What are the different types of visas?

What are the different types of visas?

Whether you’re interested in immigrant or non-immigrant visas, there’s a lot to know about which visa is the right one for you. It often depends on your personal circumstances and whether you’re interested in traveling, working, attending school or a host of other activities. Applying for a visa is not something you want to try on your own, and that’s why it’s important to choose a skilled and experienced visa lawyer to help you through the process.

The attorneys at Carmen Fullerton have decades of experience helping clients secure the visas they need as well as helping immigrants with a wide variety of legal needs. Our bilingual staff speak English and Spanish, and we are well-equipped to explain each type of U.S. visa and guide you in selecting and applying for the right one. To find out more about how we can help, call us at 859-971-0060.

Types of visas

The U.S. Department of State has a directory of visa categories. This can be a helpful place to start. Any citizen of a foreign country wanting to enter the United States must secure a visa in most cases. Immigrant visas are for permanent residence, and non-immigrant visas are for a temporary stay as defined by immigration law. Visas are issued by American embassies and consulates. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also offers information about visa types. There are about 185 different types of U.S. visas. Visa is shorthand for “Visitors International Stay Admission.”

Types of visas can include:

  • Tourist Visas (pleasure travel)
  • Immigration and Naturalization Visas (including by marriage)
  • Student Visas (for studying abroad)
  • Business or Work Visas (for the purpose of employment, both immigrant and non-immigrant).

There are many different types of U.S. visas

Common Immigrant Visas

An immigrant visa is for an alien who plans to live permanently in the United States. After entering the U.S. on this visa, the petitioner will then be granted Permanent or Conditional Resident status.

Persons wishing to immigrate permanently to the U.S. must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is filed by either a qualified relative or a potential employer. Here are a few examples:

Purpose of Travel Example Type of Visa
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen This is for someone married to someone with U.S. citizenship. IR1 or CR1
Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizen This is for U.S. individuals or couples adopting children from a foreign country. IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4
Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability This is for highly skilled and gifted professionals. E3, EW3

Common Non-Immigrant Visas

There are many different types of non-immigrant visas, including those for business/tourists, students, exchange programs, transit employees, religious workers, domestic help, financial investors, victims of sex trade, spousal sponsorship and media, to name a few. There is even a visa for non-citizens working in the U.S. who are victims of crimes. Here’s a partial list:

Purpose of Travel Example Type of Visa
Business/Tourist Visa This is for temporary work (B-1) or pleasure/medical treatment. B-2
Work Visa A specific visa based on the type of work. H, L, O, P and Q
Student Visa This is for academic studies (F-1) or non-academic/vocational studies. M-1
Exchange Visitor Visa This is for exchange programs, including the participant, J-1
and spouses and children. J-2
Transit/Ship Crew Visa This is for transit visas, C
involving immediate and continuous transit through the U.S. en route to a foreign destination, and for crew members onboard sea vessels and aircraft. D
Religious Worker Visa This is for individuals working in a religious capacity on a temporary basis. R
Domestic Employee Visa This is for cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, nannies, au pairs and other household staff that accompany or follow their employers into the U.S. B-1
It also includes household staff that accompany foreign diplomats and government officials. A-3 or G-5
Journalist and Media Visa This is for the foreign press and members of the international media who are temporarily traveling to the U.S. to engage in their profession. I
Non-Citizen Victims of Crime This is for non-citizens living and working in the U.S. who were victims of a crime. U
Capital Investor Visa This is for non-citizens who are investing a large sum of money in the U.S. E-2
Victims of Human Trafficking This is for individuals unlawfully victimized by the sex trade. T
Temporary Agriculture Worker This is for a temporary worker who plants, harvests or otherwise works on farms and in agricultural environments. H-2A

Hire a Skilled Immigration and Visa Lawyer Today

If you are an immigrant or non-immigrant who needs a U.S. visa for work, travel, marriage, study or any other reason, the skilled and experienced visa lawyers at Carman Fullerton can help you get it. We have decades of experienced assisting both domestic and international clients with a wide variety of visa and immigration legal services. To find out more about how we can help you, call us for a free initial consultation at 859-971-0060.