Visas laws & HR compliance analysis

Visas: What you need to know

Visas allow foreign nationals (persons from other countries) to enter the United States for a variety of reasons such as work, school, and travel. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the governmental body that oversees the issuing and enforcement of visas pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), (U.S. Code Title 8); however, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) may also be involved in the administration of these immigration laws.
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There are two kinds of visas: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas.
Immigrant visas. An immigrant visa is a visa issued to persons wishing to live permanently in the United States. To become a legal, permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, a foreign national must first be admitted as an immigrant.
There are several types of immigrant visas. The two primary ones are:
• Visas granted based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and
• Visas based on employment in the United States.
Employees who are issued immigrant visas are free to change employers.
Green cards. The document that is commonly referred to as a green card is officially known as the Permanent Resident Card, or Form I-551. This document is issued to all foreign nationals who have qualified for permanent residence and it serves as proof that the holder is authorized to live and work in the United States. The Permanent Resident Card can be used to prove employment eligibility in the United States when completing Form I-9 for a new employer. It can also be used to apply for a Social Security card and a state-issued driver’s license. ...

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