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Immigration
What is a Visa?



What is a Visa?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    beforehand, databases, documentation, educational, employee-sponsored, employment-based, Family-based, nonimmigrant, potentially, prior, residency, underage, valid, economic, employment, status
     content words:    United States, Homeland Security, Since September, Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, Green Card Lottery


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What is a Visa?
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     If you are a citizen of the United States, when you hear the word visa, you probably think of a credit card company. If you applied the word to the immigration process in the United States, you would think of a visa in a different light. Technically, it is a document that potentially allows the holder to enter a country for a certain reason and amount of time.
 
2     Illegal immigrants are not legally in the United States. They are not in possession of a visa that authorizes them to be in the country for a certain reason and a particular time. Holding a visa allows you to go to a legal port of entry and ask the immigration offer for permission to legally enter.
 
3     Most people from other countries need a visa to legally enter the United States. There are two categories of U.S. visas. There are immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. Nonimmigrant visas are for those who want to be here temporarily to visit, for medical reasons, for business purposes, for temporary work, or for school. However, they still will keep a residence elsewhere. Immigrant visas are the documents for those who want to be here permanently.
 
4     Holding a visa doesn't guarantee entry into the United States. It does show, though, that the holder applied at an embassy or consulate, and that a U.S. consular officer has approved that the holder is eligible to enter for a certain reason. Then when the holder of the visa reaches the country, an immigration officer makes the decision on entrance and time frame for how long the person can stay in the U.S.
 
5     The United States promotes the theme, "Secure borders. Open doors." The idea is to make sure those who enter are legally here. Security has been increased to keep both citizens and visitors safe. Yet, the country still wants visitors to be welcomed, believing that they add to the cultural, educational, and economic aspects of the country.

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