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How to still get U.S. visas under Trump

Within a year of taking office, U.S. President Trump issued orders banning travel to the U.S. from certain countries and purportedly supported proposed law to reduce legal migration. How do you get the visa you want under the current climate?

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on December 26, 2017; updated December 26, 2017

How to still get U.S. visas under Trump

Purpose of travel: temporary or permanent

People apply for visas with a reason or purpose – real, imagined, or made up.  Whatever it is, the purpose falls only under two main categories: temporary or permanent.  If the intended visit is temporary, the official or legal term is “Nonimmigrant.” For individuals seeking to stay permanently in the United States – to join family members already U.S. citizens or green card holders – or start working for a qualified U.S. employer that has filed and obtained the required visa petition.

How to still get into the U.S. under new visa policies

Visa policies or regulations are made and implemented after the U.S. Congress passes a particular piece of legislation.  Then the final version of a consolidated bill is sent to the President for signature.

Congress creates, amends or eliminates laws. The Executive branch creates the regulations that implement the laws as intended.

Anytime there appears to be a conflict between legislative intent and implementation, the Courts step in to interpret the laws.

Some cases change the original legislation as written when the Supreme Court issues a final decision on a contested case.

Subsequently, depending on the political mood, campaign promises and policies created by a new administration, Congress may introduce new laws either reflecting or rejecting the Court’s interpretation and the process repeats itself.

President Trump’s campaign promises and policies

U.S. President Donald Trump came into office with a long list of campaign promises affecting immigration, jobs and the current relationship between immigrants and U.S. citizens.

Because politics is the expression of economics, the country’s employment figures, trade balances, national and international obligations, issues of national interests are reflected in laws being passed.

In the absence of new laws, or a deadlock on how to create or replace existing ones, the newly-elected or current administration has the ability – in fact, a constitutionally mandated duty – to affect the implementation of an existing law by issuing regulations ample through Executive Orders.

Mr. Trump won the presidency mainly on bread and butter issues capsulized in short, simple, understandable slogans:  build a wall along the Mexican border(and making Mexico pay for it, to stop immigrants from coming in;  bar Muslims from entering the country and immediately deport millions of immigrants with criminal records on the very first day he assumes office as President of the United States.

Now global companies including Silicon Valley leaders report difficulty in getting foreign workers because of the uncertainty surrounding the H-1B lottery visa program. Instead a number of IT companies are setting up offices elsewhere.  Entrepreneurs and investors are having a hard time applying for green cards – and also find Canada a more welcoming place.  International students virtually barred from the UK and turned off by the visa policies of Australia and New Zealand mimicking the “America First” doctrine of Mr. Trump are considering either Ireland, other European or Asian countries where they would not be considered second-class residents.

Not a single inch or foot of the promised “great, beautiful wall along the Mexican border that Mexico will pay for” had been built. But the rhetoric, matched by Executive Orders  and legislative intent had served as the virtual wall that has kept visa applicants out - or still waiting for their visas to be issued.

Under existing laws and restrictive immigration regulations, how do you apply for and enhance your chance of getting the visa you want or need?

Personal interview needed, waived or not necessary

Whether the visa being applied for is for a temporary visit or permanent residency, personal interviews are required for each visa applicant.  Some visa categories are exempt, such as those who may qualify for visa renewal or children whose parents or legal guardians would have to appear for the interview.

The ABCs of visa application under President Trump

  • Application process
  • Billing or Payment Options
  • Completion of visa application forms
  • Documents required
  • Entry after visa issuance
  • Further stay
  • Get a change of status
  • Have family members join you
  • Immigrant Status and Retention

For details of the ABCs, click here - https://www.visacenter.org/page/839/the-abcs-of-visa-application-under-the-new-rules

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. When you apply at a U.S embassy or consulate, a consular officer will determine based on laws, whether you are eligible to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate.\

For the benefit of the immigrant public and their families, we are providing the U.S. visa categories published by the State Department (below)

Nonimmigrant Visa Categories

The chart below contains many different purposes of temporary travel and the related nonimmigrant visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more: (the specifics of how to apply for one).

Purpose of Travel

Visa Category

Required: Before applying for visa*

Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)



Au pair (exchange visitor)



Australian professional specialty



Border Crossing Card: Mexico



Business visitor



CNMI-only transitional worker






Diplomat or foreign government official




Domestic employee or nanny - must be accompanying a foreign national employer



Employee of a designated international organization or NATO

  G1-G5, NATO


Exchange visitor



Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States



Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics



Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
Chile, Singapore

H-1B1 - Chile
H-1B1 - Singapore


International cultural exchange visitor



Intra-company transferee



Medical treatment, visitor for



Media, journalist



NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada



Performing athlete, artist, entertainer




J , H-1B


Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)



Religious worker



Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge



Student: academic, vocational

F, M


Temporary agricultural worker



Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.



Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor



Training in a program not primarily for employment



Treaty trader/treaty investor



Transiting the United States



Victim of Criminal Activity



Victim of Human Trafficking



Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)



Renewals in the U.S. - A, G, and NATO Visas



*What the abbreviations above mean - Before applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the following is required:

  • DOL = The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
  • USCIS = U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
  • SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • (NA) = Not Applicable - Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa

Important Notes:

  • About this chart – It is not a complete list of all travel purposes for the visa category. Select a visa category webpage for more information. The chart lists almost all nonimmigrant visa categories, with the exception of several not listed above. Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 402.1 for all nonimmigrant visa categories.
  • Canadian NAFTA Professional workers – A visa not required; apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at border port of entry.
  • K nonimmigrant visas – For U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and spouse for immigration related purposes. Refer to Immigrant Visa Categories.

Immigrant Visa Categories

The chart below contains different purposes for immigrating to the United States, and the related immigrant visa categories for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored

Visa Category

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen 

IR1, CR1

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition

K-3 *

Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S.

K-1 *

Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens

IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4

Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens

IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4

Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents

F2A, F2B

Employer Sponsored – Employment

Employment-Based Immigrants, including  (preference group):

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]

E3, EW3
C5, T5, R5, I5
S (many**)

Religious Workers


Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters


Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government


Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government


Other Immigrants

Diversity Immigrant Visa


Returning Resident




Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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