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Know Your Rights with Immigration Law

The proper visa type depends on your eligibility as visitor, employee, student, or citizen.


The B-1 Visa is right for those planning to enter to the United States to engage in temporary, business-related activities. Permissible business activities include conventions, conferences, consultations, and other legitimate commercial and professional activities.

It is important to note that this category does not allow individuals to engage in local employment for hire within the United States.

B-1 Visas Allow the Visa holder: any participation in educational, professional, and scientific meetings and conferences; negotiating contracts, meeting with business associates.


The B-2 Visa is right for those planning to visit the United States for pleasure. Tourism, social visits, short-term visits for medical treatment and participation in non-commercial sports and other pleasure events such as running a marathon are covered in this category. Typically, the B2 Visa is good for six months but can be shortened and extended by authorities.


Thousands of foreign students enter the United States each year to pursue studies in our country. To distinguish are three major student visa forms.

The F-1 Visa allows foreign students to pursue academic studies in the United States, e.g. pursue a Master of Law (LLM) at a U.S. law school. The M-1 Visa addresses vocational students.

It is important to know that the Department of Homeland Security requires students applying for an F-1 or M-1 Visa to provide documentation of admission to a program that has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Immigration law requires that the students are good faith students (i.e. seriously pursue the studies they applied for), do not have an intent to immigrate to the United States at the time of entry, and are able to prove their financial independence (i.e. will not use U.S. social welfare).

Visa Waiver

Citizens from certain countries qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Citizens of the designated countries are permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days to visit the United States without engaging in paid employment. A list of qualifying countries is published on the Department of State website.

Requirements are that the visitors have no intent to immigrate but to purely visit the United States, hold a valid passport of a qualifying VWP country. Further applicants must apply through an online travel authorization program, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), prior to entering the United States.


A United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), formerly Alien Registration Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS Form I-151), is an identification card that permits foreign citizens to permanently reside in the United States.

The colloquial name “GreenCard” stems from the fact that between 1946 and 1964 and then since May 2010, the color of the authorization card was and is green. GreenCard holders are allowed to reside and to work in the United States. Under certain circumstances, the GreenCard status can be removed.

Green cards were formerly issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The Homeland Security Act of 2002 separated INS into three components within the Department of Homeland Security. The first, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is in charge of applications for immigration benefits. The other two agencies are the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), respectively.
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