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Options For Central Americans Seeking A US Visa

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Firm News

Most of the countries located in Central America have rather unstable economies or are faced with unstable political climates. That’s why many of the people living in these countries opt to immigrate to a different country. The commonly preferred choice is the United States of America.

However, the USA also has some strong immigration laws in place. Oftentimes the people looking for a visa can go about it all wrong and be rejected right off the bat just because they did not apply for the appropriate visa. It’s why it is advisable for anyone coming from the Central Americas to the USA to seek legal counsel before applying for a visa. At Hans Burgos, we offer all kinds of legal advice related to immigration.

Who We Are

The staff at our firm is well-versed in all aspects of immigration law. This means that anyone from Central America that is interested in coming to the US can call on us for advice. We deal and provide assistance with obtaining all types of visas, namely family-based visas, Green Card applications, corporate immigration, non-immigrant employment-based visas, temporary visas, and even deportation and removal defense.

That being said, there are several options available for the people of Central America that are looking to come to the USA.

Visa Possibilities

The first thing a person from any of the Central American countries needs to consider is the type of visa they are after. If they are after a temporary visa or are looking for a non-immigrant visa, there is one procedure to follow, and if they are looking into getting an immigrant visa and are planning on applying for a Green Card/permanent US residency, that is a completely different thing.

It is not a rare occurrence for people from Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador, or even Guatemala to look for seasonal work in the USA, and apply for seasonal work. The non-immigrant visas usually granted are H-2A and H-2B visas, the H-1B and L1 visa, but the latter two have to be sponsored by a company and granted to people already having a bachelor’s degree. Also, the holders of an H-1B and L1 visa can apply to change their status to a permanent residency. So, there are some legal obstacles to overcome.

What Visas Should Central American Nationals Apply For?

If a person from any of the Central American countries is looking to spend time in the USA, then they should refrain from applying for a temporary work visa, and instead, apply for an immigrant visa. Even though the process is lengthier and more costly, it is usually more effective.

There are four main immigrant visa categories:

  • Family Reunification
  • Long-Term Work
  • Special Immigrant Status
  • Refugee Admission

The first one category, the family reunification means that a US citizen can petition for an immigrant visa to be granted to a spouse, unmarried children younger than 21, parents, fiancé, married children, and brothers/sisters.

Also, holders of a legal permanent US residency can apply for a visa for their spouse or unmarried children. However, for any of these applications to be eligible, there must be significant proof accompanied by the appropriate visa application.

If anyone from a Central American country is looking to come to the US and work, they should apply for a long-term work visa. This is one of the easiest ways to get legal status and have the option to apply for a Green Card/permanent residency.

The best way is to get an EB-1 visa or First Preference visa, which is for people with extraordinary abilities in various areas. EB-2 and EB-3 visas are also possible, but very few people from Central American countries actually receive these.

The special immigrant status is actually the Green Card lottery system the US Government has in place. This program grants 50.000 visas to people that are randomly selected from countries with low-level immigration towards the USA. So, to apply and actually get a US Green Card, you need to be very lucky indeed.

Refugee admission is another way people from Central American countries can get access to the USA. There are many legal issues to overcome with this application, and it requires quite a lot of things to prove before anyone is granted refugee status in the US.

This is just a basic overview of the possibilities people from Central American countries have in order to get a US immigrant visa. For more information, feel free to contact us at any time or visit our Coral Gables office. We’ll be happy to answer any possible questions related to your options in obtaining a visa, a Green Card, or permanent US residency.