Is A Temporary Visa Right For You?
Nonimmigrant visas that allow a foreign national to live and work temporarily in the United States are as follows. For other nonimmigrant visas more commonly used by business, visit our Nonimmigrant Visas: Business And Employment-Based page.
- A Diplomatic Visa: Available to foreign government officials, their employees and family members recognized by the U.S. coming on official business.
- B-1/B-2 Visitor’s Visas: Available to visitors coming to the U.S. for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). B-1 business visitor visas are for a short duration and must not involve local employment. Nationals of certain countries may also be eligible for a visa waiver to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without the need to obtain a visa at the U.S. Consulate before seeking entry. (e.g., Canada, U.K., Japan, South Korea).
- C Transit Visas: The C Visa is available to persons in immediate and continuous transit through the U.S. (e.g., Crewmen joining a ship. Businessmen traveling from Belize to Jamaica through the U.S.)
- D Crewmen’s Visa: Available to a crewman (a person serving in good faith in any capacity required for normal operating and service on board a vessel), crewman trainees and employees of owners or concessionaires (e.g., a beautician on a ship).
- F-1 Academic Student Visas: Available to students pursuing full-time, nonvocational academic programs at post-secondary institutions who are qualified to pursue such study.
- A student in F-1 status is given a duration of status (“D/S”), meaning s/he maintains the F-1 status as long as s/he is enrolled in the program full-time. Absent prior permission by the school and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the student must be enrolled at school full-time in order to maintain the F-1 status.
- An F-1 student may work pursuant to curricular practical training (“CPT”) program during school years.
- In addition, an F-1 student may work pursuant to optional practical training (“OPT”) program while in school or after graduation for up to one year unless the student is studying in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field, in which case he or she may receive 29 months of OPT.
- Any OPT period used during school years is subtracted from the maximum one-year OPT period.
- OPT must be completed within 14 months of the completion of the study.
- An F-1 student is given a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S. immediately following either completion of study or OPT.
- A person in F-1 status may change status to H-1B (or another status) during the 60-day grace period.
- G Visas: G Visas are for representatives of foreign governments and international organizations and their employees and family members. There are five different categories:
- G-1s are for members of a permanent mission of a recognized government.
- G-2s are for representatives of a recognized government and their immediate family, including military officers assisting the U.N. with peacekeeping matters, attendees of courses at the IMF and the World Bank, and other accredited representatives and immediate family.
- G-3s are for G-1/G-2s who are from governments without de jure recognition from the U.S. or are from a nonmember country of an international organization.
- G-4s are for officers and employees of international organizations and immediate family, including personnel of any rank.
- G-5s are for attendants, servants and personal employees of G-1 to G-4.
- I-1 Journalist/Representatives of Media Visas: Available to members of the foreign press or the media seeking to enter the U.S. solely for noncommercial vocational purposes. I visa holders are admitted for the duration of status and may extend their stay as long as they continue to pursue their vocational activities in the U.S.
- M-1 Vocational Student Visas: Persons seeking to pursue nonacademic vocational study at post-secondary vocational/business schools may be eligible for M-1 visas (e.g. flight or cooking school). Unlike other duration of status visas (i.e., F-1 & I-1), M-1 visa holders may not change their status to another nonimmigrant status. The maximum period is typically 18 months.
- N Visas: Available to parents and children of G-4s and NATO employees accorded special immigrant status under INA §101(a)(27)(I) or (L) if the child is given the visa during the time s/he is under 21.
- S Visa: Available to persons who assisted the U.S. federal or state government by providing information essential to the success of an authorized criminal investigation or prosecution.
- T Visa: A person who has been subject to severe forms of trafficking in persons (the use of force fraud or coercion for sex trafficking and/or involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery).
- U Visa: A person who has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain crimes may obtain a U visa if he or she is cooperating with law enforcement authority.
- V Visa: A spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident if the permanent resident filed a petition for the spouse or child before December 21, 2000, and is pending for more than three years.
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