The Shapiro Law Firm, LLC
Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Entry VIsas.jpg


Begin your journey.

What is a Visa?

A visa usually appears as a stamp in the applicant’s passport and gives the nonimmigrant certain privileges, most importantly, the right to request entry into the United States.  Our visa attorneys have successfully obtained thousands of visas for clients spanning all different visa categories.

Where is a Visa issued?

A visa stamp can only be issued at a U.S. embassy or a consulate in another country. People who are already in the United States can gain immigration privileges by applying to adjust their status without getting a matching visa first; and thus, without leaving the U.S. Different privileges come with different visas, so the ability to adjust status depends upon the type of visa and the length of time that the visa-holder has been in the U.S.

What is the difference between an Immigrant and a Nonimmigrant Visa?

An Immigrant Visa gives someone to request the right to enter the U.S. permanently, whereas a Nonimmigrant Visa gives a holder the right to request entry into the Untied States for limited time period. 



Family-Based +

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows the immigration of foreigners to the United States based on relationship to a U.S. Citizen. Family-based Immigrant Visas fall under two categories: UNLIMITED and LIMITED:

# of Visas Available Per Year: UNLIMITED

  • IR - Immediate Relatives: Do NOT have to wait in line for a visa to be come available!

If you are related to the petitioning U.S. Citizen family member in 1 of the following ways, then you are an Immediate Relative:

  1. Spouse;

  2. Unmarried Child Under 21, or;

  3. Parent (if U.S. Citizen is over the age of 21).

# of Visas Available Per Year: LIMITED

  • F1 - 1st Preference:
    1. Unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. citizens, &;
    2. Children of unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens.
  • F-2 - 2nd Preference:
    1. Spouses of Permanent Residents;
    2. Minor children of Permanent Residents, and;
    3. Unmarried sons & daughters of Permanent Residents.
  • F-3 - 3rd Preference:
    1. Married sons & daughters of U.S. citizens,;
    2. Children of married sons & daughers of U.S. Citizens, &;
    3. Spouses of married sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens.
  • F-4 - 4th Preference:
    1. Siblings (brothers & sisters) of U.S. citizens;
    2. Children of siblings of U.S. Citizens (age 21 or older), &;
    3. Spouses of siblings of U.S. Citizens (age 21 or older).

Employment-Based +

Unlike the Family-based Immigrant Visa process, the Employment-based Immigrant Visa process does not begin with the filing of an Immigrant Visa petition. Instead, the Beneficiary's Employer must undergo additional steps in regards to job recruitment with the U.S. Department of Labor first. These steps must take place within strict time periods and can vary depending on the type of visa applying for and/ or the type of job sought. Contact us today to find out if you qualify for an Employment-Based Immigrant Visa, and if so, what the application process will look like for you.

  • EB-1 - 1st Preference:
    • Workers of Extraordinary Ability
    • Outstanding University Professors or Researchers
    • Executives or Managers of Multinational Companies
  • EB-2 - 2nd Preference:
    • Professionals with Advanced Degrees
    • Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business
  • EB-3 - 3rd Preference:
    • Professional Workers
    • Skilled Workers
    • Unskilled Workers
  • EB-4 - 4th Preference:
    • Special Immigrants
    • Religious Workers
    • Former U.S. Government Workers
    • Children Dependent on U.S. Foster Care

investor/entrepreneur visa +

  • EB-5 - 5th Preference:
    • Investors Willing to Invest a Minimum of $1,000,000 in a new U.S. Business that will Create Jobs ($500,000 if the business is located in an economically depressed location)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition +

Unfortunately, immigrants who become victims of Domestic Violence are often afraid to report the incidents to the police because of their immigration status. If you are the victim of Domestic Violence and you are the spouse, child or parent of an abusive U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, you may be able to file for a Green Card on your own behalf with a VAWA self-petition without the abuser's knowledge. In order to do so, you must establish the following:

  1. Qualifying Relationship = U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident abuser's:
    • Spouse;
    • Parent, or;
    • Child
  2. Resided with Abuser;
  3. Good Moral Character, AND;
  4. Victim of Battery or Extreme Cruelty.

Diversity Lottery Visa +

Every year up to 50,000 Diveristy Immigrant Visas (DV) are made avaiable to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.. All eligible individuals are placed into a single drawing and are selected at random until the alotted number of visas for that year is reached. DVs are distributed among 6 different geographic regions and no single country may receive more than 7% of available DVs in a single year.


employement based +

  • H1-B Specialty Occupations, DOD workers, fashion models.
  • H-1C Visa Nurses going to work for up to 3 years in health professional shortage areas
  • H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker
  • H-2B Temporary worker: skilled & unskilled
  • H-3 Trainee
  • H-4 Spouse or child of H-1, H-2, H-3
  • I Visas for foreign media representatives
  • L-1A Intracompany Transferee: Executive, managerial
  • L-1B Intracompany Transferee:Specialized knowledge
  • L-2 Spouse or child of L-1
  • O-1 Workers with Extraordinary Ability: Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics
  • O-2 Alien's (support) accompanying O-1
  • O-3 Spouse or child of O-1 or O-2
  • P-1 Individual, Team Athletes, or Entertainment Groups
  • P-2 Artists and entertainers in Reciprocal Exchange Programs
  • P-3 Artists & entertainers: Culturally Unique Programs
  • P-4 Spouse or child of P-1, 2, or 3
  • R-1 Religious workers
  • R-2 Spouse or child of R-1
  • TN Trade visas for Canadians & Mexicans
  • TD Spouse or child accompanying TN

student based +

  • F-1 Academic Student
  • F-2 Spouse or child of F-1
  • F-3 Canadian or Mexican national commuter student in an academic or language training program
  • M-1 Vocational studentor other nonacademic student
  • M-2 Spouse or child of M-1
  • M-3 Canadian or Mexican national commuter student (Vocational student or other nonacademic student)

Aliens in Transit/ Crewmember +

  • C-1 Alien in transit directly through U.S.
  • C-1D Combined transit & crewman visa
  • C-2 In transit to UN headquarters district under UN Headquarter Agreement §§ 11.(3), (4), or (5)
  • C-3 Foreign gov't official, immediate relatives, attendant, servant, or personal employee, in transit
  • C-4 Transit without Visa
  • D-1 Crewmember departing on same vessel of arrival
  • D-2 Crewmember departing by means other than vessel of arrival

Exchange Visitors +

  • J-1 Visas for exchange visitors
  • J-2 Spouse or child of J-1
  • Q-1 International cultural exchange visitors
  • Q-2 Irish Peace Process Cultural & Training Program (Walsh Visas)
  • Q-3 Spouse or child of Q-2

Crime Victims +

Family-Based +

  • K-1 Fiance(e)
  • K-2 Minor child of K-1
  • K-3 Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (LIFE Act)
  • K-4 Child of K-3 (LIFE Act)
  • V-1 LPR Spouse + principal beneficiary of form I-130 alien-relative petiton, filed prior to 21 Dec 2000, & has been pending for at least 3 years
  • V-2 LPR child + principal beneficiary of a form I-130 alien-relative petition, filed prior to 21 Dec 2000, & has been pending for at least 3 years
  • V-3 The derivative child of a V-1 or V-2

Treaty Trader, spouse and children +

  • E-1 Treaty Trader, spouse and children
  • E-2 Treaty Investor, spouse and children
  • E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

Tourist Visa: Business or Pleasure +

  • B-1 Temporary visitor for business
  • B-2 Temporary visitor for pleasure

Foreign Government Officials +

  • A-1 Ambassador, public minister, career, diplomatic or consular officer, & members of immediate family
  • A-2 Other foreign government official or employee, & members of immediate family.
  • A-3 Attendant, servant, or personal employee of A-1 & A-2, & members of immediate family
  • G-1 Principal resident representative of recognized foreign member gov’t to int’l organization, & members of immediate family
  • G-2 Other representative of recognized foreign member gov’t to int’l organization, & members of immediate family
  • G-3 Representative of non-recognized or nonmember gov’t to int’l organization, & members of immediate family
  • G-4 Int’l organization officer or employee, & members of immediate family

What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens and nationals from certain countries to enter the U.S. for up to 90 days for the purpose of business or pleasure without having to first obtain a visa.  However, before you can travel to the U.S., you must first have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval. VWP allows you to engage in the same activities for business or pleasure as you would with a B1/B2 Visitor Visa. However, there are some notable distinctions.  For example, if you are a VWP violator and are placed in Removal Proceedings, you will be placed in "Asylum only" Removal Proceedings, and thus are not entitled to other avenues of relief from removal.

Go Back to Immigration home page