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How Can You Enter The U.S.?

In this blog, you can learn about the common types of visas for students, travel, and business that you may need to visit the US or travel through the country. We also share an overview of the documents that you must have to enter the country and information on how you can apply for a US immigration visa. Check out all the relevant US immigration news in this article!

Apply For A US Visa

The Department of State in the US issues visas to all foreign nationals who wish to travel to the country through consulates or embassies. That said, if you are a citizen of one or more of the 39 countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver Program, you do not require a travel or business visa. The type of visa you are eligible to apply for depends on why you wish to travel to the United States. Some common visas are as follows:

Student visas

Immigrant visas for individuals looking to gain permanent legal residency

Transit visas for individuals traveling through America to visit another country

Professional or business visas for Mexican and Canadian citizens

Visitor visas for business or tourism

Fiancé(e) visas to live in the US and marry your fiancé(e) who has US citizenship

Process Of Entering The US

Once you arrive in the country, you will be required to show original and valid travel documents. This is a part of the complete entry process in the country. A few factors influence the documents you will need to produce and whether or not your passport must have a six-month validity after your travel dates. This includes the country you are coming from, your status, or citizenship.

The US immigration policy is slightly different for individuals arriving from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative handles travel cover by sea, air, or land from Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Canada. US citizens entering the country are required to show a valid US passport card, passport, an enhanced driver’s license, or a Trusted Traveler Program Card (SENTRI, FAST, Global Entry, or NEXUS).

In case you have questions, you can get in touch with your airline carrier to know if they need any specific document. In addition to that, the citizens of Mexico, Bermuda, Canada, and the Caribbean can check the “land and sea entry” of the Department of Homeland Security to check the necessary travel documents. Finally, all the lawful permanent US residents must show a Green Card or a Permanent Resident Card to enter the country. They do not need to show a passport.

In case you are arriving in the US from any other country, you will need to produce a passport on arrival irrespective of your country of citizenship. Foreign nationals and permanent residents might also require a US visa. In this case, you must apply for one prior to the commencement of your trip.

Entry Denials

The officers of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conduct arrival inspections for all foreign nationals arriving in the country using the same criteria. Your admission to the country is decided by them, even if your visa and other travel documents are in order. It is noteworthy that pregnant visitors can enter the United States freely, although they cannot do so for the express purpose of giving birth in the country. A CBP officer will also consider your pregnancy as a factor when deciding on whether or not you should be granted admission in the US.  A CBP officer can also inspect your cell phone and go through your text messages, emails, social media to make a determination of what intent you have while visiting the United States.

Most Common Types Of Immigrant Visas

The majority of the people who enter the US on an immigrant visa have one of these two visa types:

Employment-based visa for people who have a job offer from an employer in the US

Family-based visa for people with a family member who has legal permanent status or US citizenship

Steps To Obtain An Immigrant Visa

1. Mostly, you will need someone to file an immigration petition on your behalf or sponsor you.

2. Once you receive an approval of the petition and provided there is an available visa in your category, you apply for a US immigrant visa through an American consulate abroad. You can find one in your country using the directory of US consulates online.

3. Get a medical examination done.

4. Get a police certification from your state and/or country.

5. Go for the interview and wait for a decision on the application.

You can also seek an immigrant visa via the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. With the help of this program, if you come from a country with a relatively low immigration rate, you can participate in the annual drawing to get an immigrant visa.

Things To Do After You Receive An Immigrant Visa

When you successfully get an immigrant visa, the next step is to pay an immigrant fee to the USCIS before getting your Green Card. You must pay this fee before you leave for America and after you collect your visa from the American consulate. Once you receive the US immigrant visa, you will receive a sealed packet full of documents to give to the officials at the port of entry in the US. You will gain entry to the US if you pass inspection and get a Green Card in your mail.

Get In Touch With Reyes & Schroeder Associates P.C. For Help

Reyes & Schroeder Associates P.C. is a professional corporation law firm in Los Angeles County with a team of expert attorneys in immigration, intellectual property, and criminal matters. We also have competent family law attorneys with years of experience under their belts. We can help you understand the ins and outs of a US immigrant visa or your US immigration status if you have already applied for one. Immigration laws tend to change often, and they can affect whether or not you qualify for one in the future. Hence, it is of paramount importance that you consult one of our attorneys to understand the right step forward to gain the relief you seek.

For more details, write to us at or call us at (323) 553-1541.

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