List of types of US visa and their meaning, duration, purpose, cost

 Types of immigrant and non-immigrant US visa and their duration, meaning, purpose, cost

Types of US visa
Tags: types of US visa and duration, nonimmigrant visa types, U.S. work visa types, U.S. immigrant visa

If you have plan to travel to the USA, you're probably wondering the different types of US visa out there or types of US visa and their meaning or what type of US visa you should apply for. You may also be asking: how many types of visas are there in US ? 

Whether you want to know about U.S. work visa types or U.S. immigrant visa types, whatever type of US visa and duration you're curious about, I'll help you with the answers you need. Meanwhile, if you're preparing for your US business and tourist visa interview, also called B1/B2 visa, here's the B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers PDF that contains B1/B2 visa interview success stories from around the world. It basically shows what B1/B2 visa applicants who successfully got their visa to travel to the USA in the past said to convince the US visa officer to issue them visa. Read it to learn how to answer the B1/B2 visa interview questions correctly and get your visa to travel to the USA.

The way I am going to do it is that I'll mention the name of the visa first, then I'll briefly describe each type of visa and who or what it's meant for. If required, I'll also mention what you'll need to do before you apply for the visa.

But before I begin, here are some abbreviations you should get conversant with.

DOL: US department of labor

USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

With that out of the way, let's get started.

The two broad types of US visa, are NON-IMMIGRANT visa and IMMIGRANT visa. It's the same for all other countries too because every visa must fall under immigrant visa or non-immigrant visa.

Therefore, I'll divide this article into two parts i.e non-immigrant visa and immigrant visa.

Nonimmigrant visa (Part 1)

NON-IMMIGRANT visa is the type of visa you'll need if you plan to travel to the USA but not to live there. 

With nonimmigrant visa, you travel to another country, then you go back to your country before your visa expires. 

The duration of non-immigrant visa can last from few weeks to few years, depending on your purpose for traveling.

The following are the different types of non-immigrant US visas.

1. F visa/ M visa

The F type of visa is issued to students going to US university or college for academic purposes. 

The M type is issued to students going for vocational training. You'll need the approval of SEVIS before you apply for this type of US visa. If you're a student preparing to go to the US embassy or consulate for your visa interview, you'll need the complete successful past F1 and M1 US student visa interview questions and answers PDF. It costs USD 19 only. The document will teach you how to answer questions correctly to get your US student visa.

If you need more information about F1 or M1 US student visa, see different types of US student visa.

However, if you actually want to study in the USA and you need the step-by-step procedure about what to do, then see everything you need to know about F1 and M1 visa and studying in the USA.

2. B1 visa

All B1 visa are for short visit. This type of US visa could also be issued to athletes, amateur or professionals who are traveling to the USA for sports. Example; football teams traveling to represent themselves or country in a tournament. Or a single sportsman or woman going to play in a tournament. You do not require anything done before applying for the B1 visa. You just apply when you want to travel. If you want to learn how to pass your B1 or B2 interview, see complete successful past B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers PDF. It contains a big list of past B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers from many countries around the world. That's all you need to answer the B1/B2 visa interview questions correctly and get your visa to travel to the USA.

3. J visa

The J visa is also called exchange visitor visa. This visa is issued to professors, scholars, teacher or professionals who want to travel to the USA to share their knowledge. You'll need to be approved by SEVIS before you apply for the J visa. 

If you have dependents (wife, children, maid) and you want them to travel with you, they'll have to obtain a J2 visa same time you obtain yours or later. While in the USA, they may enroll to study in the school. If you need more information about J1 and J2 visa, see different types of US student visa.

4. E3 visa

This type of visa is specially for Australian professionals. You'll need to get clearance from the U.S DOL before you apply for this visa.

5. BCC visa

This is not really a visa but a kind of a border crossing card (BCC) to cross the border from Mexico to the USA.

6. B1 visa

The B1 visa is issued to anybody visiting the US for business purposes. That's why it's called business visitor visa. You don't need to obtain permission from any US authority before applying for B1 visa. You just apply when you want to travel. If you want to learn how to pass your B1 or B2 interview, see B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers PDF. It contains a big list of past B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers from many countries around the world. That's all you need to answer the B1/B2 visa interview questions correctly and get your visa to travel to the USA.

7. CW1 visa

CNMI-only transitional worker. You'll need to get permission of the USCIS before applying for this visa.

8. D visa

This visa is issued to members of a crew (group) traveling to the USA.

9. A visa

This visa is issued to diplomats or foreign government officials. Example; ambassadors or government officials on official visit to the USA. No permission is required before applying for this visa.

10. B2 visa

This type of visa is issued to anyone going to the USA for vacation or tourism. Example; visiting friends and family, wedding, tourist attractions, sightseeing, etc. If you want to learn how to pass your B1 or B2 interview, see B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers PDF. It contains a big list of past B1/B2 visa interview questions and answers from many countries around the world. That's all you need to answer the B1/B2 visa interview questions correctly and get your visa to travel to the USA.

11. G1- G5, NATO visa

This type of visa is issued to an employee of a designated international organization or NATO

12. A2 NATO1-6 visa

This type of visa is issued to a foreign military personnel stationed in the USA by another country.

13. O visa

This type of visa is issued to a foreigner with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. You'll need to get permission from the USCIS before you apply for this visa.

14. H1B1 visa (for Chile and Singapore)

This is a type of special visa issued to professionals and members in the US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from Chile or Singapore. You'll need to be cleared by the US DOL before you apply for this type of visa.

15. Q visa

This type of visa is issued to people visiting the US for cultural exchange purposes. And that's why it's called cultural exchange visa. You'll need to get a permission from the USCIS before you apply for this type of visa.

16. L visa

This type of US visa is for intra-company transferee. It allows big multinational US companies to transfer highly skilled staff from another country to the USA to execute specific task to the transferred branch. You'll need permission from the USCIS before you apply for this visa type.

17. B2 visa

This visa is issued to someone going for a routine medical checkup in the USA or a sick person needing better medical treatment in a US hospital.

18. I visa

This visa type is issued to journalists or media people generally. Example; a BBC news reporter traveling from London to the US to do a story, would get an I visa. No permission is required in advance to apply for this type of visa.

19. TN/ TD visa

This type of visa is issued to a NAFTA professional worker from Mexico or Canada. Nothing is required in advance to apply for this visa.

20. P visa

This is the type of US visa issued to a foreign artist, musician or any other entertainer coming to perform for his/her US fans. You need approval of the USCIS before you apply for this type of visa

21. J, H1B visa

This is the type of visa issued to a doctor, nurse, physician traveling to the USA to render some urgent assistance in a US hospital. You'll need SEVIS clearance before you apply for this type of visa.

22. R visa

This type of visa is issued to religious people. Example; pastors, imams, nuns or other religious workers. You'll need a clearance from the USCIS before applying for this type of visa.

23. H1B visa

This visa type is issued to people in specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized skill and knowledge. You'll need to be approved by the DOL and also the USCIS before you apply for this type of visa.

24. H2A visa

This type of visa is issued to temporary farm workers or general agricultural workers. Most of them come from Mexico and South American countries. You'll need to be cleared by the DOL and then USCIS before you apply for this type of visa.

25. H2B

This is the type of visa issued to temporary workers performing services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature. Most of them come from Mexico and South American countries. The difference between H2A and H2B is that H2B is for seasonal labour, such as during planting, weeding or harvest, then the workers may return to their various countries. You'll need to be cleared by the DOL and also USCIS before you can apply for this type of visa.

26. B2 visa

This type of US visa is issued to foreigners traveling to the USA for the purpose of tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor. You don't need any approval from the US before you apply for this visa. Just apply when you want to travel to the USA

27. H3 visa

This type of visa is issued to someone traveling to the USA for training in a program, not for employment. You'll need to be approved by the USCIS before you apply for this type of visa.

28. E visa

This type of US visa is issued to a treaty trader or treaty investor

29. C visa

This type of visa is issued to a traveler on transit in the US airport or seaport via a flight (air) or ship (sea)

30. U visa

This type of visa is issued to people who are victims of criminal activity in their country. Example; gays, lesbians, ethnic minorities or journalists who are suffering oppression in their home countries. You'll need the approval of the USCIS before applying for this type of visa

31. T visa

This type of visa is issued to victims of human trafficking who want to escape oppression. You'll need clearance from the USCIS before you apply for this type of visa.

32. LPR visa

This type of US visa is issued to the husband, wife, children of a "lawful permanent resident" in the USA. No approval is required in advance. Simply apply whenever you want to visit. Let me emphasize that you're not traveling to live but to visit.

Immigrant visa (Part 2)

The immigrant visa category is the type of US visa you apply for if you want to travel to the USA to live there. 

The following are the different types of immigrant US visas.

1. IR1 visa, CR1 visa

This type of US visa is issued to the husband or wife of a US citizen (who was married from another country) but want to travel to live in the USA with the partner.

2. K3 visa

This type of visa is issued to the husband or wife of a US citizen (who was married from another country) but awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant application/petition

3. K1 visa

This type of US visa is issued to the fiance of a US citizen who's traveling to the USA to marry and live there with the fiance.

4. IR3 visa, IH3 visa, IR4 visa, IH4 visa

These types of visa is issued to adopted orphans and children by US citizens. If you need more information, see the different types of US visa and select immigrant visa or as the case may be.

5. IR2 visa, CR2 visa, IR5 visa, F1 visa, F3 visa, F4 visa

These types of visa is issued to an unspecified "certain family members of US citizens". It's probably issued to someone birthed by a US citizen overseas or relatives that live elsewhere in another country. If you need further information, see different types of US visa and select immigrant visa or as the case may be.

6. F2A visa, F2B visa

This type of visa is issued to an unspecified "certain family members of lawful permanent residents". Should you need more information, see different types of US visa and select immigrant visa or as the case may be.

7. E1 visa, E2 visa, E3 visa, EW3 visa, C5 visa, T5 visa, R5 visa, I5 visa

These types of visa are issued you when a US company employ you and you want to travel there. They're all US company/employer sponsored visas for employment in the USA. Employment based immigrants include:-

Priority workers, professionals holding advanced degree, persons of extraordinary ability, professionals, employment creation/investors, certain special immigrants. Again, for more detailed information, see types of US visa and select immigrant visa or as the case may be.

8. SD visa, SR visa

This type of US visa is issued to religious workers.

9. SI visa

This type of visa is issued to Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters traveling to the USA.

10. SQ visa

This visa type is issued to Iraqis and Afghans who worked or works for the USA and want to travel there.

11. DV (diversity visa) program

This type of US visa is issued to people who won lottery to travel and live in the USA. 

You'll need to apply for and win the DV lottery before you can apply for this type of visa. For more information, see the official website of the US DV (visa lottery) program.

12. SB visa

This type of visa is issued to a US resident who traveled and need to return to the USA.

Finally, I must say that there are few other unclear type of US visas that were not listed. 

If you need further information, see full classification of non-immigrant visa. That's for the non immigrant US visa types. Or if you want to know more about the immigrant US visa types, then see full classification of immigrant visa.

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