U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas

A-1, A-2, A-3 Visas for Foreign Government Officials

The A visa is designated for an ambassador, public minister, career diplomat or consular officer, certain other foreign government officials and employees, as well as members of their immediate family.

B-1 Visa for Visitors for Business

This visa is designated for visitors who intend to conduct business in the United States that is directly related to the visitor’s occupation abroad. Employment in the United States is not permitted. The visitor may be admitted for a maximum of one year, and may also apply for extensions of stay not longer than six months.

B-2 Visa for Visitors for Pleasure

This visa is designated for visitors who intend to enter the United States to visit friends or relatives, engage in tourism, seek medical treatment, or attend a social event. Employment in the United States is not permitted. The visitor may be admitted for a maximum of one year, and may apply for extensions of stay under certain circumstances.

C-1 Transit Visa

This visa is designated for persons in immediate and continuous transit through the United States. A maximum period of twenty-nine days is authorized.

D Visa for Crewmembers

This visa is designated for crewmembers of vessels and airlines. The crewmember is generally admitted for a maximum of twenty-nine days.

E-1 Visa for Treaty Traders

This visa is designated for persons engaged in substantial trade where there is a treaty between the United States and the foreign country of which the person is a citizen. The initial period of admission is two years, and the visa holder may apply for two-year extensions of stay.

E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors

This visa is designated for persons who have made a substantial investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and where a treaty exists between the United States and the foreign country of which that person is a citizen. The initial period of admission is two years, and the visa holder may apply for two-year extensions of stay in certain circumstances.

F-1 Visa for Students

This visa is designated for full-time academic students who are attending approved institutions of learning. Students are generally admitted for “duration of status”, which is defined to include the course of study, practical training, plus an additional sixty days.

G Visa for Representatives of International Organizations

This visa is designated for representatives, officers and employees of certain international organizations, members of their immediate families, and their attendants, servants and personal employees.

H-1B Visa for Professional Specialty Occupations

This visa is available for professional workers coming temporarily to the United States to perform service in a designated specialty occupation. The worker must have a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and a job offer which requires the degree from a U.S. employer.

The employer must file a visa petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services after obtaining an approved Labor Condition Attestation Application from the Department of Labor. The H-1B visa can usually be processed within approximately two months, unless the employer requested “premium processing” in which case the Bureau takes action within 15 calendar days after receiving the petition. The H-1B visa may be granted up to three years and the visa can be extended for a total of six years.

H-1C Visa for Nurses

This visa is designated for registered nurses who work in areas of the United States that are experiencing nursing shortages.

H-2 Visa for Temporary Workers

This visa is designated for individuals who enter the United States to perform temporary, services or labor, provided that unemployed Americans capable of performing such services cannot be located.

H-3 Visa for Trainees

This visa is designated for individuals who enter the United States to receive training in a field of work that is not available in their home country. The trainees may be paid, but they cannot engage in any productive employment. The maximum period of stay is 2 years.

I Visa for Journalists

This visa is designated for individuals who enter the United States as representatives of a foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media to work in such field. The period of admission may be authorized for the duration of employment.

J-1 Visa for Exchange Visitors

This visa is designated for individuals who enter the United States to participate in an approved exchange program. These individuals include students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors and researchers, specialist, international and government visitors, camp counselors, au pairs, and special education exchange visitors. This visa category may require some individuals to return to their home country for at least 2 years, unless a waiver of such requirement is granted. The period of admission may not exceed the period specified for the individual to participate in the exchange program, plus 30 days for traveling.

K Visas for Fiancés or Fiancées of U.S. Citizens

This visa is designated for fiancés or fiancées of citizens of the United States who are entering the country to enter into a valid marriage with the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of such entry. The period of admission is limited to 90 days only.

L Visas for Intracompany Transferees

This visa is designated for managers, executives and persons holding specialized knowledge who own or are employed by a business abroad. If the business has a U.S. branch office or affiliate, an L-1 intracompany transferee visa may be obtained. The total period of stay for managers and executives is seven years, and five years for persons holding specialized knowledge. The spouses and children of such individuals are usually granted the same periods of admission as the principal visa holder, and may now receive authorization to work in the United States.

M Visas for Vocational Students

This visa is designated for students entering the United States to participate in approved vocational and language study programs.

N Visas for Relatives of Employees of International Organizations

This visa is designated for relatives of long-term employees of the United Nations and international organizations.

O Visas for Persons of Extraordinary Ability

This visa is designated for individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, and aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture industry, certain accompanying employees, as well as spouses and children. The individual must demonstrate “extraordinary ability” or “extraordinary achievement” in the field as determined by the appropriate labor union, peer group or management organization. The period of stay is usually three years and may be extended indefinitely for one-year periods.

P Visas for Entertainers and Athletes

This visa is designated for internationally recognized entertainment groups and athletes performing as individuals or as part of a team. The period of admission is limited to the period of the entertainment or athletic event.

Q Visas for Cultural Exchange Visitors

This visa is designated for individuals who enter the United States to participate in a cultural exchange. The maximum period of stay is 15 months.

R Visas for Religious Workers

This visa is designated for certain religious workers, including ministers, professionals and workers in religious occupations and vocations, who have a membership in a religious denomination for at least two years preceding the visa application. The initial period of admission is three years and may be extended.

S Visas for Informants and Witnesses

This visa is designated for individuals entering the United States to provide critical information to law enforcement agencies regarding criminal or terrorist organizations or operations. At the discretion of the Attorney General, the spouses, children, married and unmarried sons and daughters, and parents of such individuals may be granted S visas.

T Visas for Victims of Trafficking in Persons

This visa is designated for victims of severe forms of human trafficking who have complied with requests for assistance by law enforcement agencies, and who can demonstrate that they would suffer extreme hardship if they were removed from the United States.

TN Entrants under NAFTA

This category is designated for citizens of Canada or Mexico who are entering the United States temporarily to engage in business activities at a professional level in accordance with the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA). The period of initial admission is one-year.

U Visas for Victims of Certain Criminal Activity

This visa is designated for victims of Certain Criminal Activity, their spouses, children and parents.

V Visas for Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents

This visa is designated for spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who are beneficiaries of family-based immigrant visa petitions that were filed prior to December 22, 2000 which have been pending for at least three years. Holders of this visa may apply for work authorization while their immigrant visa application is pending.