To enter and stay in the U.S., a visa is required. Many countries have a visa waiver program which applies if the person from that country will only stay for a short while, for example, as a tourist. To stay for a longer period of time or to obtain the right to work, an appropriate visa for a specific purpose must be acquired.
There are several types of visa available for consideration when seeking to visit, live and/or work within the United States. The most common are tourist, visitor, student, work or investor visas. Permanent immigration, also known as ‘Greencard’, is difficult to obtain as it is necessary to be sponsored by a company or a U.S. citizen, usually a spouse or close blood relative. Some companies will sponsor a foreign employee when he or she shows interest in staying in the U.S. but it may take years to be considered and meanwhile, the employee will have to use one of the work visas.
It is critical to know under what circumstances you are entering the U.S. and choose the appropiate visa for your purpose.
If you are still located in your home country when starting the process, you will have to contact the U.S. consulate for assistance in obtaining the visa. If located in the U.S., you will have to contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Please always check with the USCIS for current visa requirements or process due to changes which may occur.
Their website (http://www.uscis.gov) has all necessary information and forms available that you will need to apply for a visa or change your status while in the U.S.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can also be reached by phone: 800-375-5283.