Overview of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Types for the United States


Obtaining a U.S. visa is a crucial step for those planning to travel or immigrate to the United States. With over 180 types of visas available, it is essential to understand the categories and specific requirements of each to avoid potential denials. Divided into temporary and permanent categories, these visas serve a variety of purposes, from tourism to permanent immigration.

  • Temporary Visas (Non-Immigrant)

Temporary visas are intended for individuals who intend to return to their home countries after a temporary stay in the U.S. These visas cover a variety of purposes, including tourism, studies, temporary work, and medical treatment. Some of the most common temporary visas include:

B1/B2 (Tourism/Business): For temporary tourism, business, medical treatment, and other specific activities, valid for 10 years.

F-1 (Student): Intended for students enrolled in educational institutions in the U.S., with variable validity depending on the duration of the course.

E-2 (Investor): For investors from countries with commercial treaties with the U.S., with validity based on the duration of the investment.

L-1 (Intra-Company Transfer): For executives, managers, and professionals transferred from a foreign company to a branch in the U.S., with an initial validity of 3 years.

H-1B (Specialized Worker): For highly skilled professionals in fields with demand in the U.S., with an initial validity of 3 years.

  • Permanent Visas (Immigrant)

Permanent visas are for individuals who wish to permanently reside in the United States and eventually seek U.S. citizenship. These visas are based on employment, investment, family ties, or marriage to U.S. citizens. Some of the main permanent visas include:

EB-1 (Workers with Extraordinary Abilities): Intended for highly skilled professionals in various fields, with validity according to the type of visa within the EB-1 category.

EB-2 (Professionals with Advanced Degrees): For professionals with exceptional skills or advanced degrees, with validity determined by the job offer.

EB-5 (Immigrant Investor): For investors who make a substantial investment in the U.S. and create jobs, with validity based on the success of the investment.

Family-Based Visas (F): For relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, with different subcategories based on the family relationship.

It is important to note that each type of visa has specific requirements and a unique application process, which includes filling out forms, paying fees, interviews, and medical examinations when necessary. A clear understanding of the requirements is essential to increase the chances of approval for the desired visa and ensure a smooth transition to the United States. As immigration attorneys, we are here to guide our clients through each step of the process and ensure the success of their journey to the United States.