Moving to the United States takes a lot of preparation. Whether you want to work, accompany your spouse, or participate in an exchange program, you will need a visa. There are several types and the procedures are quite complex, so it is important to know which visa is best suited to your situation.
The United States is not a European country, you will need the ESTA to set foot in the United States. ESTA is an electronic travel authorization that allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days. This document is intended for a tourist stay, so you will not be able to exercise a professional activity, or even do an internship with ESTA. However, this will allow you to spend a few weeks in the country before making the decision to move there.
Visas in the United States are of several types, we distinguish the immigrant visa, also called green card, from the non-immigrant visa. This allows you work permit and study in the United States for a fixed period.
- (B) Visitor: Business, tourism, medical care. Allows you to stay in the United States for up to 6 months for business meetings, medical treatment, or visiting family.
- (C) Transit: for people traveling between two countries, having their connection in the United States.
- (K) Fiancé Visa: This visa allows a foreign fiancé to an American citizen to stay in the United States before marriage. The marriage must take place within 90 days of the arrival of the foreign person. It is safer to apply for this visa rather than entering the territory as a tourist. Indeed, the government could have doubts about the foreign person and not grant him the green card.
- (F) / (M) University students: intended for students enrolled in an American school.
- (J) Exchange program: for participants in an exchange program.
- (D) Crew member: people serving on board a ship or plane need this visa (flight attendant, pilot, cook, etc.)
- Media and journalists: For foreign media filming in the United States.
- (E) Treaty Investor: you must invest at least $ 500,000 to obtain this visa which gives entitlement to the green card after 1 year.
- Temporary workers or interns: visit our working in the United States page for more information.
As for the fees for a visa application, they are $ 190 for applicants for a temporary work permit, $ 205 for an E visa, $ 265 for a K visa and $ 160 for other types of visas.
Get the Green Card
The green card is the key to residing and working in the United States without going through the visa box. To remove conditions on your green card, you need to fill out form I-751. There are several ways to get the green card:
- Sponsorship by an American employer: this method is the fastest but requires your employer to meet the request. In theory, you have to prove that you are the only person qualified for this job in order to protect American workers. If you are recognized internationally for your extraordinary talent in the arts, sciences, education, business or sports, you will have a better chance of becoming a permanent resident in the United States.
- Family sponsorship: if a member of your immediate family is a US citizen, you can obtain the green card by sponsoring you.
- By investing in the United States: you will have to invest at least $ 500,000 to obtain permanent residence
- The lottery: luck does things well as they say, each year 50,000 green cards are offered to foreign nationals who participate in the draw, including 500 French. To participate in this lottery, go to the government website, Lottery.
You should know that the deadlines for obtaining are very long, between 2 and 8 years depending on your situation. It is advisable to use a specialist lawyer for the administrative procedures.