It can often be very confusing trying to figure out where to start in the immigration process when applying for your visa for the first time. If you are confused and overwhelmed by the immigration process read on and hopefully with the help of this post and the video below I can help put you on the right path to getting the right visa for you. I know when I emigrated from Ireland many moons ago and went through the immigration process for the first time myself I did not know where to start and what sort of things I needed to be thinking about. That is what prompted me to become an Immigration Attorney and start so I could try and help others through this complex and often laborious process.


One of the first things you want to consider when getting a visa to the United States is what do you want that visa for? If you want to come and live and work in the U.S. permanently you will probably want to consider getting an immigrant visa also known as a green card. If you want to come to the US for a certain duration or for a certain purpose you will probably want to consider getting a non-immigrant visa. When  you decide what type of visa you want you are in fact deciding your intent and when you apply for that visa you are in fact showing your intent to the U.S. government. You must always make sure your intent corresponds with the type of visa for which you are applying however it should be noted that some visas actually allow you to have dual intent (such as a H-1A visa, H-1B visa and L visa categories). There are many more types of non immigrant visas available than there are green cards but most visas require someone or something to petition (file some paperwork for you). Again very generally speaking you can get most visas to the United States through a family member in the U.S., a job (including school) in the U.S, or through some sort of humanitarian reason. There are far too many different types of visas available to cover them all in this article and for a full review of you situation I would recommend contacting an Immigration Attorney. For a more detailed overview of some of the visas out there you can review and click on the relevant internal links or visit the government website for more information.

When applying for any type of visa or when changing the type of visa you have, you must be ‘admissible.’ This is a term of art in the immigration law and is codified in section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (s.212 of the INA). Again what exactly makes one inadmissible is too broad of a subject to cover in this short blog but generally speaking you can be found inadmissible under health grounds, financial grounds (ie that you will become a public burden), previous immigration violation, a criminal history and national security grounds. If one of these things apply it dos not necessarily mean that you cannot get a visa it just means that additional paperwork will have to be filed to get that requirement waived or so you can prove that the ground of inadmissibility does not apply. Something that is often linked to inadmissibility are the grounds of deportability or removability. These can be found under s.237 of the INA. These apply when someone already has their visa and they do something enumerated in the law that means the government can take that visa away.

I hope this article and video have helped you to understand some of the basic concepts that you need to understand when applying for any type of visa be it a tourist visa, a work visa or green card. As I said there is so much more to the immigration law and what hoops need to be jumped through before you can get a visa so I would recommend that you do yourself a favor and work with an immigration attorney to make the process as easy and stress free as possible as well as helping you to file the best application possible in your case.

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