What are the US Visa Types? - Answers

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What are the US Visa Types?

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Infographic – What are the US Visa Types

A foreign national wishing to enter the United States, or any of its territories requires one of the two US visa types:

  • Non-immigrant visa
  • Immigrant visa

Visa is a document authorizing the holder to travel to the United States for the stated purpose. It does not automatically mean permission to enter the United States or its territories. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (US-CBP) grant that permission at the port of entry.

Non-immigrant Visa

A nonimmigrant visa is a temporary permit to enter the U.S. for business, tourism, studying or meeting a family. This visa is issued for a limited period only and may allow a one-time entry or multiple entries within the stated period.

Types of NON-Immigrant Visa

Purpose of Travel Type of Visa
Diplomat staff or foreign government officials A
Foreign military staff based in the United States A-2, NATO1-6
Business Visitor B-1
Professional or amateur sportspersons (competing for prize money only) B-1
Domestic employee or nanny – accompanying a foreign national employer B-1
Tourist and holidaymakers B-2
Visitors for medical treatment B-2
Border Crossing Card: Mexico BCC
Transiting the United States C
CNMI-only transitional worker CW-1
Crewmember D
Treaty trader/treaty investor E
Australian professional specialty E-3
Students for academic or vocational study F; M
An employee of a designated international organization or NATO G-1-G-5, NATO
Physician H-1B
Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge H-1B; J
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional: Chile, Singapore H-1B1
Temporary agricultural worker H-2A
Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature H-2B
Training in a program not primarily for employment H-3
Journalist and media professionals I
Professor, teachers, researchers, scholar (exchange visitor) J
Exchange visitor J
Au pair (exchange visitor) J
Intra-company transferee L
Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics O
Performing athlete, artist, and entertainer P
International cultural exchange visitor Q
Religious worker R
Victim of Human Trafficking T
NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada TN / TD
Victim of Criminal Activity U
Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) V

Immigrant Visa

This category is for those seeking to immigrate to the United States. It includes visitors holding Dual Intent Visa. These include professionals working under H-1B visa in the United States, simultaneously seeking the Green Card status while continuing to work. Visitors traveling on an immigrant visa need to be approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry and seek processing of a permanent resident card – I-551, commonly referred as Green Card.

Employer-sponsored employment
Priority workers (second preference) E1
Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability (Second preference) E2
Skilled and unskilled workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Third preference) E3
Certain Special Immigrants: (Fourth preference) E4
Employment Creation/Investors (Fifth preference) E5
Other categories
Other Categories
Religious Workers SD; SR
Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters SQ
Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ
Returning Resident SB
Diversity Immigrant below DV
Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents F2A; F2B
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen IR1; CR1
Inter-country Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens IR3; IH3; IR4; IH4
Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens IR2; CR2; IRS; F1; F3; F4
Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S. K-1
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition K-3
The following categories do not require a U.S. Visa to enter the United States
A permanent resident of the U.S.
Citizen of Compact of Free Association of States – Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau
A Canadian citizen, including those applying for TN status at the border
Citizen of The Bahamas and British Overseas Territories including – the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, or Turks and Caicos Islands
I-512 Holders – Authorization for Parole of an alien into the U.S.
Citizen of a country that is part of the ‘below Waiver Program.’

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program grants exemption from seeking a visa to certain countries whose citizens may visit the U.S. for short travel not exceeding 90 days, for business, tourism or transit.

All visitors from these countries arriving by air or sea, require online authorization to enter the United States under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Those arriving by ferry between British Colombia and Washington State do not require ESTA. Visitors arriving by land do not require ESTA.

ESTA does not guarantee entry into the U.S. The U.S. Customs, and Border Protection evaluates each visitor and may grant the required permission.

World map highlighting countries included in the Visa Waiver Program

The 38 countries included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

Andorra Lichtenstein
Australia Lithuania
Austria Luxembourg
Belgium Malta
Brunei Monaco
Chile Netherlands
Czech Republic New Zealand
Denmark Norway
Estonia Portugal
Finland San Marino
France Singapore
Germany Slovakia
Greece Slovenia
Hungary South Korea
Iceland Spain
Ireland Sweden
Italy Switzerland
Japan Taiwan
Latvia United Kingdom

Visit the following to learn more about the USA:

Related Maps:

US Map
US Map
Countries where US Citizens can visit without Visa
Countries where US Citizens can visit without Visa
Visa requirement for French Citizens
Visa requirement for French Citizens

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