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Who’s eligible for an I-visa?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Immigration

Whether the stay in California is short-term or the ultimate goal is citizenship, knowing the ins and outs of the immigration system is the key to an expedient, hassle-free process. The first step is understanding the requirements, criteria, and designations.

Not all visas have the same requirements

Although many elements of the immigration process are the same across the board, each category has its own specific requirements. For example, all immigrants regardless of long-term residency goals must submit paperwork in a timely manner. But, there are differences in length of stay and fees according to the type of visa.

Another part of the process for many is undergoing an in-person interview with immigration officials. However, even that can be bypassed if the applicant meets retain requirements.

Some examples include:

  • Children under the age of 14 (non-immigrant status only)
  • Anyone renewing a visa within 48 months of their current visa expiring
  • Active duty military and immediate family (non-immigrant status only)

It’s also possible to avoid the interview if the applicant is over 80 years of age or is applying for an emergency waiver due to a medical emergency (at any age).

Special visas for temporary workers

One of the more common types of visas are employment visas. But, even within that category, there are specific requirements for each type of employment. Visa lengths and fees also vary.

For example, migrant farm workers in California are classified as H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers. They can remain in the US for three years under a qualifying employment agreement that must be renewed in one-year increments.

Less common are I-visa applicants coming to the US to reform media-related jobs. These are categorized as Representatives of Foreign Media.

This category includes such occupations as:

  • Film crews
  • Reporters
  • Editors
  • Support staff

These visas are to work in that specific occupation during the stay in the US, but applicants can bring spouses and minor children. They must also work for a foreign media outlet with an office in their home country.