If you’re a non-U.S. citizen who wants to come here to work, study, travel, receive medical treatment or other reasons, the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a number of different non-immigrant classifications for individuals to enter the United States for a specific temporary basis.
What is a nonimmigrant visa?
There are essentially two (2) types of visas offered through the Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas.
- Immigrant visas are specifically intended for those who have a goal of eventually making the U.S. their permanent residence. There’s a limited number of immigrant visas and the wait time can be substantial.
- Nonimmigrant visas, on the other hand, typically do not have associated waiting lists and are a bit easier to secure. While a nonimmigrant visa limits your stay in the U.S. to a defined temporary basis, you may be able to secure an extension.
What types of nonimmigrant visas are there?
There are a host of categories of nonimmigrant visas that essentially fall into four (4) main categories:
- medical treatment; and
- certain types of temporary work
The specific types of nonimmigrant visas include:
- traveling as a tourist
- NAFTA professional worker from Canada or Mexico
- religious worker
- temporary agricultural worker
- temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature
- athlete (amateur or professional)
- au pair (exchange visitor)
- border crossing guard
- diplomat or foreign government officials
- domestic employee or nanny
- exchange visitor
- employee of a designated international or organization or NATO
- foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.
- foreign national with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
- international cultural exchange visitor
- visitor seeking medical treatment
- member of the media (journalist)
- victim of criminal activity; and
- spouse or child of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)