Non-immigrant visas are intended for individuals who wish to come to the United States temporarily, whether for business, tourism, medical, study, or temporary work reasons. Because these visas are strictly for temporary stays, they cannot be used by those who wish to live in the U.S. permanently. Non-immigrant visas have an end date and a fixed amount of time that an individual can remain in the U.S.
However, there are different parameters for the definition of “temporary” when it comes to business. There is an extensive range of visa types, and it can be challenging to determine which visa best applies to your situation based on the strict parameters. If you are visiting the U.S. on business, U.S. embassy staff in your country are an excellent resource for guidance and information.
Learn as much as you can about the different non-immigrant visa types, and if you’re unsure of which visa to get, contact a knowledgeable law firm such as Rooney Nimmo for guidance. Our team, including Associate Abbey Docherty and Immigration Counsel James A. O’Malley, would be happy to assist you.
Decoding The Differences Between Non-Immigrant Visas
Before you begin the process of applying for a non-immigrant visa, take some time to understand the nuances of each temporary visa type available in the U.S.
B visas are the most common type of temporary visa for individuals wishing to enter the United States for business (B-1 visa) or tourism (B-2 visa).
B-1 visas may be granted for business meetings, attending academic, professional, or other conferences, negotiating contracts, or settling an estate. The business in question here is very temporary and does not extend to longer or more substantial business operations.
You may obtain B-2 visas for tourism, holidays, family or other visits, medical treatment, and participation in various events.
E visas are for citizens from countries that the United States upholds treaties of commerce and navigation with. This includes most of the world’s nations, except for countries with which the U.S. has no diplomatic ties, such as Iran or North Korea. E visas are the most common non-immigrant visas for visitors to the country on temporary business.
E visas consist of E-1 (Treaty Trader) and E-2 (Treaty Investor). Applicants for these visas typically come to the U.S. to engage in qualifying activities for trade between the U.S. and the country they come from or to develop an enterprise in the United States where the applicant has invested considerable capital.
E-2 visas are typically for investors making a substantial investment in or as part of a U.S. business operation that must be at risk in a commercial sense.
E visa holders are permitted to live in the U.S. with their families for the duration of the period authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Individuals granted an E visa are expected to depart the U.S. when their business is complete and may stay only for as long as the validity conditions stipulated at the date of issue. Upon termination of their E status, holders of the E visa are expected to leave the U.S.
The E visa extends to the applicant’s spouse and children, though a spouse and dependents require a separate permit to work in the U.S.
You may fall somewhere between visiting for temporary business and a longer stay for substantial operation or investment. If your company is transferring you to a position in the United States, you will receive an L visa after your employer files a petition for your authorization to live and work in the U.S.
An L-1 visa is categorized according to qualification. An L-1A visa is issued to intracompany transferees in executive or managerial positions working for a company located outside the U.S. but with offices in the U.S. It may also be issued to someone in a management position abroad for the purpose of establishing an office in the U.S.
The L-1B visa is issued to intracompany transferees in positions that require their highly specialized knowledge.
How Rooney Nimmo Can Help
At Rooney Nimmo, our corporate lawyers understand what it takes to build a company or foster business relationships in the United States. If you need to apply for a B-1, E-2, or L-1 visa, contact our law firm today. A trusted advisor will happily explain the visa process to you and help you apply for, renew, or extend your visa.