What is a Visa?
When FSVS uses the word “Visa”, we mean the multi-colored visa stamp laminated into the individual’s passport.
Visa stamps are issued by U.S. Consulates abroad. They take in the application, determine if the person qualifies, and issue the visa stamp.
The visa stamp allows the person to request entry to the USA in the “status” noted on the stamp. Note that the visa only allows the person to request entry; an officer at the border, usually a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, will inspect the person and grant the entry request.
What is Status?
When an international traveler requests entry to the U.S., the CBP officer will determine what “status” to grant the person. Status roughly equates to the person’s “reason” or “purpose” for being in the USA. For example, a person admitted in H-1B status has the objective of working as a specialized professional. An F-1 student has the objective of studying, etc.
A person can be admitted in one status, and change to another status as their situation changes, without leaving the USA and obtaining another visa stamp. This is common with F-1 students who change status to H-1B.