Applying for and receiving a visa to come to the United States can be a daunting process. It is important to have a firm grasp on the guidelines, boundaries and coverage of each different kind of visa. See below for some answers to your questions about work, student, and visitor visas.
These visas are available to ambassadors, public ministers, career diplomats, consular officers and the spouses, children and parents of such persons.
These visas are available to accredited officials and employees of foreign governments and the spouses, children and parents of such persons.
These visas are available to the attendants, servants and personal employees of officials and employees who hold A-1 or A-2 visas and the spouses, children and parents of such persons.
These visas are available for up to six months for persons entering the United States to conduct business affairs such as: consulting with clients, meeting with business associates or attending professional, scientific or religious conventions. B-1 visitors are allowed to receive money for expenses in the U.S., but they cannot be paid a salary by an employer in this country.
These visas are available for a stay of up to six months for persons entering the United States for reasons of leisure or pleasure such as: tourism, amusement, visiting friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a social or service nature. The B-2 visa can also be utilized by a non-spousal partner (including a same-sex partner) of a principal E, H, or L visa holder for the duration of that person’s stay.
These visas are available to people who are in immediate and continuous transit through the United States. This visa is most frequently issued to persons who come to the United States to join the crew of a ship.
These visas are available to persons employed on international ships or airlines as crew members and provides for a stay of no more than 29 days.
These visas are available for an indefinite period of stay to persons who perform substantial trade between the U.S. and the foreign state, where that person is a national and, where the U.S. has a treaty providing for such a visa.
These visas are available for an indefinite period of stay to persons who develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which that person has invested a substantial amount of capital, and where the U.S. has a treaty providing for such a visa.
These visas are available only to Australian “specialty occupation workers.” They are initially granted for two years, but renewable indefinitely. They are similar to H1Bs but easier to obtain for Australian citizens.
These visas are available to full-time students who are admitted to an academic or language training program. Applicants must provide proof of the financial support needed for educational and living expenses, must retain a residence outside the U.S., cannot work more than 20 hours a week at an on-campus job or spend more than one year of practical training after completion of courses. The U.S. government may issue additional employment authorization to students if severe unforeseen economic hardships arise after coming to the U.S.
These visas are available to representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
These visas are available to “specialty occupation workers”, which may include a wide variety of professions, including fashion models or individuals who hold a license necessary to practice their profession in the U.S.
These visas are available to professional nurses.
These visas are available to agricultural workers providing agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.
These visas are available to workers coming temporarily to the United States to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary or seasonal nature, if unemployed persons capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in this country.
These visas are available to persons with traineeships in the United States. To qualify for this visa, the applicant’s traineeship must not be available in their home country and must not displace a citizen from their regular employment.
These visas are available to the spouses and children of H1, H-2 and H-3 visa holders.
These visas are available to bona fide representatives of the foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media. I visas allow a period of stay for up to one year.
These visas are available to trainees, students, professors, research scholars, non-academic specialists, foreign physicians, au pairs, and summer students in travel/work programs. Some visa recipients must return to the country of their last residence for two years after their visa expires before obtaining any subsequent visas.
It is possible, but difficult to obtain a waiver of the two-year residency requirement following a J visa. To obtain a waiver, you must prove that: you have experienced persecution in your home country and are afraid to return; your leaving will cause exceptional hardship in the United States citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child; or granting the waiver is in the public interest of the U.S., and that your home country has no objection to the waiver.
These visas are available to the fiancée or fiancé of a United States citizen. K visa holders must marry within 90 days after admission to the United States. K-2 visas are available to K-1 visa holders’ minor children.
These visas are available to persons who have a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen and who have filed for, but not yet received, permanent residence in the United States.
These visas are available for persons who have worked at least one of the previous three years for a parent, affiliate or subsidiary of a U.S. company. The visa requires that the individual work as a manager or executive and is issued for a maximum of seven years. Additionally, the applicant must seek to enter the U.S to continue work for the same employer or its affiliate or subsidiary.
These visas are available to persons who have worked at least one of the previous three years for a parent, affiliate or subsidiary of a U.S. company. The visa requires that the individual work in a capacity that requires specialized knowledge and is issued for a maximum of five years. Applicants must seek to enter the U.S. to continue work for the same employer or its affiliate or subsidiary.
These visas are available to students intending to pursue short vocational or technical study programs. Employment authorization for practical training is limited to six months and students cannot change to an F-1 student visa or to an H-1b temporary work visa if the training on the M visa is the basis of application for the H visa.
These visas are available to individuals with extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business or athletics, who have documented a very high level of achievement in their field. To obtain this visa, the applicant must establish prominence in their field and include a written advisory opinion from a leading organization in the field, if such an organization exists.
These visas are available for persons who perform as athletes either individually or as part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance. P visas are also available for persons who perform independently or are an integral part of an entertainment group with international recognition.
These visas are available to persons involved in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment and the sharing of the history, culture and traditions of the country of the person’s nationality. Q visas permit a stay of up to 15 months.
These visas are available to persons under 35 from Northern Ireland or from the counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo, or Donegal in the Republic of Ireland for the purpose of earning training, employment and the experience of coexistence and conflict resolution. Q-2 visas permit a stay of up to 36 months.
These visas are available to persons who intend to work in a professional capacity in a religious occupation such as clergy, missionaries and religious broadcasters. Applicants for R visas must have been members of a religious denomination that has had a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for two years immediately preceding the application. It is not necessary that the person be employed with the religious denomination prior to the application. R visas permit a stay of up to five years.
These visas are available to informants who are willing to supply information to law enforcement authorities on criminal organizations; and considered integral to the investigation or prosecution of such organizations by the Attorney General.
These visas are available to informants who are: willing to supply information to law enforcement authorities on terrorist organizations; placed in danger by providing such information; and deemed eligible for the visa by both the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.
These visas are available to victims of severe trafficking of persons such as sex trafficking, involuntary servitude and slavery, who agree to assist in investigating such trafficking (or who are under 15 years old) and who would suffer extreme hardship if they were removed from the United States.
These visas are available to citizens of Canada and Mexico allowing temporary entry to the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level. TN professionals include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
These visas are available to persons who have been victims of: rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes; possess information concerning these crimes; is helpful in providing such information; and the crimes violated the laws of the U.S. or occurred inside the U.S. or U.S. territory.
These visas are available to the spouse or children of lawful permanent residents in the United States if the permanent resident has filed an Alien Relative Petition for their spouse or child and the petition is pending for more than 3 years, or has been approved but legal status has yet to be issued.