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Individual Immigration

The United States has a long history of hosting people from foreign countries, some of whom stay and contribute to the diverse fabric of our country. Foreign nationals who enter the U.S. to be here permanently can technically be referred to as immigrants, and those who are here temporarily can technically be referred to as nonimmigrants.

“Immigration,” often used to refer to the entire topic of “people from foreign countries being in the U.S.” (whether or not their ultimate purpose is to stay permanently), has played a vital role in the economy and culture of Arkansas. Not only does our state attract families in search of the American dream, but businesses located here attract highly-skilled workers from around the globe.

There are two types of visas: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas:

  • An immigrant visa allows the bearer to be in the United States permanently – to live and to work.
  • A nonimmigrant visa allows the bearer to be in the United States temporarily for business, tourism, studies, or work.

Visas do not allow or guarantee entry into the U.S.; they only allow visitors to travel to a U.S. “port-of-entry” (generally an airport or land border) and then request permission to enter the country. Authority to permit or deny admission to the U.S. is held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

For general information about the complex processes required to obtain visas, read through these important tips and then click on the appropriate links below:

  • Never provide false or misleading information on applications or petitions, to consular officers, or in any other stage of the immigration process
  • Always make sure you are filling out the correct and current version of any form
  • It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you have questions, set up an immigration lawyer consultation with an attorney who practices this area of law
  • Approval of a petition does not guarantee that you will be issued a visa, and having a visa does not itself guarantee entry into the United States, so don’t make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa, and don’t do anything major like sell your house until you have been admitted
  • With some exceptions, spouses and unmarried minor children may apply for the same visa category as you (the person receiving the primary visa) in order to accompany or join you; you will have to show that you will be able to financially support them in the U.S.

Unless a visa is canceled or revoked, it is valid until its expiration date. This means that if you have an expired passport that contains a valid visa, bring both your expired passport and your new valid passport for travel and admission to the U.S. (but do not remove the visa from your expired passport.)