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Non Immigrant: Temporary Status (Visas)

Temporary Visitors

A non-immigrant is a foreign national seeking to enter the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, and once in the U.S. are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visa was issued. Among other requirements, foreign nationals seeking temporary admission must establish that the purpose of their visit is temporary and the foreign national must agree to depart at the end of his/her authorized stay or extension.

The following is a list of various types of temporary visitor visas:

Business or Pleasure Visitors

  • B1 - Visitor for Business; B2 - Visitor for Pleasure For coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure. B-1 business visitor visas are for brief visits and do not allow employment. Nationals of some countries are allowed to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa.
Temporary Workers
  • E1 - Treaty Trader; E2 - Treaty Investor Investors / traders and their employees may receive visas to carry on their business in the U.S. if the home country has a commercial treaty with the United States conferring visa eligibility.
  • H-1B - Specialty Occupation, DOD Employee - Professionals with at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in work experience may be eligible for a nonimmigrant visa if the position requires such a degree. Their employers should demonstrate that they are paid at least the prevailing wage for the job.
  • H-2A - Agricultural Labor
  • H-2B - Other Temporary Labor
  • H-3 - Trainee
  • I - Representatives of Foreign News Media
  • L - Intra Company Transferee - L-1 visas are available to executives, managers and specialized employees moving to their employer's U.S. affiliate sites. Executives and managers holding L-1 visas may be eligible for permanent residency without the need for a labor certification.
  • O1, O2 - Extraordinary Ability - The O-1 category is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, education, or business.
  • P1, P2, P3 - Athletes and Group Entertainers - For athletes, artists, and entertainers.
  • Q - International Cultural Exchange Program
  • R - Religious Vocation or Profession - Religious workers include ordained clergy and those who have taken religious vows, as well as religious professionals such as choral directors, teachers of religion, and so forth.

Students Attending U.S. Schools

  • F1 - Academic Student - Persons enrolling in a full course of study at an educational institution in the United States may be eligible for a visa for the course of their study and a period for practical training (P/T) in their field.
  • M - Vocational Student
  • J - Exchange Visitor - People coming to the U.S. through an approved exchange program may be eligible for the J-1 Exchange Visitor's visa. These are students, scholars, job trainees, faculty, professors and research scholars, specialists, medical residents, government visitors, etc. Sometimes, a J-1 program will require that the beneficiary spend at least two years outside of the U.S. before being permitted to switch to a different nonimmigrant visa or to permanent residency.

Foreign National Entering the U.S. as the Fiancé (e) of a U.S. Citizen

  • K -1 Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizen - A Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a non-immigrant visa in order to marry within 90 days of entry to the U.S.
  • NAFTA Professionals
  • TN - Trade NAFTA Professionals - A special visa category for nationals of Canada / Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Diversity Visa: DV-1 Visas (the "Green Card Lottery") - Started in October 1994 as the permanent Diversity Program for natives of certain countries that have provided relatively few immigrants to the U.S. in recent years. Annually, 55,000 visas are given away in a random drawing to individuals from countries underrepresented in the total immigrant pool.