U.S. Visa Categories

Nonimmigrant visa overview

U.S. law provides for a wide variety of visas and classifications (“nonimmigrant visas”), all of which have particular requirements. Nonimmigrant visas are generally intended for short-term stays in the U.S. of a few months or years. An immigrant visa holder, on the other hand, is entitled to apply for entry to the U.S. as an immigrant, receives a Green Card after entry and can live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

Which nonimmigrant visa one qualifies for depends not only on one’s intended activities, but also on one’s nationality. For example, certain visas are only available to citizens of Chile, Singapore, Mexico or Canada.

There are nonimmigrant visas for employees with a college education and employees with no education, visas for investors and entrepreneurs and visas for executives and managers. There are visas for renowned artists and athletes and special visas for entire sports teams and performers. And which visa is available to persons wanting to study in the U.S. depends on whether they intend to enroll in a full academic program of study, or participate in vocational trainings or courses.

The following are the most important U.S. nonimmigrant visa categories:

The list above is not exhaustive. Depending on your particular circumstances, there may be other nonimmigrant visa categories available to you. Details about other nonimmigrant visa options are available in our blog.

Overview of nonimmigrant visa categories

Below you will find a longer list nonimmigrant visa categories for travel to the U.S. For each nonimmigrant visa type there are specific requirements that have to be fulfilled for the visa to be granted. Regulations regarding nonimmigrant visas can be confusing, making it difficult to make the right selection. If you need assistance choosing the right nonimmigrant visa for yourself, for an investment or a business venture, for an employee or for a relative, our experts are here to help.

A visa For diplomats and foreign government officials
B visa For visitors (tourists, business travelers)
C visa Transit visa (for crew members of a ship or an airplane, travelers to the UN headquarters in New York)
D visa For crewmembers of a (cruise) ship or an airplane
E visa For treaty investors and treaty traders from countries which have bilateral trade agreements with the U.S. 
F visa For pupils and students (universities, conservatories, high schools), or participants of language courses
G visa For foreign government officials who are members of international organizations (e.g. UN)
H visa For temporary workers
I visa For journalists and media representatives
J visa For participants in exchange programs (pupils, students, au-pairs, trainees, etc.)
K visa  For fiancé(e)s or spouses of U.S. citizens
L visa For intracompany transferees (executives, managers, workers with specialized knowledge
M visa For trainees/students in non-academic training programs (vocational training)
N visa For parents and children of certain Greencard holders
O visa For individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement (athletes, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, etc.)
P visa For individuals with extraordinary abilities who perform together (orchestra members, circus artists, athletes)
Q visa For participants in cultural exchange programs
R visa For religious workers of a recognized religious community 
S visa For individuals with certain knowledge of criminal activities in organisations or companies (witnesses)
T visa For victims of human trafficking
U visa For crime victims who suffered mental or physical abuse
V visa For spouses and children of Greencard holders

We advise on U.S. visas and green cards

If you need assistance with the application for a U.S. visa feel free to contact us by e-mail (info@visum-usa.com) or by phone (+49 (0)69 / 76 75 77 80). We can schedule a telephonic or in-person appointment for a consultation with our expert German attorney Thomas Schwab. During the consultation we can discuss which visa(s) you may be eligible for and provide you with an overview of the application requirements. We can also assist you with the entire application process.