Any foreign national wishing to enter the United States must first obtain a USA Visa. It could be a non-immigrant visa for a short time or an immigrant visa for a long time. Therefore, any foreign citizen traveling to the USA has to take a non-immigrant Visa. So, stay cool as tontimes brings to you all the types of USA visas and how to apply for each of them.
However, Most Canadian citizens and citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can come to the U.S. without a visa. That is if they meet certain requirements.
Non-immigrant visas are used by business people, tourists, specialty workers, and students who want to stay in the United States for a limited time to complete specific tasks.
Different Types of USA Visa
There are several types of nonimmigrant visas available for temporary visitors to the United States who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. The purpose of your intended travel, as well as other factors, will determine the type of visa required by US immigration law.
Therefore, It’s important to have information about the type of nonimmigrant visa you will need for travel, and the steps required to apply for it at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, or online.
Ok, lets go to the business of the day. Here are the most common types you can apply for:
Tourist or Business Visa
There are two types of visas in this category, viz:
- B-1: for business partners, those attending scientific, educational, or business conventions, settling an estate, or negotiating contracts
- B-2 for enjoyment or medical treatment Tourism, visiting friends and family, medical treatment, and social or service activities are all examples of this.
These two types are frequently combined and issued as a single Visa. Therefore, you must demonstrate to the consular officer that your stay in the United States is temporary, and you must show proof of funds to cover your expenses while in the United States. Proof of residence outside the United States is also required. Note also that this does not allow you to work in the US.
To work temporarily in the United States, you will need a specific Visa based on the type of work that you will be doing. Applicants for H, L, O, P, and Q must have USCIS approve their petition on their behalf. Before applying for a work visa at the Consulate, Form I-129 must be approved. The employer will then receive Form I-797, which serves as your petition’s approval notification. You must bring I-129 and a copy of Form I-797 to your interview at the Consulate.
However, this offered for employment/work includes the followings:
- H1-B for Specialty occupation
To be eligible for the H1-B Visa, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty, and USCIS will determine whether your job qualifies as a specialty occupation and whether you are qualified to perform the service. The employer must file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor regarding the terms and conditions of the employment contract with you.
H-1 B-1 – Work Visa temporarily
Singaporean and Chilean citizens can apply for a temporary work visa in the United States. Individuals must, however, have a job offer in the United States before applying for the visa.
H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers.
This Visa allows US employers to bring in foreign nationals to fill temporary agricultural jobs where US workers are unavailable. The Form I-129 petition must be filed on your behalf by your employer. However, this Visa is not available to Indians.
H-2B for both skilled and unskilled workers.
This is granted to those filling a temporary or seasonal job for which there is a labor shortage in the United States. However, this Visa is not available to Indians.
H-3 for trainees
This is required if you are coming to the United States to receive training in any field from an employer for up to two years. Training can be paid for, but it cannot be used to provide productive employment.
H-4 form for dependents
If you have a valid H visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for an H-4 visa to accompany you to the United States. However, your spouse and children who hold this Visa are not allowed to work in the United States.
L-1 Visa for intracompany transferees
This is required if you are an employee of an international company who is being temporarily transferred to the parent branch, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the company. To be eligible for this visa, you must be a manager or executive with specialized knowledge in the position you intend to hold in the U.S. company.
You must also have worked for the international company for at least one year in the three years preceding your application for admission to the United States.
L-2 for dependents
If you have a valid L visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be granted an L-2 Visa to enter the United States. If your spouse wishes to work in the United States, they must submit a completed Form I-765 along with the application fee. Your children will be denied employment in the United States.
Type O Visa
This visa is available to those with exceptional ability in science, education, the arts, business, and athletics, as well as exceptional achievement in motion picture and television production.
Type P Visa
This visa is available to athletes, entertainers, and essential support personnel who come to the United States to perform.
Type Q Visa
This is required if you are traveling to the United States to participate in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing training, employment, and sharing your home country’s history, culture, and traditions. The sponsor must file the petition, which must be approved by USCIS.
Foreign students who come to study in the United States must also be accepted by the school or program. Once accepted, they will be given the necessary approval documents to submit when applying for a Student Visa. Students can apply for a visa within 120 days of the start date of their I-20, and they can travel within 30 days of the start date of their I-20.
The following student visas are available:
This visa is granted to those who wish to pursue academic studies in U.S.-approved schools or English language programs. This Visa is required if your course exceeds 18 hours per week. This visa is granted to students enrolled in a public secondary school.
This Visa is available to those planning non-academic, vocational, or training in the United States.
Holders of A, E, H-4, F-2, G, J-2, L-2, and M-2 visas, as well as any other Nonimmigrant Visa, can enroll in public secondary and elementary schools.
Students who leave the United States for a 5-month or longer break in their studies may lose their F-1 or M-1 status unless their overseas activity is related to their course.
Exchange Visitors Visa
Foreign nationals are welcome to visit the United States to participate in exchange programs. However, before applying for the Visa, you must be accepted and approved by the authorized program sponsor. The exchange visitor is granted a J Visa, which is intended to promote the exchange of knowledge and skills in a variety of fields. Participants can include:
- Students at academic levels
- Research scholars
- Professional trainees
- Visitors coming for travel, consultation, research purposes, etc.
Religious Worker Visa
Those seeking to work temporarily in a religious capacity in the U.S. can apply for a type R visa. Religious workers include those who are authorized to conduct religious activities by a recognized entity.
Transit Visa or Ship Crew
The following are the two types of Visas available for transit or ship crew:
Crew D Visa
This visa is available to crew members serving on a sea vessel or aircraft. Crew members typically use a C-1 or D combination transit or crew Visa. If the crew member is serving onboard a vessel within the Outer Continental Shelf, he or she is eligible for a modified B-1 visa instead of a crew Visa. Crew members who enter the United States between flights or cruises must obtain a B-1 or B-2 visa.
Transit C Visa
This Visa is available to foreign citizens traveling to another country via the United States. If the traveler wishes to visit friends or family, he must request layover time. He or she must meet the requirements for a B-2 visa.
Media and Journalist Visa
The media (I) A visa is granted to a nonimmigrant who represents a foreign media and wishes to visit the United States for the purpose of carrying out their profession. They must, however, have a home office in a foreign country.
A visitor’s visa is issued to a foreign citizen who is traveling for one of the following reasons:
- Attending a conference or a meeting
- Engaging in academic activities
- Guest lecture
- Purchasing media equipment
In order to obtain a temporary work visa, a foreign citizen must travel for one of the following activities:
- To film material for commercial entertainment or for advertising
- Staged events, television and quiz shows
- Proofreaders, librarians, and set designers
- To produce artistic media content
More so, the B-2 visa allows spouses and children under the age of 21 to accompany the principal visa holder.
USA Visa for Domestic Employees
Personal or domestic servants accompanying their employer to the United States are eligible for the B-1 Visa. Domestic workers include:
- Mother’s Aide
- Companions for hire.
Domestic employees of a foreign diplomat or government official are eligible for an A-3 or G-5 visa
USA Visa Types
Review the table below to determine the type of visa you need. More so, the table shows the types of visas at a glance.
|A||Foreign government officials and diplomats|
|A1, G-1, NATO1-6||Visa renewals|
|A-2, NATO1-6||Military personnel of a foreign country stationed in the U.S.|
|B-1||Amateur and professional athletes who are competing for prize money
Nannies or domestic employees
|B-2||Visitors for medical treatment
Tourists, vacationers, and pleasure visitors
|BCC||Mexican Border Crossing Card|
|C||Transit in the U.S.|
|D||Crew members serving on aircrafts
Crew members serving on aircrafts
|E-3||Australian professionals and specialty workers|
|F-1||Language and academic students|
|F-2||Dependents of F-1 Visa holders (Students)|
|G1- G5, NATO||Designated international organization’s employees and NATO|
|H-1B1||Chilean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) professionals
Singaporean FTA professionals
|H1-B||Physicians and highly specialized occupations requiring specific industry knowledge|
|H2-A||Temporary workers for seasonal agriculture|
|H2-B||Temporary workers for non-agricultural professions|
|H3||Primarily non-employment training programs|
|H1-C||Nurses traveling to areas that have shortages of healthcare professionals|
|I||Information media representatives and journalists|
International cultural exchange visitors
|J-1||Au-pairs exchange visitors
Professors, scholars, and teachers as exchange visitors
|J-2||Children under the ages of 21/ Spouse of J-1 holder|
|M-2||Dependent on the M-1 holder|
|O-1||Foreign nationals possessing excellent knowledge and abilities in the fields of art, science, education, athletics, or business|
|P||Entertainers, artists, and athletes|
|Q||International cultural exchange visitors|
|TN/TD||Mexican and Canadian NAFTA professional workers|
|T-1||Human trafficking victims|
|U-1||Victims of crime, criminal activity|
How To Apply For USA Visa
Applying for a USA visa is very simple and fast. Note that you can apply for a US visa either online or at the US embassy or consulate nearest to you. However, to apply for a USA visa click here to learn how.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About USA Visa and Its Types
how long can I stay in the United States?
The immigration officer writes the duration period or the date on the admission stamp paper. It is an obligation to leave the U.S. by the end of the specified period. This is, to avoid being deported. However, as proof that you’re allowed to stay in the United States, you must keep your I-94 or admission stamp on your passport.
Will I get a money refund if my visa application is rejected?
No. The money will not be refunded because the visa application was processed. The fees you paid when applying for a visa included the cost of visa processing. Note that, anyone who wishes to apply for a US visa must pay this fee, regardless of where they live in the world.
What should I do if my visa gets damaged before traveling?
You will have to reapply for a new visa at a US Consulate abroad or the US Embassy.
Is the visa a guarantee of entry into the United States?
No. A visa does not guarantee admission to the United States. It only allows you to travel until you reach the port of entry (airport or land border). After arriving, you must obtain permission from the Department of Homeland Security, as well as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
These officials have the authority to grant or deny your request for a stay. The immigration officer in the United States issues you an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94, arrival/departure record in your passport. It is critical to keep this paper in your passport while in the United States because it proves that you are a legal immigrant.
Having gone through the post, you can now proceed to get the visa of your choice.
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