Immigration has been an incredibly controversial topic in the news over the course of the last year. There is no way for a Virginia resident to avoid the ongoing debate over how to allow individuals to enter the United States and what to do with them if they arrive through illegal channels. However, the topic of immigration is much larger than just border controversies and family reunifications. Immigration law includes the application for and receipt of visas for many non-U.S. citizens.

A visa is effectively a document that allows a person to visit or reside in country where they do not have citizenship. Visas can be issued for a number of different purposes. College students may need to secure visas in order to travel abroad and study at foreign universities, and workers may need to get visas in order to move their employment overseas and work in different countries.

Visas can be issued for different lengths of time, depending upon the purposes for which they are granted. For example, a person who must travel to the United States in order to receive medical care may be granted a short-term visa if their procedure and recovery will resolve in a matter of weeks. A person who marries a U.S. citizen and wishes to reside in the United States indefinitely may seek to obtain a green card, a special form of visa that allows a person to live abroad permanently without becoming a citizen.

Getting a visa can be an important step for a person’s family or career. The process of seeking a visa can take time and it can benefit individuals to work with immigration lawyers to help them understand and work through the important requirements of the different visa processes.