What are Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas?

Temporary non-immigrant visas allow individuals to come to the United States for a temporary period of time for a variety of reasons depending on the type of visa, including travel/tourism, work, education, health care, business, and more. The length of time a non-immigrant visa is valid, and the requirements to receive a visa vary based on the purpose of the visa.

What are the Different Types of Non-Immigrant Visas?

There are numerous types of non-immigrant visas that all allow individuals to temporarily come to the United States for specific purposes. Each of the different types of non-immigrant visas, and any sub-categories, have specific requirements and eligibility criteria to be granted.

Education

F-1 Visa

The F-1 visa is available to full-time students to come to the United States to study at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or language training program. The program must be academic to qualify for the F-1 visa.

J-1 Visa

The J-1 visa is available to individuals sponsored by an exchange program designated by the United States Department of States to come to the United States. Designated exchange programs are those designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and science.

M-3

The M-3 visa is available to citizens or residents of Mexico or Canada who commute to the United States to attend vocational school.

Work or Business

A-1 Visa

The A-1 visa is available to ambassadors, public ministers, and career diplomats, as well as their spouses or children, to come to the United States for the purpose of carrying out their diplomatic role.

A-2 Visa

The A-2 visa is available to certain other officials or employees of foreign governments, as well as their spouses or children, to come to the United States for the purpose of carrying out their governmental role.

A-3 Visa

The A-3 visa is available to personal attendants/assistants, servants, and employees of A-1 and A-2 visa holders, as well as their spouse or children, to come to the United States for the purpose of working alongside the A-1 or A-2 visa holder.

B-1 Visa

The B-1 visa allows individuals from foreign countries to visit the United States temporarily to consult with business associates; attend a scientific, education, professional, or business convention or conference; settle an estate; or negotiate a contract.

D-1 Visa

The D-1 visa is available to crew members of a ship or plane who land temporarily in the United States and who will depart aboard the same ship or plane on which they arrived in the United States.

D-2 Visa

The D-2 visa is available to crew members of a ship or plane who land temporarily in the United States and who will depart aboard a different ship or plane than the one on which they arrived.

E-1 Visa

The E-1 visa is available to individuals participating in the trade of goods with the United States and who are citizens of countries with which the United States has a standing applicable treaty of commerce and application. E-1 visa holders are admitted to the United States solely to participate in international trade on their own behalf. Certain employees of an E-1 visa holder or of a qualifying organization may also receive an E-1 visa.

E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is available to individuals participating in investment in a United States business and who are citizens of countries with which the United States has a standing applicable treaty of commerce and navigation. Certain employees of an E-2 visa holder or of a qualifying organization may also receive an E-2 visa.

E-3 Visa

The E-3 visa allows Australians who work in a specialty occupation to live temporarily in the United States if they are a national of Australia; possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States; and fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

G-1 Visa

The G-1 visa is available to individuals who are designated principal representatives of foreign governments and are coming to the United States to work for an international organization. The spouse and children of a principal representative may also come on a G-1 visa.

G-2 Visa

The G-2 visa is available to accredited representatives of foreign governments who are coming to the United States to work for an international organization. The spouse and children of an accredited representative may also come on a G-2 visa.

G-3 Visa

The G-3 visa is available to representatives of foreign governments and their spouse or children when the representative’s government is not a member of an international organization.

G-4 Visa

The G-4 visa is available to officers or employees of international organizations. The spouse and children of officers or employees may also come to the United States on a G-5 visa.

G-5 Visa

The G-5 visa is available to the attendants, servants, and personal employees, as well as their spouse and children, of individuals who hold a G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa.

H-1B Visa

The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers temporarily in specialty occupations. H-1B visas are specifically for workers in certain specialty occupations who wish to be employed in the U.S. temporarily. A worker using a H-1B visa cannot stay in the U.S. permanently.

H-1C Visa

The H-1C visa is available to nurses who will work in the United States for up to three years in an area or areas of the United States where there is a need for health professionals because they are in short supply.

H-2A Visa

The H-2A visa is available to agricultural workers who will work in the United States where there is a shortage of U.S. workers, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

H-2B Visa

The H-2B visa is available to various types of workers in different industries who will work in the United States where there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers.

H-3 Visa

The H-3 visa is available to individuals to participate in on-the-job training in the United States when such training is unavailable in their home country.

I-1 Visa

The I-1 visa is available to bona fide representatives of foreign press outlets to come to the United States for the sole purpose of working in that capacity. The I-1 visa also allows the spouse and children of visa holders to come to the United States.

L-1 Visas

The L-1 visas allows United States employers to transfer an executive, manager, or employees with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the United States.

NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, and NATO-5 Visas

The NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, and NATO-5 visas are available to officials, representatives, and experts under the NATO treaty to come to the United States, along with immediate family members, pursuant to provisions of the treaty.

NATO-6 Visa

The NATO-6 visa is available to civilians who accompany military forces on missions authorized under the NATO treaty. The NATO-6 visa also allows immediate family members of these civilians to come to the United States.

NATO-7 Visa

The NATO-7 visa is available to servants, attendants, and personal employees of individuals who hold a NATO visa 1 through 6. The NATO-7 visa also allows immediate family members of NATO-7 employees to come to the United States.

O-1 Visa

The O-1 visa is available to workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, or the arts.

O-2 Visa

The O-2 visa is available to individuals who will accompany a worker who qualifies for an O-1A or O-1B visa to assist the primary visa holder in a specific event or performance.

P-1 Visa

The P-1 visa is available to athletes who will perform at a specific athletic competition.

P-2 Visa

The P-2 visa is available to individuals coming to the United States to perform as an artist or entertainer individually or as part of a group.

P-3 Visa

The P-3 visa is available to individuals who are coming to the United States to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers under a program that is culturally unique, individually or as part of a group.

Q-2 Visa

The Q-2 visa is available to individuals who participate in the Irish Peace Process and Cultural Training Program.

R-1 Visa

The R-1 visa is available to individuals who are ministers or other workers of recognized religions.

TN Visa

The TN visas allow nonimmigrant Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in professional business activities.

Humanitarian / Law Enforcement

S-5 Visa

The S-5 visa allows individuals to come to the United States for the purpose of supplying U.S. authorities, such as law enforcement, information about a criminal enterprise.

S-6 Visa

The S-6 visa allows individuals to come to the United States for the purpose of supplying U.S. authorities, such as law enforcement, information about a terrorist organization.

T-1 Visa

The T-1 visa is available to individuals who are a victim of human trafficking.

U-1 Visa

The U-1 visa is available to individuals who are a victim of physical or mental abuse under U.S. law and who are assisting law enforcement investigations.

Medical Treatment and More

B-2 Visa

The B-2 visa allows individuals from foreign countries to visit the United States for tourism; vacation; visiting friends or relatives; medical treatment; participation in social events or amateur contests; or enrollment in short recreational study courses.

Family

F-2 Visa

The F-2 visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a F-1 visa holder to accompany the F-1 visa holder in the United States.

H-4 Visa

The H-4 visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children of H-1, H-2, and H-4 visa holders.

J-2 Visa

The J-2 visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a J-1 visa holder to accompany the J-1 visa holder in the United States.

K-1 Visa

The K-1 visa is available to foreign citizens who are engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen.

K-2 Visa

The K-2 visa is available to the children of a foreign citizen who is engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen.

K-3 Visa

The K-3 visa is available to foreign citizens who are the spouse of a U.S. citizen.

K-4 Visa

The K-4 visa is available to the eligible children of a foreign citizen.

L-2 Visa

The L-2 visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of a L-1 visa holder who wish to accompany the visa holder in the United States.

M-2 Visa

The M-2 visa is available to the spouse and children of M-1 visa holders.

N-8 Visa

The N-8 visa is available to the parents of certain special immigrants.

N-9 Visa

The N-9 visa is available to the children of certain special immigrants or individuals who are N-9 visa holders.

O-3 Visa

The O-3 visa is available to individuals who are the spouse or children of an O-1A, O-1B, or O-2 visa holder.

P-4 Visa

The P-4 visa is available to the spouse or the unmarried children of a P visa holder.

Q-3 Visa

The Q-3 visa is available to the spouse and the unmarried children of a Q-1 visa holder.

R-2 Visa

The R-2 visa is available to the spouse and the unmarried children of a R-1 visa holder.

T-2 & T-3 Visa

The T-2 and T-3 visas are available to the spouse and the children of victims of trafficking who come to the United States under a T-1 visa.

U-2 & U-3 Visa

The U-2 and U-3 visas are available to the spouse and children of a U-1 visa holder.

V Visa

The V visa is available to the spouse and children of individuals who petitioned to be U.S. lawful permanent residents before December 21, 2000 and who have waited three years for the approval of their visa petition or for a visa to become available.

Tourism

C-1 Visa

The C-1 visa is available to individuals who are foreign travelers immediately and continuously transiting through the United States.

How Long are Non-Immigrant Visas Valid?

The length of time that non-immigrant visas are valid depends on the type of visa/purpose of the visa. Visas for business, work, or education are likely to be valid for a longer period of time than tourist visas. Some visas only last as long as it takes to accomplish the visa’s purpose. For example, education visas are generally valid for only as long as it takes to achieve the degree sought or complete the program.