Types of Immigrant Visas



Foreign citizens wishing to immigrate to America or live permanently in the United States must adhere to the immigration laws set forth by the federal government. Per immigration laws, there are very specific standards and procedures that must be completed in order for an immigrant visa to be considered, filed, processed, or approved. Specific procedures apply to certain visas, so to ensure that your visa is completed properly and to avoid penalties, consult an immigration lawyer from Catherine R. Henin-Clark, P.A. as soon as possible.


Visas are typically always awarded abroad at a U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy. It is not possible to obtain a visa once in the United States, so it is vital to plan ahead and ensure a visa is issued before coming to the U.S. No matter what type of immigrant visa you are applying for, the process is generally time consuming, and requires the filing of documents, applications, and fees. In order to avoid any costly mistakes, or put yourself at risk for deportation or any sort of immigration crime, it is highly suggested that you schedule appointments with your U.S. Consulate to successfully acquire an immigrant visa. There are many types of immigrant visas that an immigration attorney from Catherine R. Henin-Clark, P.A. can assist you in, and you can read more about below.

Family-Sponsored Visas

Family-sponsored visas are for immigrants who wish to come to America and can prove that a lawful permanent resident or citizen is an immediate relative and can sponsor or support you when in the U.S. Most sponsors will be asked to prove financial stability and accept the legal responsibility of taking care of you financially by means of signing an Affidavit of Support. Other family-sponsored visas can include Spousal or fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen, which now allows same-sex spouses to apply for family-sponsored visas due to recent reforms to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Work-Related Visas

Prior to even being considered for a work-related or employment based visa, an applicant's prospective employer must first obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor for the applicant. Once the certification is obtained and approved, the employer can petition for a specific visa for the employee. Employment based visas can include extraordinary ability visas, outstanding professors or researchers, or multinational managers or executives, skilled or unskilled workers, or investor visas.

Special Immigrant Visas

Individuals who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator or interpreter and are of Iraqi or Afghan nationality can apply for special immigrant visas. Demand for this specific type of visa exceeded the limits as of last year. Even though the annual capacity for special immigrant visas has been reached, the National Visa Center can still process and schedule interviews and hearings for this type of visa. It should be noted that just because you have applied for a visa does not guarantee or grant you access to the U.S., so it is advised that you do not give up employment, property, or assets unless you have been officially granted your U.S. immigrant visa.

Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa Program)

Not everyone can attain immigrant visas in the same manner as others. The Diversity Visa Program -also known as the Green Card Lottery - for example, caps off at a certain number of applicants, and admits even less into the U.S. The Green Card Lottery allows a certain number of immigrants' visas and are drawn randomly from applicants' countries of origin with low rates of immigration to the U.S.


If you are considering coming to the United States for work, or to join your relative, spouse, or fiancé(e) in the U.S., you need the assistance of a legal professional who can help your visa process move smoothly and efficiently. Scheduling an appointment to petition your immigrant visa could be the first step to naturalization / citizenship or the first step to accomplishing your personal goals, so contact Catherine R. Henin-Clark, P.A. to schedule your initial case evaluation. If your native language is French or Spanish, we are speak your language!