Monday, December 16, 2013

Specialized US Visa Classes

The United States offers a total of more than 60 non-immigrant USA visas covering a variety of immigration situations. While some visa classes are more popular than other, US Immigration recognizes that in certain instances, specific occupations may be entitled to their own special classification.

Below, you will find some information for a few "special" US visa categories and if you feel that you may qualify for one of these visas, we invite you to complete our online assessment or contact our US branch office directly at your earliest convenience. Our team of US immigration experts are fully qualified to handle all types of US visas.

P-1 Visas: Athletes and Entertainment Groups offers assistance with P-1 visa applications only when the applicant is either a professional athlete that has been offered a contract with a professional sports team/organization in the United States, or a member of an entertainment group when the entire group will be travelling to the US in order to perform.

P-1 Athlete visa applicants must provide documentation that the athlete/team is internationally recognized; has engaged in athletic competition with a distinguished reputation; and the competition requires participation of the athlete/team with international reputation.

Further, the petition must include a tendered contract that is issued by a recognized professional athletics or entertainment body in the United States, and the applicant must be contracted as an athlete or performer (coaches, managers, etc. are not eligible).

There are other significant criteria that a P-1 Athlete/Team or Entertainer Group must provide and you should contact our US branch office for further inquiry or by filling out our online assessment form.

P-1 visa applications are initially submitted to the USCIS in the United States for approval. Once approved at USCIS, the applicant must then attend a visa interview at a foreign US Embassy in order to receive their visa. Following visa issuance, P-1 visa holders may then travel to the US in order to commence their contractual duties with a professional US Athletic Team or Organization. Spouses and children of P-1 visa holders qualify for a P-4 visa and are allowed to accompany the athlete or entertainer the US, but are not allowed to engage in employment.

O-1 Visas: Extraordinary Ability

O visas are available to individuals that possess an "extraordinary ability" in the fields of science, arts, business, education, entertainment, or athletics.

Applicants must be able to provide evidence attesting to their high level of recognition within their field. Such evidence can include national or international awards, copies of relevant publications, and written testimonials from professional peers.

Dependants and essential support staff of O visa holders are typically eligible to receive derivative visas that enable them to accompany the primary visa holder to the United States.

R-1 Visas: Religious Workers

R visas are issued to religious workers who have been offered an appropriate position of employment by a US-based non-profit religious organization or a non-profit organization affiliated with a religious organization in the United States.

The religious worker must prove that she/he has been a member of a specific religious denomination for at least two years and seeks admission to the US in order to carry out duties as a Minister or other religious worker for an organization in the US in the same religious denomination.

Further, the petitioning organization must show that the petitioner and the denomination to which the religious worker belongs to share the same ecclesiastical government or relate to a traditional religious function as recognized within the religious denomination.

Petitions must first be approved by USCIS; once this has been completed, visas will be issued following an interview at a foreign US Embassy.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate "sufficient ties" indicating their intent to return to their home country once their R visa expires at the time of visa application; however R visa holders are entitled to pursue US Permanent Residency (Green Cards) while residing in the United States with an R visa.

TN Visas: NAFTA Temporary Work Permit

TN visas are US temporary work permits granted to citizens of Canada and Mexico under terms specified by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Act). TN visa applicants must possess a valid job offer from a US company in a skilled occupation, typically requiring a Bachelor's Degree, in order to qualify for TN visa issuance.

Once granted, TN visa holders and their dependants are permitted to enter the US for a period of 1 year for the purpose of temporary employment.

While dependants will not be authorized to work, they may attend school or training programs while in the United States as a TN dependant. TN visas may also be renewed every year as long as the required employer sponsorship remains in place.

I Visas: Media Workers
The I visa is issued to bona fide representatives of the media who are under contract with a recognized foreign press, radio, film, or other media company and are being sent to the US on assignment.

In order to qualify for I visa issuance, the purpose of the US assignment must be to report/document "Informational Based Material" only. The production of staged events or programs of a purely entertainment value are not permitted under the I visa class.

I visas are issued through a foreign US Embassy and are typically valid for the duration of the assignment’s status with one-year extensions.

Dependants of I visa holders are eligible to receive derivative I visas in order to accompany the primary visa holder while in the United States.

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