Common Visas—Who Qualifies and How to Apply
Foreign-born residents of Washington, D.C. rely on a number of different visas to live and work legally in the United States. Among the most common are fiancée visas, marriage-based visas, business visas, and work visas.
Fiancée visa in Washington, D.C.
U.S. citizens may apply for K-1 fiancée visas for their future spouses. Some fiancée visa requirements include the following:
- In almost all cases, you must meet personally with your fiancée sometime in the past two years before applying.
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- Both you and your fiancée must be legally free to marry, i.e., not already married or still in divorce proceedings.
- You must meet certain minimum income requirements.
- Your fiancée may not have a criminal record or have broken certain immigration laws.
While a trip to the United States on a visitor’s visa or other visa may fulfill the personal meeting requirement for the K-1 visa, your fiancée will still have to return to his or her country to apply for a visa.
Marriage visa in Washington, D.C.
Green card holders—lawful permanent residents—may not apply for a fiancée visa, but must marry and may then apply for a green card for their new spouse. U.S. citizens may also apply for a marriage visa, and for a K-3 non-immigrant spouse visa while waiting for United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process their spouse for legal permanent residency. It is best to consult a visa attorney in Washington, D.C. to clarify which visa you need, how to apply, and how to speed along the process.
Washington, D.C. business visas
Business visas—B-1 visas—are nonimmigrant visas intended for people who want to visit the United States temporarily for legitimate business purposes. If you need a business visa, apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of permanent residence—although you can apply anywhere abroad, the consulate will have more difficulty verifying the accuracy of the information on your application if you apply in a country that is not your permanent residence.
The U.S. Department of State has set up a business visa center to facilitate visa issuance for legitimate business travelers. If you have any difficulty acquiring a business visa but think you should qualify, contact a Washington, D.C. business visa attorney for guidance and legal help.
Washington, D.C. work visas
People wishing to work temporarily in the United States usually apply for H-1B visas, which permit U.S. employers to temporarily employ specialized workers. People collaborating on Department of Defense research projects and fashion models must also apply for H-1B visas. For most workers, the H-1B visa process is fairly bureaucratic and takes a long time. Your future employer must seek a Department of Labor certification that it tried and failed to find a U.S. citizen or resident to fill your position. Washington, D.C. work visa attorneys can help facilitate this process, allowing you to get your H-1B visa in a timely manner.
Washington, D.C. visa attorneys
The lawyers at Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing can help you with any aspect of the visa application process, from ensuring all of your papers and documentation are in order to working with USCIS and the Department of Labor to avoid unnecessary delays. Contact us today at 202.536.3359 or contact us online for expert guidance on visas in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States. We offer a free initial consultation and our office is conveniently located in the Chevy Chase Pavilion, easily accessible from the Friendship Heights Metro station.