If you plan to enter the United States, it is a must for you to get a Visa. There are many different types of available visas for USA.
Travel, USA, Work Visa

USA Visa Types and Categories

Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by Visa Journal

If you plan to enter the United States, it is a must for you to get a Visa. There are many different types of visas for USA available for you. The exact type of USA visa that you need is determined by your intended purpose, your qualification, and the visa requirements.

No single visa is universal for all people. The United States Department of state bureau of Consulate affairs states that all visa applicants have to show that they meet the specific visa requirements. This guide shows you the types of US visas.

Visa categories in USA

While there are different types of visa, there are only two main visa categories in US. It is either:

  1. Non-immigrant visa or;
  2. Immigrant visa

Who is eligible for the Nonimmigrant visa to USA?

The nonimmigrant visa to USA is for those people targeting to stay in US on a temporary basis. This temporary allowance enables you to stay and complete your intended purpose. Nonimmigrant visas to USA can be work visas, tourist visas and student visas shown below:

US work visas

If you find temporary work in the USA, you need a specific Visa from the many US work visas available. The work visa depends on the work that you will be doing. Work Visas are different. Each has its specific application processes, costs, and processing time.

But there is one thing you must have; you must have a direct job offer from a United States employer. All these US work visas revolve around this employer. This prospective employer files a petition with USCIS on your behalf. Thus, a rule that you can only work for this employer who filed for your work visa.

The following are the types of US work visas;

Work Visa typeThe working purpose
C-1/D Visa (Combined Transit and Crewman)For you if you are a crew member of transit ships or international flights.
E-1 Visa (Treaty Trader)For the managers/executives/specialists/supervisors of firms engaging in trade with the U.S.
E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)For company executives investing in the U.S.
H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupation Workers)For professionals who are highly qualified and the ones with academic degrees
I Visa (Foreign News Media)This work visa is for media personalities, representatives and journalists
L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee)For the internal transfer of employees of all nationalities
L-1 Blanket Visa / RegistrationFor the internal transfer of employees with a simplified application process
O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability)For people who possess some distinct abilities and skills.
TN VisaFor the skilled workers coming in from Mexico and Canada.

US Student visa types

The opportunities for education in the United States are endless. There are opportunities for higher education, student transfer, trainee programs and internship. Of course, you first have to get acceptance from a school or educational program in the US. After acceptance, apply for your student visa. Choose from the following US student visa types.

The visa offered to the students are:

  • F-1 Visa

This student visa is for you if you wish to study in a US approved college, university or public secondary school

  • J-1 Visa
    This visa is for you if you are going to the United States to engage in an exchange program. An authorized United States exchange program sponsor should first accept you. This allows you to proceed and apply for this Visa.
  • M-1 Visa

This Visa is for you if you are going to the US in a non-academic vocational training or internship capacity

The Tourist visa USA types

The tourist visa USA offers is for those tourists who want to stay for a longer period of up to 180 days. This visa type is the B-2 Visa for Tourists.

Who is eligible for the Immigrant visa?

If you want to stay in the United states on a permanent basis, then go for the immigrant visa to USA. It is also known as the Green card. Having this type of visa will enable you to live in US as long as you desire. Immigrant visas include the following:

EB-1 (Priority Workers)Relatives/Spouses of U.S. citizensParticipating in the yearly Green Card Lottery
EB-2 (Advanced Degrees/Exceptional Ability)Relatives/Spouses of permanent U.S. residents
EB-3 (Skilled Workers, Professionals and other Workers)
EB-4 (Special Immigrants including Religious Workers)
EB-5 (Immigration Investor Program)

Steps to take when applying for any types of visas for USA

The application is an online process. The steps to take include:

  1. First find out if you need a visa. There are 39 countries that have a US Visa Waiver Program (VMP). People from these countries do not need a visa to travel to the USA. If you find that your country does not have this program, proceed to seek a visa.
  2. Choose the type of visa that you are eligible for. Your purpose of going to the USA determines the visa type that you will choose. Generally, you will fill in an:
  • online application form,
  • show photos,
  • pay a visa application fee,
  • schedule an interview,
  • wait for the visa application confirmation,

How long does the types of visas processing take?

The process of applying and waiting for  US visa depends on the United States Consulate or embassy.

How long before a us visa expires

At any us border port of entry, a US immigration officers gives you the paper Form I-94 admission stamp. It details that you are a legal immigrant and shows your arrival and departure/ expiry date. Always keep the visa safe. If it gets damaged, immediately seek help from the US embassy or a Consulate.

Check out the official us citizenship and immigration service website for more information on how to get started.