August 15, 2022 Immigration

U.S. Immigration 101

There are many kinds of visas and immigration petitions and which one is the right one will depend on the profile and circumstances of each immigrant.

In the United States there are 2 types of petitions: immigrant and nonimmigrant. The difference lies in the intention to stay in the country. While all immigrant petitions seek to settle in the United States permanently and, therefore, their approval grants a permanent residence or green card, nonimmigrant petitions vary in the time that the immigrant is allowed to spend in the country and in the purpose and conditions of that stay.

The general rule is that, when immigrants qualify for one type of US visa, they can apply for visas for their beneficiaries; that is, for their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. However, depending on the type of visa, the beneficiaries may have more limited conditions than those of the main applicant, as is the case with student visas and some temporary work visas.

It is important to know that the United States does not recognize common law marriage for immigration benefits and any request for a beneficiary of the main applicant will require a copy of the marriage certificate.

The United States has visas available for students, professionals, and people with extraordinary or exceptional abilities, investors, among others.

Regarding investment visas, it is important to note that the United States does not grant investor visas for passive investments. Unlike other countries that allow you to obtain an investor visa by making a passive investment in the country (such as real estate), both types of investor visas in the United States (the EB-5 immigrant investor visa and the non-immigrant investor visa E-2) require that the investment be made in an active business. You can find more important information about the E-2 investor visa here.

There are also various types of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for professionals and individuals with extraordinary or exceptional abilities. It is common for employment-based visas to require the sponsorship of an American company or institution.

Some of the most common sponsored non-immigrant visas are the H for temporary workers and the L for the transfer of executives or essential employees of the same company from other branches to American branches. Some of the most common sponsored immigrant visas are the EB-2 for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability and the EB-3 for professionals, skilled workers, and other unskilled workers.

However, there are some immigrant visas that allow the professional to apply directly for the visa without the need for a sponsor. These visas require demonstrating extraordinary ability (EB-1) or that the professional’s presence and contributions to their area of ​​expertise will benefit the United States (EB-2 NIW). Although they may sound like unattainable visas, it is common for professionals in areas where the United States has a deficit (such as physical therapists, nurses, pilots, and some engineers) or professionals with 10 or more years of experience to qualify for these types of visas. You can find more important information about these unsponsored visa types here.

If you are interested in obtaining more information, you can contact us at or follow us on social networks where we will be publishing more information about the different visas and answering some of your questions.