Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant US Visa Lawyer


With 60+ experienced lawyers and professional legal staff and a combination of over 50 years of immigration experience, Spar & Bernstein has helped tens of thousands of people obtain a nonimmigrant visa to come to the US.

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Whether you’re visiting the US for tourism, work, business or schooling, our nonimmigrant visa lawyers at Spar & Bernstein will identify the right type of visa, help you fill out the documentation you need to apply and prepare you for your interview.


Nonimmigrant visas are granted to foreign nationals who want to enter the US on a temporary visit for:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Medical treatment
  • Work
  • Schooling


There are over 20 different types of nonimmigrant visas for people who seek to enter the US on a temporary basis.

Some of the most common visa types include:

  • B-1 visa (Business nonimmigrant visa): This visa is granted to individuals who want to attend a conference, negotiate a contract, consult with business associates or settle an estate in the US. It is also used for professional and amateur athletes who compete for prize money, as well as domestic employees and nannies accompanying a foreign national employer.
  • B-2 visa (Tourist visa): This visa is granted to individuals who want to visit the US for a social event, medical treatment or to take part in an amateur contest.
  • Transit C visa: This visa is granted to foreigners whose destination is another country, but they travel through and stop in the US as part of their travel.
  • Transit C-1, D, C-1/D visa: This visa is granted to crew members of international airlines or sea vessels traveling to the US
  • F-1 visa: This visa is granted to international students who come to the US to pursue academic studies full-time.
  • M-1 visa: This visa is granted to international students who come to the US to pursue vocational studies full-time.
  • J-1 visa (Exchange Visitor Program visa): This visa is granted to foreign nationals who come to the US to take part in study-based or work-based exchange programs such as research assistants, camp counselors, internships, or visiting scholars.
  • Q visa: This visa is granted to visitors who come to the US on an international cultural exchange.
  • E visa: This visa is granted to treaty investors and treaty traders.
  • O visa: This visa is granted to foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in business, athletics, sciences, education or arts.
  • I visa: This visa is granted to journalists and media.
  • H-1B visa: This visa is granted to professionals and specialty occupations in sectors that require highly specialized knowledge.
  • H-2A visa: This visa is granted to temporary workers in the agricultural sector.
  • H-2 B visa: This visa is granted to non-agricultural temporary or seasonal workers.
  • H-3 visa: This visa is granted to people who enter the US for training that is not primarily associated with employment.
  • R visa: This visa is granted to religious workers.

Keep in mind that the issuance of a visa in and of itself does not guarantee entry to the United States. Contact our immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein to help you find the right type of visa and gain entry into the US


To apply for a business or tourism visa to the US:

  1. Check if you need a visa (if your country is a part of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you may not need one).
  2. Identify the type of visa you need. Certain visas will require an application with USCIS.
  3. Apply for your visa at the US Embassy or at the Consulate in your country (the process may vary depending on the country)
  • Submit Form D-160
  • Submit a photo
  • Pay the application fee

4. Attend an interview.


A Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program that allows foreign nationals from 40 participating countries to travel to the US for business or tourism without a visa, for a maximum of 90 days.

To apply for the program, you must have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval and meet certain requirements for eligibility.

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What Are Visitor Visas

Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals who want to enter the US for tourism (visa B-2), business (visa B-1) or a combination of both (B-1/B-2).

A B-1 visa can cover situations including:

  • Contract negotiation
  • Consultations with business associates
  • Estate settlement
  • Attendance of a convention or conference of a scientific, educational, professional or business nature

A B-2 visa is used for:

  • Tourism
  • Visit with friends or relatives
  • Participation in social events hosted by social, fraternal or service organizations
  • Vacation
  • Medical treatment
  • Amateur participation in sports, musical or similar events or contests, if the participant does not receive payment for participating
  • Short recreational courses, such as a two-day cooking class while on vacation

At Spar & Bernstein, our experienced immigration attorneys will determine the exact type of visa you need to enter the US.

When Is A Visitor Visa Not Permitted?

You are not allowed to enter the US on a visitor visa, if you are coming for:

  • Employment
  • Study
  • Performances before a paying audience
  • Work as a ship or aircraft crewmember
  • Work as information media including foreign press, radio, film and print journalism
  • Permanent residence in the US

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for a visitor visa, contact Spar & Bernstein to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer to review your situation and explain your options.

What Documents Do I Need When Applying For A Visitor Visa?

When applying for a visitor visa, check the instructions on the US Embassy website or the Consulate where you apply.

You may be requested to submit evidence of:

  • Your trip’s purpose
  • Your ability to pay all trip costs
  • Your intent to leave the US after the trip

As evidence of your intention to return to your home country, you may show an employment contract or a document proving you have family members in your home country.

If you are unable to pay for all trip costs, you may show proof that another person will cover some of the expenses.

Do I Need An Invitation Letter To Apply For A Visitor Visa?

To apply for a visitor visa, you do not need to submit a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support. Even if you bring these documents to the interview, they will not serve as a factor to deny or issue your visa.

What Documents Do I Need If I Am Traveling To The US For Medical Treatment?

If you are traveling to the US for medical treatment, you may need to bring additional documents at your interview, including:

  • A medical diagnosis from a local physician, providing information about your ailment and the reason you need treatment in the US
  • A letter from a medical facility or physician or in the US, stating they are willing to treat your ailment and estimating the projected overall cost of treatment and length of treatment.
  • Evidence that your medical and living expenses in the US, along with your transportation costs, will be covered. This may include income and saving statements, certified copies of an income tax return for yourself, another person or an organization that is paying for your treatment.

What Type Of Visa Do I Need If I Want To Study In The United States?

You must have a student visa in order to study in the US The type of school you will be attending and your course of study will determine if you need an M visa or an F visa.

An F visa is typically used for:

  • High school
  • University or college
  • Conservatory
  • Private elementary school
  • Seminary

An M visa is required for vocational schools or other accredited nonacademic institutions, other than a language training program.

Contact our knowledgeable immigration lawyers at Spar & Bernstein to help determine which type of visa you need.

What Documents Do I Need When Applying For A Student Visa?

When applying for a student visa, you may need to submit additional documents along with your application, such as:

  • Evidence of your academic achievements, including diplomas, certificates, degrees or standardized test scores required by your US school
  • Proof of your intent to leave the US once you complete your studies
  • Evidence of how you are going to pay for your educational, living and travel costs

Does A Visa Guarantee My Entry To The US?

A visa allows foreign nationals to reach a US port-of-entry (typically an airport) and request permission to enter the country. It does not guarantee entry into the US.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have the authority to permit or deny admission into the US.

What Does Visa Validity Mean?

Your visa must be valid at the time you want to be admitted into the US Visa validity will allow you to cross the border to the US and is not related to the length of time the Department of Homeland Security will allow you to stay in the country.

If you have a multiple-entry visa, you may make repeated trips to the US as long as your visa is valid and you are eligible to enter the country.

What Should I Do If My Visa Will Expire While I’m In The United States?

If your documents were checked at the port-of-entry and you were admitted to the US, officials noted your authorized period of stay on Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, or on your admission stamp.

Even if your visa expires while you are in the United States, you will be allowed to remain in the country for your authorized period of stay.

Note that you should keep your admission stamp or Form I-94 inside your passport because it serves as an official record of your permission to be in the US.

Can I Extend My Stay In The US Past The Time Indicated On My I-94 Form?

If you would like to stay in the US beyond the authorized period of time noted on your I-94 form, you can apply for an extension by submitting Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Our experienced immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein can help you file this form and extend your stay.

What Should I Do If I Lost My Form I-94?

If you lose your Form I-94 that serves as evidence of your permission to be in the US, you should apply for a replacement form by submitting Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document.

At Spar & Bernstein, one of our knowledgeable nonimmigrant visa attorneys can help you with the process.

How Can I Change My Nonimmigrant Status If I Entered The US With A Visitor Visa?

If you are already in the US and want to change the purpose of your visit, you must submit a request with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while your authorized stay is still valid.

For example, you may have entered the US as a tourist but you want to stay to attend school.

Apply as soon as you decide you want to change your nonimmigrant category.

Until you receive authorization to change your status, do not change your activity in the United States. If you do not comply with this and start attending school, for example, you may risk deportation and be barred from returning to the US.

Do I Need To Apply For A Visa Again If My Nonimmigrant Visa Is About To Expire?

If you have a valid visa that is about to expire, you need to apply again. In some cases, you may not need to attend another interview.

For more information, consult the US Embassy or Consulate website or contact us at Spar & Bernstein to consult with a nonimmigrant visa lawyer for help.

Who Is Eligible For The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

To be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, you must:

  • Be allowed to travel with a tourist (B type) visa
  • Be a citizen or national of a designated country
  • Have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval
  • Have an e-passport with an embedded electronic chip
  • Have a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months after your planned departure from the US

When Should I Apply For A Visa Instead Of Using The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

You should apply for a visa instead of using the VWP when you:

  • Are not eligible for VWP travel
  • Have no authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to your travel
  • Intend to stay in the US for longer than 90 days
  • Will be traveling on a private aircraft
  • Will be traveling by an air or sea carrier that is not approved by the VWP

What Types of Immigration Lawyers Spar & Bernstein Has?

Experienced Leader in Immigration and Injury Law

Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.

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