There are many reasons to visit the USA, e.g. tourism, business or investment. Poland is not covered by the Visa Waiver Program, hence Polish citizens must apply for appropriate visas to the USA. U.S. immigration law provides for a wide range of visa categories to meet the needs of individuals, businesses and non-governmental organizations. Before the journey, it is advisable to read immigration regulations carefully and seek legal advice in order not to expose yourself to violation of visa conditions, the consequences of which may be very severe and long-lasting.

The most popular and most often granted is a tourist or business visa B1/B2. This visa can be applied for by those persons who go to the USA for business, tourism or medical purposes. Importantly, if you go to the USA for business purposes, you are not allowed to work and gain income in the USA. A B1/B2 visa is intended for those persons who leave the USA only for a short period of time with the intention of leaving the USA at the declared date.

Exceeding the duration of stay may result in the cancellation of a visa and a ban on entry to the USA for up to 10 years. To obtain a B1/B2 visa, you are required to file an electronic DS-160 visa application with details of the journey and pay a $160 fee. An interview with a consul is also required. During the interview, the consul is obliged to determine whether the link with the applicant’s country of residence guarantees the applicant’s return from the USA, otherwise the consul may decide not to issue a visa. Besides the B1/B2 visa, U.S. visa law contains almost forty other visa categories.

Many of those categories enable a visa holder to  work or study at secondary or higher schools in the USA. Holders of certain types of visas such as investors – E-2 visa, entrepreneurs – E1 visa, or employees delegated to a branch of the company in the USA – L visa, can apply for permanent resident status in the USA and apply for permanent residence and a green card during their stay in the USA. A sufficiently long and legal stay in the USA based on a specific visa category makes it possible to apply for U.S. citizenship at a later stage. In addition to non-immigrant visas, U.S. immigration law also defines categories of immigration visas, the catalog of which is much smaller, largely intended for family members of U.S. citizens, such as IR1, CR1, K3 K-1 visas.

Moreover, they may be applied for by persons with whom the United States has close economic ties, e.g. investors – T-category visa. On the other hand, E1 and E2 visas are dedicated to people with extraordinary achievements in the field of science, education or art, as well as representatives of specific professions.

U.S. immigration law lays down many opportunities for people who want to get to know the USA, work or study in this country. In order not to be exposed to consequences of violating immigration law, you need to choose a visa category that will prevent you from refusing to obtain a visa, cancelling it or prohibiting entry to the USA.

attorney-at-law  Jarosław Kurpiejewski

Warsaw office:

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