A foreign citizen (or "alien") who seeks to enter into the United States will almost always require a visa, a travel document which permits entrance into the U.S. The visa is placed into the passport of a foreign traveler which is issued by the traveler's country of citizenship. There are almost 200 different types of visas available to people seeking to visit the U.S. The "immigrant visa" is for foreigners wishing to enter the country for permanent residence. The "nonimmigrant visa" is for travelers making temporary visits for purposes such as business, work, study, tourism, recreation or investing. The visa list below is in alphabetical order, which is how visas are categorized.

A VISA - Diplomats

  • A-1 Visa

    Foreign diplomatic employees holding diplomatic passports (Ambassador, Public Minister, Diplomat, Consular Officer) who also have credentials approved by the President of the United States or Secretary of State.
  • A-2 Visa

    Accredited officials and employees of foreign governments including their immediate families.
  • A-3 Visa

    Foreign attendants, servants or personal employees of A-1 Visa or A-2 Visa holders or immediate family.

B VISA - Tourism, Business, Medical Treatment, Athletes

  • B-1 Visa

    Temporary Visa for business travelers and domestic servants, engaging in legitimate business such commercial transactions, participating in litigation, attending seminars.
  • B-2 Visa

    A "Tourist Visa" for temporary visitors receiving medical treatment or engaging in recreational activities, tourism, amusement, visits with relatives, friends and activities of a social nature.

C VISA - Transit Through the U.S.

  • C-1 Visa

    Transit visa for foreign citizens in immediate and continuous transit through the U.S.
  • C-2 Visa

    Alient in Transit, visa for foreign nationals traveling to the United Nations.
  • C-3 Visa

    Combined Transit and Crewman Visa, for foreign government officials and their family, attendants, servants and personal employees.
  • C-4 Visa

    Transit without Visa (also see an "saadviser.co.uk/?page=search/atpSearchATP, The Advanced Travel Partner).

D VISA - Crew Members of Airplane, Ship or Vessel

  • D-1 Visa

    Crew members or an airplane or ship departing on the same vessel as arrival, including landing or docking temporarily.
  • D-2 Visa

    Crew members or an airplane or ship departing on a different vessel than arrival, including docking and landing.

E VISA - Investor, Trader and Australian Specialty Occupation

  • E-1 Visa

    Treaty Trader, spouse and children under the age of 21.
  • E-2 Visa

    Treaty Investor, spouse and children under the age of 21.
  • E-3 Visa

    For Australians working in specialty occupation (profession) who have at least a degree equivalent to Bachelor's degree, their spouse and children under the age of 21 (also known as an "Australian H-1B Visa".
  • E-5 Visa

    Green card for investors of $1 million or $500,000 as part of a "Pilot Program".

F VISA - Students, Academic and Vocational

  • F-1 Visa

    Academic students and school, study abroad.
  • F-2 Visa

    For Spouses and children under age of 21 of F-1 Visa holders.

G VISA - Employees of Designated International Organization

  • G-1 Visa

    Principal resident representative of a recognized foreign member government to international organizations, staff and immediate family. Representatives of foreign governments and permanent mission members.
  • G-2 Visa

    Other representative of a recognized foreign member government to international organizations, staff and immediate family. Travel to the U.S. to attend meetings of a designated international organization.
  • G-3 Visa

    Representative of a non-recognized foreign non-member government to international organizations, staff and immediate family.
  • G-4 Visa

    International organization officer or employee or immediate family.
  • G-5 Visa

    Attendant, servant or personal employee or immediate family of G-1 through G-4 visa holder.

H VISA - Temporary Work, Specialty, Seasonal, Shortage

  • H-1B Visa

    Work visa for professionals with a specialty degree or occupation such as a doctor, engineer or scientist.
  • H-1B2 Visa

    Work visa for aliens to temporarily perform cooperative research and development projects in the U.S.
  • H-1B3 Visa

    Work visa for aliens to appear temporarily as a fashion model in the U.S.
  • H-1C Visa

    Temporary services (up to 3 years) of foreign Registered Nurse in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • H-2A Visa

    Temporary work visa to perform agricultural services in the U.S. including of a season nature.
  • H-2B Visa

    Temporary work visa for services other than agricultural, including of a seasonal nature.
  • H-2R Visa

    Specialized H-2B visa temporarily bypassing quotas of H-2B visas for individuals previously issued H-2B status (enacted in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, P.L. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231, signed into law by the President on May 11, 2005).
  • H-3 Visa

    For alients participating in a training program.
  • H-4 Visa

    For spouses and children under age 21 of H-1 Visa, H-2 Visa and H-3 Visa holders.

I VISA - Media and Journalism

  • I Visa

    Representative of foreign information media, their spouse and children under age 21.

J VISA - Foreign Exchange Visitors and Au Pairs

  • J-1 Visa

    For foreign exchange visitors in the U.S.
  • J-2 Visa

    For spouses and children of J-1 visa holders.

K VISA - Fiance / Fiancee, Contemplation of Marriage

  • K-1 Visa

    For foreign fiancee or fiance of U.S. Citizens.
  • K-2 Visa

    For minor and unmarried children of K-1 Visa holder or U.S. citizen.
  • K-3 Visa

    For foreign spouses of U.S. Citizens awaiting approval of marriage-based visa petition and green card (LIFE Act).
  • K-4 Visa

    For minor and unmarried children of K-3 Visa holder (LIFE Act).

L VISA - Intracompany Transfers

  • L-1A Visa

    For Intracompany transferees; executives or managers who are continuing employment with an international firm or corporation.
  • L-1B Visa

    For Intracompany transferees; specialized knowledge workers who are continuing employment with an international firm or corporation.
  • L-2 Visa

    For spouses and children under age 21 of L1 Visa holders.

M VISA - Students, Academic and Vocational

  • M-1 Visa

    For vocational students
  • M-2 Visa

    For spouses and children under the age of twenty-one (21) of M-1 visa holders.
  • M-3 Visa

    Citizens or residents of Mexico or Canada commuting to the U.S. to attend vocational school.

N VISA - NATO Employees, Staff and Family

  • N-8 Visa

    Parent of an Alien Classified SK-3 Special Immigrant.
  • N-9 Visa

    Children under the age of 21 of N-8 or of an SK-1, SK-2, or SK-4 Special Immigrant.
  • NATO-1 Visa

    For Principal permanent representative of a member state to a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) resident (including any NATO Subsidiary Bodies) in the U.S. and resident members of official staff, other NATO officials and members of immediate family.
  • NATO-2 Visa

    For other representative of a member state to a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) resident including representatives and advisers and technical experts (and other related NATO members) and members of immediate family.
  • NATO-3 Visa

    Official clerical staff accompanying NATO representatives and members of immediate family.
  • NATO-4 Visa

    Officials of NATO and members of immediate family.
  • NATO-5 Visa

    NATO Experts and members of immediate family.
  • NATO-6 Visa

    NATO member of civilian components and members of family.
  • NATO-7 Visa

    NATO Attendants, servants or employees who have a NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa and members oftheir immediate family.

O VISA - Extraordinary Ability in Science, Arts, Education, Business, Athletics

  • O-1 Visa

    Foreign citizens possessing extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Business, Athletics or Education and their support staff.
  • O-1B Visa

    Foreign citizens possessing extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television industry.
  • O-2 Visa

    Foreign person accompanying certain O-1 Visa holders.
  • O-3 Visa

    Spouses and children under age 21 of O Visa holders.

P VISA - Performing Athletes, Artists, Entertainers

  • P-1 Visa

    Athletes, entertainment groups and their support staff.
  • P-2 Visa

    Artistic exchange, cultural exchange entertainers (reciprocal exchange program).
  • P-3 Visa

    Artistic exchange, cultural exchange entertainers (cuturally unique program).
  • P-4 Visa

    For spouses and children under age 21 of P-1 Visa, P-2 Visa and P-3 Visa holders.

Q VISA - International Cultural Exchange

  • Q-1 Visa

    Participants in an International Cultural Exchange Program.
  • Q-2 Visa

    Participants in an Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program (Walsh Visas).
  • Q-3 Visa

    Spouses and children under the age of twenty-one (21) for Q visa holders.

R VISA - Religious Workers

  • R-1 Visa

    Alien and foreign religious leaders and workers.
  • R-2 Visa

    Spouses and children under age 21 of R-1 Visa holder.

S VISA - Criminal and Terrorist Informants, Witnesses

  • S-1 Visa

    For foreign witnesses in a criminal investigation
  • S-5 Visa

    For foreign citizens supplying critical information relating to a criminal organization or enterprise.
  • S-6 Visa

    For foreign citizens supplying critical information relating to terrorism.
  • S-7 Visa

    For qualified and immediate family members of S-5 Visa and S-6 Visa holders.

T VISA - Victims of Human Trafficking

  • T-1 Visa

    Victims of a severe form of human trafficking.
  • T-2 Visa

    Spouse of a T-1 visa holder.
  • T-3 Visa

    Children under age 21 of a T-1 visa holder.
  • T-4 Visa

    Parents of a T-1 visa holder who is under age 21.
  • TN Visa

    NAFTA professional workers (from Canada or Mexico).
  • TD Visa

    For Spouses and children under age 21 of NAFTA professionals (TN visa holders).
  • TPS Visa

    Temporary Protected Status.

U VISA - Victims of Criminal Activity

  • U-1 Visa

    Victim of criminal abuse and specific criminal activity.
  • U-2 Visa

    Spouse of U-1 visa holder.
  • U-3 Visa

    Children under age 21 of U-1 visa holder.
  • U-4 Visa

    Parents of a U-1 visa holder who is under age 21.

V VISA - Temporary Visa for Family of Lawful Permanent Residents

  • V-1 Visa

    Spouse of an Lawful Permanent Resident who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition (Form I-130) which was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years.
  • V-2 Visa

    Child of an Lawful Permanent Resident who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based visa petition (Form I-130) that was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years.
  • V-3 Visa

    Derivative children of a V-1 or V-2 visa holder.
Immigration Law
Visa Applications
About author
Michael Wechsler
Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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