USA VISAS CATEGORIES

Directory of Visa Categories



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)
Business visitor B-1 (NA)
CNMI-only transitional worker CW-1 (USCIS)
Crewmember D (NA)
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)
Exchange visitor J SEVIS
Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States A-2
NATO1-6
(NA)
Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics O USCIS
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
Chile, Singapore
H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore
DOL
International cultural exchange visitor Q USCIS
Intra-company transferee L USCIS
Medical treatment, visitor for B-2 (NA)
Media, journalist I (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
Religious worker R USCIS
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

Important Notes:

  • 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 <valign=”bottom”>Visa Category</valign=”bottom”>
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):

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]
 

 

E1
E2

E3, EW3

C5, T5, R5, I5

S (many**)

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
Other Immigrants
Diversity Immigrant Visa DV
Returning Resident SB

Important Notes:

*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.

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