Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
901 D Street, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Founded on the belief that newly arriving populations have inherent capabilities when given opportunities, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides people in need with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office
176 Gannett Drive
South Portland, Maine 04106
This office services the entire state of Maine.
United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) is in charge issuing temporary visas to visitors, as well as issuing permanent visas to those who wish to immigrate and live within the United States. Because each case is different, it is important to consult an immigration professional. These professionals will help you navigate the immigration system and help you determine which type of visa suits you best.
The USCIS website, provides all the necessary paperwork and forms, along with the necessary instructions. But individual cases can be complicated, so a consultation with a professional is important. Many law offices offer free or cheap initial consultation to help you with your case. Please see below for a list of law offices that can help you.
Nonimmigrant visas, Business Visitor Visa (B-1)
A B-1 visa is generally issued for the purpose of conducting business in a relatively short time period, such as a conference or a convention. A B-1 visa does not authorize employment within the United States.
Pleasure, Tourism, Medical Treatment Visitor Visa (B-2)
A B-2 visa is issued to individuals traveling to the United States for recreation and amusement or to those seeking medical treatment within the United States.
Student Visas (F-1, M-1, J)
These visas are offered to individuals who are attending some type of academic educational program full-time, or are taking part in a cultural exchange program. F-1 visas are issued to students who wish to attend a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or other academic institutions, including a language-training program. An M-1 visa is issued to those attending a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language-training program. While a J visa is issued to those partaking in a cultural exchange program.
Temporary Worker Visas (E, H, L, O, P)
There are numerous types of temporary visas and the appropriate visa depends upon an individual’s skill level and the work they will be completing while in the United States. An individual is only authorized to work for petitioning employer. Find out more information about temporary worker visas here.
Nonimmigrant visas are issued to individuals who are traveling to the United States for business or pleasure, along with students and some workers. Those wishing to obtain a visitor visa should apply at an Embassy or Consulate in their home country, well in advance of their intended trip. Part of the visa process will require an interview to be conducted at the Embassy or Consulate, which is to be conducted prior to the trip. The State Department further outlines the necessary documentation and fees.
Those interested in traveling to the United States for 90 business days or fewer may qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. A list of the participating countries and more information about the program can be found here.
It’s important to note that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. When entering the United Sates, an official from United States Customs and Border Control will inspect a visa, and determine the length of time that a visitor is able to spend within the United Sates. The visitor will then be issued a 1-94 card, which documents a visitors authorized stay; it’s important that this card be kept with the individual’s passport.
Once a person has been admitted to the United States, it is possible to extend their visa by an additional six months. It is necessary to reapply to USCIS. More information can be found here.
Immigrant visas and Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card)
Except in the case of an individual granted asylum or a refugee status, it is necessary to obtain a visa before immigrating to the United States. In order to obtain an immigrant visa, it is necessary to have either a family or business sponsor. It’s important to note, that the approval of an immigrant visa does not automatically allow the individual to come to the United States. There are a limited number of visas available and an enormous backlog. The approved visa application is prioritized based on its filing date.
The process of receiving an immigrant visa is similar to receiving a nonimmigrant visa. Complete information can be found on the State Department website.
There are three major immigrant types: Family Sponsored, Employee Sponsored, and Special Immigrants, which include Iraqis and Afghans working for or with the United States government and religious workers.
Immigration Through Family
In order to immigrate to the United States through a family sponsor it is first necessary to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, which is to be filed by the sponsoring relative. Then it is necessary for the sponsoring relative to show that they can financially support their immigrant relative by signing a legal document known as an Affidavit of Support. Then the visa application process can begin, which is fully outlined on the State Department website.
Immigration Through Employment and Special Immigrants
In order to immigrate based on employment it is necessary to have an employer sponsor. The sponsoring employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or Form I-140. There are five categories of employment visas available ranging from E1 priority works that possess extraordinary ability, to E5 immigrant investors. E1 visas are given highest priority for the 120,000 work visas available, while E5 visas are given the lowest priority.
An E4 visa is for special immigrants, and requires an additional Petition Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or Form I-360.
For specific information concerning business sponsored immigration visas, visit the State Department website.