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Which visa do you need?

Planning to travel to Colorado from abroad can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Whether you will be arriving by yourself or with other family members, you can expect to encounter numerous challenges as you learn your way around your new community and adapt to a new culture.

If it will be your first time ever entering the U.S., you might be feeling a bit anxious about the whole thing; that's why it's important to build a strong support network ahead of time, so that you have people to turn to for guidance and encouragement along the way. One of the first basic steps to take when preparing to leave your country of origin is to determine which type of visa you need.

Immigrant or non-immigrant

If your stay in the United States will be temporary, you likely will be applying for a non-immigrant visa. This type of visa allows people to cross U.S. borders when they are coming here to study, for business reasons, medical treatment or as a specialty worker. You will need to determine which visa out of 20 categories best fits your needs.

If, on the other hand, you hope to remain in Colorado or another state on a permanent basis, you will need to navigate the immigrant visa process. There are more than 30 categories of immigrant visas.

The process

Once you determine which type of visa you need, you can begin the application process. This process typically begins by filing a petition to request your chosen visa. If you have erred in choosing the type of visa you need, it might result in an application denial or a significant delay.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will decide whether or not to approve your petition. If you receive notification of approval, then you will send your approved petition to the appropriate department and wait to receive an immigrant visa number.

Additional documents and fees

You will have more paperwork to fill out, as well as processing fees you must pay before obtaining a non-immigrant or immigrant visa. If you are applying for a visa from abroad, you will also have to visit a consulate or U.S. embassy for an immigration interview. 

If problems arise

Any number of things can go wrong to delay or prevent you from getting a visa. Then again, even if you obtain a visa, various legal issues may arise down the line, especially if you are still in this country when your visa expires and you fail to take the proper steps toward renewal.

Many immigrants avoid legal status complications by staying closely connected to experienced legal advocates who can provide strong support for any and all problems that arise.

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