The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. When you apply at a U.S embassy or consulate, a consular officer will determine based on laws, whether you are eligible to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate.
Nonimmigrant Visa Categories
The chart below contains many different purposes of temporary travel and the related nonimmigrant visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:
|Purpose of Travel||Visa Category||Required: Before applying for visa*|
|Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)||B-1||(NA)|
|Au pair (exchange visitor)||J||SEVIS|
|Australian professional specialty||E-3||DOL|
|Border Crossing Card: Mexico||BCC||(NA)|
|CNMI-only transitional worker||CW-1||(USCIS)|
|Diplomat or foreign government official||A||(NA)|
|Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer||B-1||(NA)|
|Employee of a designated international organization or NATO||G1-G5, NATO||(NA)|
|Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States||A-2
|Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics||O||USCIS|
|Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
|H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore
|International cultural exchange visitor||Q||USCIS|
|Medical treatment, visitor for||B-2||(NA)|
|NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada||TN/TD||(NA)|
|Performing athlete, artist, entertainer||P||USCIS|
|Physician||J , H-1B||SEVIS|
|Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)||J||SEVIS|
|Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge||H-1B||DOL then USCIS|
|Student: academic, vocational||F, M||SEVIS|
|Temporary agricultural worker||H-2A||DOL then USCIS|
|Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.||H-2B||DOL then USCIS|
|Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor||B-2||(NA)|
|Training in a program not primarily for employment||H-3||USCIS|
|Treaty trader/treaty investor||E||(NA)|
|Transiting the United States||C||(NA)|
|Victim of Criminal Activity||U||USCIS|
|Victim of Human Trafficking||T||USCIS|
|Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)||V||(NA)|
|Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas||(NA)|
*What the abbreviations above mean – Before applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the following is required:
- DOL = The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
- USCIS = U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
- SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- (NA) = Not Applicable – Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa
- About this chart – It is not a complete list of all travel purposes for the visa category. Select a visa category webpage for more information. The chart lists almost all nonimmigrant visa categories, with the exception of several not listed above. Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 402.1 for all nonimmigrant visa categories.
- Canadian NAFTA Professional workers – A visa not required; apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at border port of entry.
- K nonimmigrant visas – For U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and spouse for immigration related purposes. Refer to Immigrant Visa Categories.
Immigrant Visa Categories:
The chart below contains different purposes for immigrating to the United States, and the related immigrant visa categories for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:
|Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored||Visa Category|
|Spouse of a U.S. Citizen||IR1, CR1|
|Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition||K-3 *|
|Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S.||K-1 *|
|Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens||IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4|
|Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens||IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4|
|Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents||F2A, F2B|
|Employer Sponsored – Employment|
|Employment-Based Immigrants, including (preference group):
C5, T5, R5, I5
|Religious Workers||SD, SR|
|Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters||SI|
|Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government||SQ|
|Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government||SQ|
|Diversity Immigrant Visa||DV|
*K Visas – Listed with immigrant visas because they are for immigration related purposes.
About this chart – This chart is a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not every immigrant visa category.
**Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 502.1 for a listing of all immigrant visa categories.