Nonimmigrant Visas to the United States

Non-immigrant visas permit their holders to study, visit, or conduct business in the United States.

//Nonimmigrant Visas to US
Nonimmigrant Visas to US 2018-10-18T14:37:56+00:00

There are different US Visa Types which a person who wants to visit the United States can apply for. In principle, there are two general categories of U.S Visas:

What is a Non immigrant Visa?

The United States legal system defines a non-immigrant USA visa as a temporary stay in the country. This means that you will visit the U.S for a short period of time, for reasons such as tourism, business, and others, but will not stay there permanently.

Those who want to permanently move to the United States to live and work there, need to apply for the U.S Immigrant Visa.

Non immigrant Visa Types

The category of non immigrant US visa has several types. Which type of visa you need to apply for is based on the purpose of your visit, so whether you are going to the U.S for business, as a student, for tourism, or others.

Below is the list of visa types as well as the purpose of visit for each one, which determines the one you should apply for:

Purpose of Visa

The A visa is for diplomats or foreign government officials who are travelling to the U.S on official duties or representing their government.

The only person who can enter the United States for any purpose of the visit is the Head of State or Government such as the President or the Prime Minister, for example.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

No fee

Purpose of Visa

The A-2 NATO1-6 visa is designed only for foreign military personnel who are about to serve or be stationed within the United States.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

No Fee

Purpose of Visa

The B-1 visa could be granted to those who want to enter the U.S for amateur or professional athletes, domestic employees/nannies or for business purposes such as:

  • Attending conferences or conventions in their field
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Consult with associates
  • Settle estates

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

B-2 visas are given to people for the following reasons:

  • Medical Treatment
  • Tourism and vacations
  • Visits to relatives or friends
  • Enrollment in short non-credit bearing courses (not for official degrees)
  • Participation in music, sport, or social events, if they do not receive payments from them.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

A BCC visa stands for Border Crossing Card and only applies to Mexican citizens. It is a laminated card which allows Mexican citizens to enter the U.S.

When it is granted, it is usually valid for 10 years, but you must have a valid Mexican passport to apply for it. 

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

The C Visa is a transit visa. This means that you are passing through the U.S, but your final destination is in another location.

If you are passing through the U.S, but want to stop for a layover to see friends, family, or visit places, you will not be allowed to do so with a C visa, but will need the appropriate visa for those purposes.

People who have a B-type Visa and those whose visa is waived are also allowed to transit through the U.S.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

Employers from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) can apply for CW-1 visas to be able to employ foreign workers who do not necessarily fit into other employment visa categories.

The employees who are granted a visa for this purpose are termed as CNMI-only transitional workers.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$150

Purpose of Visa

The D visa is for crew members who will work on a sea vessel or international airline in the United States and they need the visa to be able to operate within the country.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

The E visas (E-1) and (E-2) or as they are called Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas respectively, are for those who have treaties of commerce and navigation in the U.S.

There are two reasons why you can apply for this visa:

  • Engage in trade of technology or other activities between the U.S and the treaty country
  • Direct operations of a company in which you have invested capital

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$205

Purpose of Visa

E-3 visas are only for nationals of Australia who will be working in specialty occupations. If a person from Australia qualifies for an E-3 visa, then so does the spouse and the children; however, for the spouse, a marriage certificate should be presented.

Necessary requirements

DOL

Application Fee

$205

Purpose of Visa

The F and M visas are for academic and vocational purposes. Depending on your school and your field of study, you will have to get either the F-1 or the M-1 visa.

Necessary requirements

SEVIS

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

If you have been employed in an international organization in the United States, you will need to get a G-1 to G-5 visa. Those who will work for NATO, will get the NATO visa.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

No Fee

Purpose of Visa

H-1B visas are for persons who have been employed in highly specialized fields. This means that they have an advanced degree or a job that cannot necessarily be done without having extensive training.

Necessary requirements

DOL then USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

Based on the U.S Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile and Singapore, the H-1B1 visa allows these nationals to live and work temporarily in the U.S. They can also be accompanied by their spouse and dependent children.

Necessary requirements

DOL

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

The H-2A visa is granted to temporary agricultural workers from selected countries in whom the U.S has some type of interest.

Necessary requirements

DOL then USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

Whereas the H-2A is for temporary agricultural workers, the H-2B visa is given to other types of temporary seasonal workers, who do non-agricultural work.

Similar to the H-2A, it is only granted to individuals if they are of interest to the U.S and only for selected countries.

Necessary requirements

DOL then USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

The U.S has unique education and training opportunities that might not be found in other countries. For those who want to take advantage of these training and education opportunities which are not counted towards an academic degree, the H-3 visa needs to be obtained.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

The I visa is for representatives of foreign media and journalists part of the press, film, radio, or print industries, who are visiting the U.S to work or participate in educational media activities.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

The J visa is targeted to exchange visitors. These include:

  • Au pairs
  • Temporary Scholars
  • Teachers and Professors
  • Students
  • Interns and Summer Work and Travel

Necessary requirements

SEVIS

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

If the company you work for has a branch in the U.S and you want to transfer there, you will need an L visa. It is called an intra-company transfer visa, and the condition is that you must have been employed at that company for at least 1 year within the past 3 years.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

People who have what is called an extraordinary ability in Arts, Science, Business, Education, or Athletics and want to temporarily work in their field of expertise need an O visa. To get this type of visa, these people have to be essential to the provision of services in their area of expertise.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

There are three types of P visas:

  • P-1 – is for individual or team athletes or members of entertainment groups
  • P-2 – is for artists of entertainers that will perform in the U.S as individuals or in a group
  • P-3 – is for artists and entertainers who will perform, teach, or coach in the U.S. as individuals or in a group

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

Q Visas are for people who are visiting the U.S as part of an international cultural exchange program. This means that they will share their history, culture, and tradition in the U.S.

This visa is also for those who will do some type of practical training and employment within the U.S.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

Temporary Religious Workers who want to practice within the U.S in religious capacities need to get the R visa type.

Religious worker

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$190

Purpose of Visa

T visas are for victims of human trafficking who have severe trauma, but can also assist in investigating crimes related to human trafficking.

    • T-1: is for the victims of human trafficking
    • T-2: is for spouses of T-1 visa holders
    • T-3: is for children of T-1 visa holders
    • T-4: is for parents of T-1 visa holders
    • T-5: is for unmarried siblings (under 18 years old), of T-1 visa holders who are
      under 21 years old

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

No Fee

Purpose of Visa

TN/TD visas are for citizens of Canada or Mexico who will be working in the NAFTA organization. The visa is not for permanent residents of Canada or Mexico.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

Those who have been a victim of certain criminal activities and that can aid in the investigation or prosecution of those criminals, are eligible to apply for the U visa.

Necessary requirements

USCIS

Application Fee

$160

Purpose of Visa

The V visa allows families who are in the process of waiting for the completion of their immigration process, to be reunited with their family in the U.S.

Necessary requirements

N/A

Application Fee

No fee

 US Nonimmigrant Visa Application

To apply for any type of a US non immigrant visa, applicants need to first fill the DS-160 form. The DS-160 or Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form is for all types of non-immigrant visas as well as for K visas, which fall under the immigrant visa types. This form can be found in the Consular Electronic Application Center website and has to be submitted online to the Department of State. All information entered in the DS-160 form must be in English.

To become more acquainted with the application form, the Consular Electronic Application Center has an example of the DS-160 form.

While filling the DS-160 form, you will have to submit several supporting documents such as:

  • Your passport
  • Your travel plans if you have already made arrangements
  • Your last five trips to the U.S if applicable or details of your international travel over the past five years
  • Your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Those applying for F, J, and M visas will also have to complete an application in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) and will need to enter their SEVIS ID in the DS-160 form and the name and address of the university you will be attending. Your SEVIS ID is found on your I-20 form or DS-2019 form.
  • Those applying for H-1B, H-2, H-3, CW1, L, O, P, R, visas will need to provide information from their I-129 form regarding their employment and purpose of the visit, when completing the DS-160 form
  • Those applying for an E-1 or E-1/E-2 Visa also need to submit the DS-156E form completed by their employer.

After submitting the form, you will be shown a DS-160 barcode page which you need to print and keep to show to the U.S Embassy. Following this you will need to schedule a visa interview appointment. This is done at your local U.S Embassy. The information you have entered in the DS-160 form, together with your interview will serve the consular office to make a decision about whether to give you the visa or not.

Lastly, you will need to pay the application fee, which is determined based on the type of non-immigrant visa and your country of origin.

After submitting your application and completing your interview, you will have to wait for the Embassy to process and respond to your request to find out your non immigrant visa status. Wait times for each step of the non immigrant visa application are found in the U.S Visa Department of State. You will need to enter the city where the U.S Embassy to which you applied is located and it will show you approximate waiting times.