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You need a visa, but what type?

You probably have heard many distressing stories about people from your country of origin entering the United States without valid documentation and living here for a time, then landing in a detention center when officials discover their undocumented statuses. Since you do not want that to happen to your family, and you have dreams of coming to Texas to live and perhaps start a business of your very own, you want to make sure you do everything by the book.

You also understand that the process by which you may successfully emigrate to the United States is often lengthy and tedious. However, if you gather as much information as you can and know just what type of visa you need to apply for, you may be able to lessen your wait time and obtain approval sooner than you might have thought.

How to know which visa best suits your particular situation

There are so many different types of visas. You want to make sure you apply for the one that coincides with your individual needs, goals and purpose for coming to the United States. The following list explains the most basic kinds of visas, which may help you finetune your search and determine what's best for your family:

  • If you hold a bachelor's degree or an equivalent (such as a certain amount of work experience), you may be eligible for this professional work non-immigrant visa.
  • If you plan to marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days, you can apply for a fiancé visa. This is a contingent visa, meaning you must fulfill your obligation to marry a U.S. citizen within the time frame given.
  • There are family-based visas where you may be sponsored by a relative of yours who is a U.S. citizen or already living in the United States as a permanent resident.
  • It is also sometimes possible to come to the United States without a visa if you are eligible for waiver status, which means you'd be permitted to enter and stay for up to 90 days with no visa. There are many restrictions to the program, however, and only those eligible may apply.

There are employment-based visas, visas offered on a lottery basis, and several other types that may help you achieve your goal of coming to the United States to build a new life or to carry out a specific mission. Of course, knowing what type of visa you need doesn't automatically make you immune to delays or obstacles in the immigration process.

Whether you plan to travel alone or with a spouse or children may also impact the overall process of requesting entrance into the United States. The good thing is, if your papers are all in order, you will likely be able to prevent many problems that others who enter without permission face. As a backup, you may still want to connect with someone who is well-versed in U.S. immigration law, such as an immigration advocate volunteer or an experienced immigration attorney.

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