Millions of people enter and leave the USA each and every year, month, or day. It is a very popular destination for immigrants, tourists, entrepreneurs e.t.c
However, if you are not a resident of the USA you most likely will need a visa to gain entrance into the country.
A US visa is simply a stamp that you get on travel documents most especially your passport which guarantees your eligibility to enter the USA.
Having a US VISA doesn’t really warrant you entering the US. It is ultimately at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Customs and Border Protection(CPB) inspectors.
While Citizens of most countries need a US visa to gain access to the country, the other hand, citizens of visa waiver countries, citizens of Bermuda, and citizens of Canada can travel to the US for short visits or temporary stays for about 90 days at most, if they travel for business or tourism purposes.
An Electronic System for Travel Authorization can be granted to them by the US Customs and Border Protection (CPB).
This particular authorizing document categorizes the traveler as a citizen of a country participating in the VWP agreement initiative.
An Electronic passport with biometric information will be required from the travelers because it has a machine-readable zone on its biographic page.
There are about 185 types of US visas, grouped into two main categories:
- Non-immigrant Visa: Issued for temporary visits to the United States such as for tourism, business, employment, family visits, and study.
- Immigrant visa: Issued to people moving to the United States permanently under the Immigrant Investor Scheme or Family Reunion.
Here are the main types of US visas:
US visitor visas are issued to people who wish to visit the United States for a maximum period of six months and are divided into:
B1 visa for business visits.
B2 visa for tourist visitors.
F and M visas are basically used for professional and educational purposes. Obtaining an F1 or M1 visa is vital depending on your school and area of study. The categories of these US student visas are:
F1 visa is basically for students.
F2 visa is dependent on F1 visa holders.
M1 visa is basically for business purposes.
Exchange visitor visa
The Exchange Visitor Visa is aimed at people who participate in exchange programs and certain types of practical training and employment in the United States. These visas are divided into:
Temporary work visa
This visa is issued for temporary work in the United States.
The categories of a working visa include the following;
H1B visa. For individuals working in highly specialized fields.
H1B1 visa. This is a type of visa specifically for citizens of Chile and Singapore.
H-2A visa. Granted to temporary agricultural workers from selected countries in which the US has some kind of interest.
H-2B visa. Other types are given to temporary seasonal workers who do non-agricultural work.
H-3 visa. Achieved by those who want to take advantage of training and education opportunities.
L1 visa. Issued to Intracompany managers or executives.
People who have exceptional ability in arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics and want to work temporarily in their field of expertise need an O visa. There are three types of these visas
O1 visa – this is basically the type of visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities.
O2 visa –this is basically the type of visa for the assistants of O1 visa holders.
O3 visa –this is basically the type of visa for dependents of O1 visa holders.
P visas. are issued to sportspersons and their coaching teams.
Temporary Religious Workers who want to practice within the US in religious capacities need to get the R1 visa type.
TN/TD visas. Is typically a type of visa for citizens of Mexico or Canada who are willing to be working in the NAFTA organization.
E3 visas. For nationals of Australia. who will be working in specialty occupations.
Investor and Treaty Visas
The E visas are called Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas respectively and are for those who have treaties of commerce and navigation in the US. There are two types of this visa:
E1 Visa – this is basically a treaty trader visa.
E2 Visa – this is basically a treaty investor visa
Diplomatic and Official Visas
The main Categories of official and diplomatic visas include the following details;
The A1 visa is basically for foreign and diplomatic government officials who are traveling to the US on official duties or representing their government.
The A2 NATO1-6 visa is basically a type of visa that is designed only for foreign military personnel who are about to serve or be stationed within the United States.
If you have been employed in an international organization in the United States, you will need to get a G-1 to G-5 visa. Those who will work for NATO are definitely guaranteed a NATO visa.
Visas for Victims of Crime and Human Trafficking
The following below are definitely part of this type of Visas;
T visas are a type of visa typically for victims of human trafficking who have severe trauma, but can also assist in investigating crimes related to human trafficking.
The U visa is typically for those who have been a victim of certain criminal activities and that can aid in the investigation or prosecution of those criminals.
Transit and Crewmember Visas. The categories of this type of visa include:
The C Visa is typically a US transit visa
The D visa is typically a type of US visa for crew members who will work on a sea vessel or international airline.
Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored Visas
Here are the categories of the Immediate relative and Family Sponsored visas:
The F2A and F2B visas are a type of visas typically for the families of Lawful Permanent Residents, especially their spouses, unmarried sons, minor children, and daughters aged 21 and above.
IR-2 visa – this type of visa is typically for unmarried children who are under the age of 21 years
IR5 Visa –This type of visa is basically for the parents of US Citizens who are at least above the age of 21 years.
F1 – for unmarried sons and daughters and their minor children
F3 visa – this type of visa is typically for married daughters and sons and their minor children
F4 visa – this type of visa is typically for sisters and brothers of US Citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
The IR3, IH3, IR4, and IH4 visas are for children who are from other countries and will be adopted by people or parents who are US citizens
The SQ visa is for Afghanistan or Iraqi citizens who will be working for or on behalf of the US government and they will get Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).