There are various US Visa Types to serve different purposes. You might be familiar with the 2 major US Visa types but unaware of the several subtypes.
Don’t worry, in this article, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about US Visa Types.
What is a US Visa?
A US visa is a stamp or an endorsement on your passport that shows you are eligible to enter the United States. It indicates that a consular officer at a US Embassy has certified that you’re eligible to seek entry into the US.
What are the different US Visa types?
There are over 185 different US visa types, grouped into 2 major categories; Immigrant Visas and Nonimmigrant Visas.
1. Immigrant Visas
Immigrant Visas are US visas issued to foreign nationals who intend to move permanently to the United States under immigrant investor schemes or family reunions.
2. Nonimmigrant Visas
Nonimmigrant Visas are US visas issued to people who intend to visit the US temporarily for business, treatment, tourism, vacation, work, or study.
The main difference between an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant Visa is the validity period. Nonimmigrant Visas expire after a given period of time whereas immigrant visas, also known as Green Cards, give the holder a permanent residence status in the US.
Most commonly issued US Visas
Here are the most commonly issued US Visa types
The US visitor visas are issued to those who intend to visit the US for a maximum of six months. They include,
- B1 visa for business visits.
- B2 visas for tourist visits.
The US Student Visa is classified into two; the F and M visas. Your field of study and choice of school will determine the category of the US student visa you’ll need. The categories are:
- F1 visa for students.
- F2 visa for dependents of F1 visa holders.
- M1 visa for vocational purposes.
Exchange Visitor Visas
The exchange visitor visas are issued to those who participate in exchange programs and some type of practical training or temporary employment within the US. They include,
- J1 visa
- Q Visa
Temporary Work Visas
These visas are issued to those who intend to work temporarily in the United States. They include,
- H1B visa for persons who have been employed in highly specialized fields.
- H1B1 visa for nationals of Chile and Singapore.
- H-2A visa for temporary agricultural workers from selected countries.
- H-2B visa for temporary seasonal workers, who do other jobs aside from Agriculture.
- H-3 visa for those who want to take advantage of training and education opportunities.
- L1 visa for intracompany managers or executives.
- O Visas for people with an extraordinary ability in Arts, Science, Business, Education, or Athletics who temporarily want to work in their field of expertise. The O Visas include,
- O1 visa issued to persons with extraordinary abilities.
- O2 visa issued to the assistants of O1 visa holders.
- O3 visa issued to the dependents of O1 visa holders.
- P visas issued to sports persons and their team members.
- R1 Visas are issued to Religious workers who intend to practice within the US temporarily.
- TN/TD visas are for citizens of Canada or Mexico who intend to work in the NAFTA organization.
- E3 visas are issued to citizens of Australia who intend to work in specialty occupations.
- I visas are issued to representatives of foreign media and journalists who are visiting the US to work in educational media activities.
Treaty Trader and Investor Visas
These visas are issued to those who have treaties of commerce and navigation in the US. They include,
- E1 Visa for treaty traders
- E2 Visa for treaty investors
Diplomatic and Official Visas
The following are categorized under the Diplomatic and Official Visas.
- A1 visas are issued to diplomats or foreign government officials who are travelling to the US on official assignments.
- A2 NATO1-6 visas are issued only to foreign military Personnel who are about to serve in the US.
- G-1 to G-5 Visas are issued to those employed in an international organization in the US.
Visas for Victims of Crime and Human Trafficking
These visas are issued by the US Embassy to victims of crime and human trafficking in foreign countries. They include,
- T visas are issued to victims of human trafficking who have severe trauma from their experience.
- U visas are issued to victims of certain criminal activities. In this case, these victims could assist the government in the persecution of the criminals.
Transit and Crew Member Visas
These are the categories under this type of visa:
- C Visa is a US Transit Visa
- D Visas are issued to crew members who intend to work on a sea vessel or international airline.
Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored Visas
These are the categories under this type of visa:
- The F2A and F2B visas are issued to the families of Lawful Permanent Residents of the US, especially their spouses, minor children.
- IR-2 visas are issued to unmarried children under 21 years old
- IR5 visas are issued to parents of US Citizens who are at least 21 years old
- F1 visas are issued to unmarried sons and daughters.
- F3 visas are for married sons and daughters, including their minor children.
- F4 visas are for brothers and sisters of US Citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
- The IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4 visas are issued to children from foreign countries who will be adopted by US citizens.
- The SQ US visa types are issued to Iraq or Afghan citizens who will be working for or on behalf of the US government.
Fiance and Spouse Visas
The following are categorized under the Finance and Spouse Visas.
- K-3 visas are issued to spouses of US citizens who are in the process of obtaining permanent immigration status in the US.
- K-4 visas are issued to the children of K-3 Visa applicants
The following are categorized under the Employer-Sponsored Visas.
- The Employment First Preference Priority Workers visa (EB1)
- Employment Second Preference Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability visas
- The Employment Third Preference Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers visa.
- Eb-5 visa issued to immigrant investors.
- The SI visa is issued to Iraqi and Afghan Translators or Interpreters working with the US military.
The Diversity Immigrant Visas
This Visa is issued to citizens who come from countries with low immigration rates to the US.
The SB visa
If a permanent US resident stays outside the US for more than a year, they will need an SB visa granting them entry into the US again.
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