You must have a visa to enter the U.S. legally. While tourist, student, and some temporary work visas are relatively straightforward to obtain, they are typically only valid for a limited period of time. Alternatively, other visas allow holders to stay indefinitely, get a Green Card, and eventually become eligible for citizenship. However, the process of obtaining these kinds of visas—called immigrant visas— is much more complex.

Matters of immigration can be complicated to handle alone. If you are considering applying for a visa in Boston, allow an experienced visa attorney at our firm to guide you through this process. Seasoned legal counsel could advise you of the type of visa that best suits your circumstances, explain the processes involved, and ensure your paperwork and supporting documentation are accurate and complete. To discuss your situation with a dedicated legal professional, do not hesitate to contact our firm today.

Employment-Based Visas

Some employers in the United States have difficulty filling certain jobs. Immigrant workers who enter the country on employment-based visas could help relieve the worker shortage and offer significant support to critical industries like fishing, agriculture, and tourism.

The procedure for obtaining an employment visa depends on the job the worker will be doing. In many cases, an employer must prove that they have tried to fill the positions with U.S. citizens but have been unsuccessful. If they receive approval to hire a foreign worker, they will receive a document called an LCA, which the foreign national will need to apply for a temporary worker visa.

When a foreign national has a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer, the employer could file a Form I-140, or a “Petition for Alien Worker,” to support the worker’s permanent immigration to work. This process provides the worker with a Green Card and allows them to bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 with them. Eventually, the prospective immigrant could apply for U.S. citizenship. A Boston attorney could answer any further questions about applying for an employment-based visa during a private consultation.

Family-Based Visas

U.S. immigration policy officially supports family reunification, but the process could sometimes take years. Anyone wishing to sponsor a family member to immigrate must file a Form I-130, or a “Petition for an Alien Relative.”

U.S. citizens can apply for their immediate family members, such as spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents, to join them in America. However, it is important to note that the wait time before the visa is issued could be a year or more.

Green Card holders are also permitted to bring family members to the U.S., but they must use the Family Preference process even for immediate family members. The government issues a set number of visas annually for family members in various categories, meaning wait times could span several years. A Boston attorney could advise a foreign national of the likely waiting times for specific family visas, and, if they decide to move forward, help them to fulfill all the necessary steps and paperwork.

Basic Visa Procedures

If a prospective immigrant is already in the United States, they must file a form I-485 and wait for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to contact them. Frequently, they will receive requests for more information before an in-person interview with a CIS officer is scheduled. We call this process “adjustment of status” and it does not result with an actual, physical visa in a passport, but instead a green card.

If the applicant is outside the United States, they must wait for the family member or prospective employer to submit the I-130 or I-140. When CIS approves the petition, the applicant will receive a package of forms to submit to the Consulate or Embassy where they live. The applicant must complete an interview at the consular office, and if the official approves their application, they may enter the United States with an “immigrant visa

Applicants must undergo medical exams, background checks, and rigorous screening. Any errors or irregularities here could delay a visa or potentially bar an applicant from receiving one at all. A knowledgeable Boston attorney could help ensure that an application is completed promptly and properly to avoid this fate.

An Attorney Could Assist with Applying for a Visa in Boston

If you or your family member wants to move to the United States temporarily or permanently, some rigorous procedures may be involved. Fulfilling these requirements can be exceptionally difficult, especially without the guidance of seasoned legal counsel.

If you are applying for a visa in Boston, a local attorney is here to help you. A lawyer at our firm could assist you with a visa application or, if you have already started the process, review your documentation or submissions for any errors. Contact us today to get started.