Types of Visas for Temporary VisitorsWhat is a U.S. Visa?A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States (U.S.)generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’spassport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country ofcitizenship. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel tothe U.S. without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel.The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreigncitizens to travel to the U.S.
What Types of Visas Are There?The type of visa you must obtain is defined by U.S. immigration law, andrelates to the purpose of your travel. There are two main categories ofU.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visas – For travel to the U.S. on a temporary basis. Immigrant visas – For travel to live permanently in the U.S.. Immigrant Visas vs. Nonimmigrant Visas
What is the difference between an immigrant and nonimmigrant visa?An immigrant visa is the visa issued to persons wishing to livepermanently in the U.S.A nonimmigrant visa is the visa issued to persons with a permanentresidence outside the U.S. but who wishes to be in the U.S. on atemporary basis (i.e. Tourism, medical treatment, business, temporarywork, or study.We welcome visitors to the United States (U.S.), with secure borders andopen doors. Most Canadian citizens and many citizens from Visa WaiverProgram countries can come to the U.S. without a visa if they meetcertain requirements. Visit Travel Without a Visa to learn more.There are various types of nonimmigrant visas for temporary visitors totravel to the U.S., if you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanentresident. The purpose of your intended travel and other facts willdetermine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. Itsimportant to have information about the type of nonimmigrant visa youwill need for travel, and the steps required to apply for the visa at a U.S.Embassy or Consulate abroad.Review the chart below. For more detailed information specific to eachvisa category, including how-to-apply information and more, select alink from the Visa Type column below. Required: Purpose of Travel to U.S. and Before Visa Type Nonimmigrant Visas Applying for Visa*Athletes, amateur & professional B-1 (NA)
(compete for prize money only)Au pairs (exchange visitor) ---J--- SEVISAustralian professional specialty E-3 DOLBorder Crossing Card: Mexico BCC (NA)Business visitors B-1 (NA)Crewmembers ---D--- (NA)Diplomats and foreign ---A--- (NA)government officialsDomestic employees or nanny -must be accompanying a foreign B-1 (NA)national employerEmployees of a designated G1-G5,international organization, and (NA) NATONATOExchange visitors ---J--- SEVISForeign military personnel A-2 (NA)stationed in the U.S. NATO1-6Foreign nationals withextraordinary ability in Sciences, ---O--- USCISArts, Education, Business orAthletics H-1B1 -Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Chile DOLProfessionals: Chile, Singapore H-1B1 - SingaporeInternational cultural exchange Q USCISvisitorsIntra-company transferees ---L--- USCIS
Medical treatment, visitors for B-2 (NA)Media, journalists ---I--- (NA)NAFTA professional workers: TN/TD (NA)Mexico, CanadaPerforming athletes, artists, ---P--- USCISentertainersPhysician J , H-1B SEVISProfessor, scholar, teacher ---J--- SEVIS(exchange visitor)Religious workers ---R--- USCISSpecialty occupations in fields DOL thenrequiring highly specialized H-1B USCISknowledgeStudents: academic, vocational F, M SEVIS DOL thenTemporary agricultural workers H-2A USCISTemporary workers performing DOL thenother services or labor of a H-2B USCIStemporary or seasonal nature.Tourism, vacation, pleasure B-2 (NA)visitorsTraining in a program not H-3 USCISprimarily for employmentTreaty traders/treaty investors ---E--- (NA)Transiting the United States ---C--- (NA)Victims of Criminal Activity U USCISVictims of Human Trafficking ---T--- USCIS
Visa Renewals - Available in the (NA)U.S.*What the abbreviations (above) mean:Before applying for a visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad the following isrequired: 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 = DHS, 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 - Means that additional approval by other government agencies is not required prior to applying for a visa at the U.S. Embassy abroad.Notes: Canadian NAFTA Professional workers- Visa not required, apply to CBP at border port-of-entry. K visas are for the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen and immigrating or joining a U.S. citizen spouse in the United States while awaiting USCIS approval of Form I-130 for immigrant status. Visit the immigrant visa section of this website for K-1 and K-3 visa information . US Embassies
A building containing the offices of an ambassador andstaff.The position, function, or assignment of an ambassador.A mission to a foreign government headed by anambassador.A staff of diplomatic representatives headed by anambassador. Reference of sites: /www.uscis.gov /travel.state.gov /www.cbp.gov /www.fmjfee.com