In most cases, to enter the United States you must obtain a visa. As a visitor, you are a guest in the United States, so while here, you must adhere to the laws of your own country and most certainly to the laws of the United States. As a visa holder, you will have full access to most basic rights with the exception of the right to vote in elections, hold public office and other things of that nature. However, the U.S. visa policy does permit citizens from certain countries to enter without a visa . To find out more information on whether you are required to have a visa for entry, please visit the Web site listed below or contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country.
What kinds of visas are available?
There are numerous types of visas available. Depending on your position and the requirements of your company, your employer will apply for the appropriate visa for you and your family. Please review the lists below for the types of visas available. It is strongly recommended you contact an immigration attorney and/or the Immigration and Naturalization Service for further details.
Visa Types for Visitors:
- Border Crossing Card – Mexican Travellers
- Exchange Visitors
- Temporary Workers Overview
- Media and Journalists
- Visa Renewals
- Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker
Visa Types for Immigrants
- Immediate relatives
- Special Immigrants
- Family sponsored
- Employer sponsored
What is required to obtain these visas?
The United States has updated its visa policies to increase security, so you will find stricter security measures in place. It is recommended that you contact your nearest consulate or embassy, or an immigration attorney to find out specific details for your country. This is a very detailed process and you must be confident that it has been done correctly and legally so that no problems occur later.
Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Whether your spouse can work depends on the type of visa you hold. There have been recent laws passed that may affect your spouse’s ability to work. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney for current regulations.
What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
On arrival, you should apply for your Social Security card, which can be obtained at your local Social Security office. Your Social Security number is used to keep a record of your earnings and distinguish you from others bearing the same or similar name. It is recommended that you apply for a photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Of course you will be traveling with your passport, which is a valid form of identification.
Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
If you plan to work, the most important thing to do is apply for a Social Security card. For further information contact your local consulate or embassy.
What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
Certain types of animals, insects, micro-organisms and plants are not allowed entry into Hawaii. For those who are allowed, import permits, letters of authorization, quarantine and/or health certificates may be required. The importation of uninspected plants and animals or entry of a species alien to Hawaii can ruin the island paradise, so please double check your personal effects to ensure you are complying with the rules.
See the Web sites below for more information on what types of plants and animals are allowed into Hawaii and what the quarantine time is.
Basic prohibited items include firearms, pornographic material, unprocessed furs and skins, ivory products, reptile products, sea turtle products, counterfeit versions of international trademarks (e.g. “copy” watches, purses, sportswear, etc.), all types of pirated intellectual property (e.g. software programs, pirated audio and video tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, books, etc.), Cuban tobacco products, narcotics and mounted animal trophies.
Motor vehicles also have specific restrictions, so please provide Crown Hawaii with the make, model, year and country where you purchased the vehicle. A staff member will confirm whether or not you can import the car, what modifications may need to be made and also any possible duties/taxes to be paid.
For further assistance, contact Crown Hawaii.
Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
As long as your visa is valid and you stay in good standing, you should be fine. Also, be mindful of the expiration date on your visa. Make arrangements to have it extended well in advance of its expiration date if you plan on staying beyond its initial term.