Immigration. Travel. Living.

Types of Visa in U.S.

American Visa

In case you are looking to apply for a temporary stay, you should look at non-immigrant United States visa categories. If you are looking for a permanent stay in the US, you should apply for a suitable immigrant visa.

First, let’s see what types of immigrant visas are available to acquire legal permanent residence “Green card” or even US citizenship.

Immigrant work visas

signage on night

There are 4 types of US visas under this category. These are the following:

  • EB1
  • EB2
  • EB3
  • EB4

The EB 1 and EB4 type United States visas let you acquire a green card under the right circumstances. The requirements state that you must have the right combination of skills, education or work experience to acquire this kind of travel document.

EB 2 and EB 3 type United States visas require you to have a labor certification to acquire them. You can also acquire them by obtaining a national interest waiver. In this case, you won’t need a labor certification.

Nonimmigrant work visas

In this category, there are 5 visa types. These are the following.

  • H1B
  • L1
  • O1
  • E1
  • TN

H1B or “visa for specialty occupations” is meant for those wishing to perform services in a special occupation of exceptional merit or have the ability relating to the Department of Defence. It is also meant for fashion models of distinguished merit.

L1 or “visa intracompany transferee” type travel document allows a United States employer to transfer their foreign worker to work in United States offices. It can also be granted to a person representing a foreign company with the purpose of establishing a new office in the US.

O1 or “visa extraordinary ability worker” is reserved for those who have extraordinary skills in science, art, education, business, or athletics. To acquire it you must prove your success in motion picture or television. Also, you must be nationally or internationally recognized for your success.

E1 or “treaty trader visa” is meant for the nationals of a United States treaty countries. These countries have established a commerce and navigation treaty with the US. You can acquire this type of United States travel document only if you are about to engage in international trade on your own behalf. Employees of such a person can be eligible as well.

The TN visa NAFTA professionals’ nonimmigrant visa is meant only for qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens. This type of travel document allows temporary entry into the US with purpose of conducting business activities at a professional level.

E3 or “visa specialty occupation from Australia” type of travel document allows Australian nationals to come to the US to perform services in a specialty occupation. This type of United States travel document requires practical and technical knowledge in the specialty.

Family and marriage visas

There are 5 subcategories for this US visa type. These are the following:

  • K1
  • K2
  • K3
  • K4
  • Parent visa

K1 or “fiancé & marriage visa” is meant for foreign nationals that are married or have a fiancé/fiancée status to a US citizen.

K2, K3, and K4 type visas are meant for spouses and children of a United States citizen. The K2 type visa is meant for a dependent child of a fiancé of United States citizens. K3 type visa is for the spouse of a US citizen and K4 type visa is for an unmarried child of a US citizen that is younger than 21 years.

US citizens that are at least 21 years old can apply on behalf of their parents for them to acquire this travel document for US green card. If you are a green card holder yourself, then your parents won’t be able to acquire it.

Investor visas

The investor visas have two types – E2 and EB5.

E2 or “treaty investor visa” allows a national of a treaty country to come to the US with the sole purpose of investing or developing business.

EB5 or “visa immigrant investor program” is meant for entrepreneurs. Their spouses and unmarried children are also eligible. Only those who have invested at least 1 million US dollars in US business and plan to employ at least 10 people are eligible.

Student and exchange visitor visas

There are 3 types of student and exchange visitor visas.

  • F1
  • M1
  • J1

F1 or “student visa” is for academic students coming to study in the US as a full-time student. You must be accepted in an accredited academic institution to be eligible for this travel document type.

M1 type visa is also meant for students coming to US. However, it is meant only for students in vocational or other nonacademic programs that don’t involve language training.

J1 or “exchange visitor visa” is meant for participants of approved teaching, instructing, lecturing, observing, studying, conducting research, consulting or similar training.

Other visas

Other visas include the following visa types.

  • B1
  • B2
  • U

B1 or “business visitor visa” is used for temporal entrance in the US for business purposes. This can mean either consulting, attending a business event, settling an estate or negotiating.

B2 or “tourism and visit visa” is meant for those traveling to the US for pleasure, tourism or visiting.

U or “visa for victims of criminal activity” is meant for victims of certain crimes. In addition, these people have to be of use to law enforcement or government officials in their investigation or prosecution of a crime.


The US has a wide range of visas available for different occasions. Either you are traveling to US for a short term stay, long term stay or even looking for a permanent residency, you will find a United States visa suitable for your situation.

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