigration system isn't a scary one but a successful one. Contact his office today to schedule a consultation. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get started on your visa application or renewal process.