Citizens of foreign countries wishing to enter the United States temporarily, including for purposes of pleasure, business, employment, and study, are required to obtain a Non-Immigrant Visa. Depending on the purpose of travel there are over 50 Non-Immigrant Visa types with different requirements.
Please see a short summary of the most common Non-Immigrant Visa types below. For further information on specific non-immigrant visas, please contact our office. (link to contact)Tourist visa (B-1/B-2)
The B-1/B-2 visa is suitable for visitors traveling to the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Generally, the B-1 visa is for travelers consulting with business associates, attending scientific, educational, professional or business conventions/conferences, settling an estate or negotiating contracts. The B-2 visa is for travel that is recreational in nature, including tourism, visits of friends or relatives, medical treatment and activities of a fraternal, social or service nature.
In case of citizens of member countries of the Visa Waiver Program, visitors shall only apply for a B-1/B-2 visa if their stay in the United States will exceed 90 days or if the ESTA has denied their application.
In general, visitors may stay in the United States for no longer than 6 months with a B-1/B-2 visa, however the visa may be extended in certain circumstances.Student visa (F-1/M-1)
Visitors accepted to an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program (F-1), or students engaged in non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution (M-1) shall apply for a student visa. Before applying for a visa, all student visa applicants are required to be accepted and approved by their school or program. Once accepted, educational institutions will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa.Work visa (H/L/O/P/Q/R)
Individuals who intend to travel to the United States for employment purposes on a temporarily bases as a nonimmigrant, shall apply for a work visa based on the type of employment they will be performing.
Please find a short summary of the most common work visa types below.
H-1B visa may be requested if someone intends to travel to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. To qualify, one must hold a bachelor's or higher degree (or an equivalent degree) in the specific specialty for which he/she seeks employment. USCIS will determine whether this certain employment constitutes a specialty occupation and whether the employee is qualified to perform such services. Before filing employment based non-immigrant visa application with USCIS, the future employer is required to file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor concerning the terms and conditions of the employment.
H-2A visa may be requested if someone seeks entry to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in an occuptaion for which occupation there is a shortage of U.S. workers. Before filing a non-immigrant employment based visa application with USCIS, the future employer is required to obtain a Department of Labor certification confirming that there are no qualified U.S. workers eligible for the type of employment on which the petition is based.
H-2B visa may be requested if someone seeks entry to the United States to perform services which are temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers. Before filing a non-immigrant employment based visa application with USCIS, the future employer is required to obtain a Department of Labor certification confirming that there are no qualified U.S. workers eligible for the type of employment on which the petition is based.
H-3 visa may be requested for persons who intend to travel to the United States to receive a professional training from an employer in any field of endeavor for a period of up to two years, which training is not available in the applicant’s home country.
H-4 visa may be requested for spouses or unmarried children (under age 21) of persons holding H visas to accompany them to the United States. H-4 visa holder spouses and children are not permitted to work in the United States.
I visa may be requested for representatives of the foreign media temporarily traveling to the United States to engage in their profession while having their home office in a foreign country.
L-1 visa may be requested if someone is the employee of a multi-national company abroad, which is temporarily transferring him/her to a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the United States. To qualify for an L-1 visa, one must be employed in a managerial or executive capacity, or have specialized knowledge and be tranferred to a position within the U.S. company at either of these levels. In addition, the employee must have been employed outside the United States with the same employer continuously for one year within the three years preceding the application for admission into the United States.
L-2 visa may be requeted for spouses or unmarried children (under age 21) of persons holding L-1 visas to accompany them to the United States. Spouses of L-1 visa holders travelling to the United States with their L-2 visas may seek employment authorization under a separate application to be filed after arriving to the U.S. Children under the age of 21 of L-1 visa holders travelling to the United States with L-2 visa are not authorized to work in the United States.
O-1 visa may be requested for individuals with extraordinary ability in the fields of sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television production who intend to work in the United States in the fields of their specialty.
O-2 visa may be requested for the essential support personnel of O-1 visa holders.
P-1 visa may be requested for artists, entertainers and athletes recognized on an international level.
P-2 visa may be requested for artists, and entertainers who enter the United States within a cultural exchange program.
P-3 visa may be requested for entertainers, educators participating in a program which is culturally unique.
Q-1 visa may be requested for individuals traveling to the United States to participate in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of their home country.
R visa may be requested for individuals seeking to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis.
Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors visa (E-1/E-2)
Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.
E-1 visa applicants must be coming to the United States either to engage in substantial trade, including trade in service or technology, in qualifying activities, which is principally between the United States and the treaty country.
E-2 visa applicants must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital.
In general, E-1 and E-2 visa holders are permitted to stay in the United States for no longer than a period of 2 years, however, this period may be extended for a further 2 year period in each occassion.
The spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of treaty enterprises may receive dependent E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant to obtain an E visa.
Fiancé(e) visa (K1)
U.S. citizens wishing to bring their foreign national fiancé(e) living abroad to the United States, may apply for a Fiancé(e) visa (K1) for their partner, who seek entry to the United States to get married and settle in the U.S. Marriage shall take place within 90 days from the admission of the foreign citizen fiancé(e) to the United States.