United States Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Types

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. must typically obtain a visa. There are two categories of U.S. visas: immigrant and nonimmigrant.

Immigrant visas are essentially a path to permanent residence. Either through family or employment sponsorship, a person who successfully files for this visa meets the essential criteria to live and work in the US. This happens either through a family relationship to a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, such as being a spouse or child. On the other hand, it can happen through employment sponsorship which normally requires a permanent job offer for a particular position. Some employment-based immigrant visas can be self-petitioned by the individual without any employer sponsorship.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign-born individuals for the purposes of a temporary visit to the United States. Generally, the terms of a nonimmigrant visa require that the visa holder depart the U.S. within a certain time frame. The purpose for the visit may be tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work.

Please visit Travel.State.gov for more detailed information.

Please find below different nonimmigrant visa categories:

A Visas (Official Visas)
A-1: For Ambassadors, public ministers & consular officers
A-2: For immediate family members of A-1
A-3: Attendants & servants of A-1 and A-2 holders

B (Business/Visitor) Visa
B-1 Temporary visitor for business
B-2 Temporary visitor for leisure

C & D Visa (For Aliens in transit)
C-1,2: Alien in transit directly through US
C-3: Family of C-1,C-2 in transit
C-4: Transit without Visa(TWOV)
D-1: Sailors departing on vessel of arrival
D-2: Sailors departing by other means

E - Visa (For Traders/Investors)
E-1 Treaty Trader, spouse and children
E-2 Treaty Investor, spouse and children

F Visa (Students)
Want to study or research at a U.S. college? Then F is the visa for you -
F-1: Academic Student
F-2: Spouse or child of F-1

H (Temporary Worker) Visa
H-1B: Persons in a specialty occupation
H-2B: Seasonal nonagricultural workers
H-3: Trainees other than medical/academic; also training of handicaps
H-4: Dependants of H visa holders

I Visa (Media persons)
Are you a reporter, film person, Editor? Then you require an I-visa - Essential docs: Your press ID, a letter from the editor.

J & Q Exchange Visitor Visa
J-1 exchange visitors may be academics, scientists, business people or students.
J-1: Visas for exchange visitors
J-2: Spouse or 'child' of J-1 under 21

Fiancé (e) of US Citizen
K-1 Fiancé (e)
K-2 Minor child of K-1
K-3 Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (LIFE Act)
K-4 Child of K-3 (LIFE Act)
Docs: Marriage certificate & Photos, Intent of marrying within 90 days in US (for K1). --à For those who are looking to settle down, well, this is the way to go. J

L Visa (Intracompany Transferees)
L-1A Executive, managerial
L-1B Specialized knowledge
L-2 Spouse or child of L-1

Vocational and Language Students
M-1 Vocational student or other non-academic student
M-2 Spouse or child of M-1

O -Visa (For Prodigies)
O-1: For a Genius in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics.
O-2: Alien's (support) accompanying O-1
O-3: Spouse or child of O-1 or O-2

Athletes and Entertainers
P-1: Athletes & Entertainment groups
P-2: Entertainers in exchange programs
P-3: Entertainers in cultural programs
P-4: Spouse or child of P-1, 2, or 3

R-Visa (Religious Workers)
R-1 Religious workers
R-2 Spouse or child of R-1 

Please find below different immigrant visa categories:

Immediate Relatives IR-1 Spouse of U.S. citizen
IR-2: Child of U.S. citizen
IR-3: Orphan from a non-Hague country (i.e., not a party to the Hague Adoption Convention) adopted abroad by U.S. citizen
IR-4: Orphan from a non-Hague country to be adopted in the United States by U.S. citizen
IR-5: Parent of U.S. citizen at least 21 years of age
IH-3: Orphan from a Hague country adopted abroad by U.S. citizen
IH-4: Orphan from a Hague country to be adopted in the United States by U.S. citizen
CR-1: Spouse of U.S. citizen (conditional status)
CR-2: Child of U.S. citizen (conditional status)

Special Immigrants
SB-1: Returning resident
SC-1: Certain persons who lost U.S. citizenship by marriage
SC-2: Certain persons who lost U.S. citizenship by serving in foreign armed forces

Family-Sponsored Immigrants: First Preference
F11: Unmarried son or daughter of U.S. citizen
F12: Child of F11
B11: Self-petition unmarried son or daughter of U.S. citizen
B12: Child of B11

Family-Sponsored Immigrants: Second Preference (Subject to Country Limitations)
F21: Spouse of permanent resident
F22: Child of permanent resident
F23: Child of F21 or F22
F24: Unmarried son/daughter of permanent resident
F25: Child of F24
B21: Self-petition spouse of permanent resident
B22: Self-petition child of permanent resident
B23: Child of B21 or B22
B24: Self-petition unmarried son/daughter of permanent resident
B25:  Child of B24

Family-Sponsored Immigrants: Second Preference (Exempt from Country Limitations)
FX1: Spouse of permanent resident
FX2: Child of permanent resident
FX3: Child of FX1 or FX2
BX1: Self-petition spouse of permanent resident
BX2: Self-petition child of permanent resident
BX3: Child of BX1 or BX2

Family-Sponsored Immigrants: Third Preference
F31: Married son or daughter of U.S. citizen
F32: Spouse of F31
F33: Child of F31
B31: Self-petition married son or daughter of U.S. citizen B32
B32: Spouse of B31
B33: Child of B31

Family-Sponsored Immigrants: Fourth Preference
F41: Brother or sister of U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age
F42: Spouse of F41
F43: Child of F41

Employment-Based Immigrants: First Preference (Priority Workers)
E11: Person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics
E12: Outstanding professor or researcher
E13: Multinational executive or manager
E14: Spouse of E11, E12, or E13
E15: Child of E11, E12, or E13

Employment-Based Immigrants: Second Preference (Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability)
E21: Professional holding advanced degree or person of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business
E22: Spouse of E21
E23: Child of E21

Employment-Based Immigrants: Third Preference (Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers)
E31: Skilled worker
E32: Professional holding baccalaureate degree
E34: Spouse of E31 or E32
E35: Child of E31 or E32
EW3: Other workers
EW4: Spouse of EW3
EW5: Child of EW3

Employment-Based Immigrants: Fourth Preference (Certain Special Immigrants)
BC-1: Certain international broadcasters
BC-2: Spouse of BC-1
BC-3: Child of BC-1
SD-1: Minister of religion
SD-2: Spouse of SD-1
SD-3: Child of SD-1
SE-1: Certain employees or former employees of the U.S. Government abroad
SE-2: Spouse of SE-1
SE-3: Child of SE-1
SF-1: Certain former employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government
SF-2: Spouse or child of SF-1
SG-1: Certain former employees of the U.S. Government in the Panama Canal Zone SG-2
SH-2: Spouse or child of SH-1
SJ-2: Spouse or child of SJ-1 (certain foreign medical graduates)
SK-1: Certain retired international organization employees
SK-2: Spouse of SK-1 SK-3
SK-4: Certain surviving spouses of deceased international organization employees SL-1
SM-1: Person recruited outside the United States who has served, or is enlisted to serve, in the U.S. Armed Forces for 12 years (became eligible after October 1, 1991)
SM-2: Spouse of SM-1
SM-3: Child of SM-1
SM-4: Person recruited outside the United States who has served, or is enlisted to serve, in the U.S. Armed Forces for 12 years (eligible as of October 1, 1991)
SM-5: Spouse or child of SM-4
SN-1: Certain retired NATO-6 civilian employees
SN-2: Spouse of SN-1
SN-3: Certain unmarried sons or daughters of NATO-6 civilian employees
SN-4: Certain surviving spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
SR-1: Certain religious workers (subgroup numerical limit)
SR-2: Spouse of SR-1
SR-3: Child of SR-1

Employment-Based Immigrants: Fifth Preference (Employment Creation - Investors) (Conditional Status)
C51: Employment creation outside targeted area
C52: Spouse of C51
C53: Child of C51
T51: Employment creation in targeted rural/high unemployment area (subgroup numerical set-aside)
T52: Spouse of T51
T53: Child of T51
R51: Investor pilot program, not in targeted area
R52: Spouse of R51
R53: Child of R51
I51: Investor pilot program, in targeted area
I52: Spouse of I51
I53: Child of I51

List of states in United States

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