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Types of Visas for Temporary Visitors

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. It’s important to have information about the type of a nonimmigrant visa you will need for travel and the steps required to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Athletes, amateur & professional (compete for prize money only)B-1(NA) 
Au pairs (exchange visitor)JSEVIS 
Australian professional specialtyE-3DOL 
Border Crossing Card: MexicoBCC(NA) 
Business visitorsB-1(NA) 
Diplomats and foreign government officialsA(NA) 
Domestic employees or nanny -must be accompanying a foreign national employerB-1(NA) 
Employees of a designated international organization, and NATOG1-G5, NATO(NA) 
Exchange visitorsJSEVIS 
Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.A-2(NA) 
Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.NATO1-6(NA) 
Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or AthleticsOUSCIS 
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professionals: Chile, SingaporeH-1B1DOL 
International cultural exchange visitorsQUSCIS 
Intra-company transfereesLUSCIS 
Media, journalistsI(NA) 
Medical treatment, visitors forB-2(NA) 
NAFTA professional workers: Mexico, CanadaTN/TD(NA) 
Nurses coming to health professional shortage areasH1-CUSCIS 
Performing athletes, artists, entertainersPUSCIS 
PhysicianJ , H-1BSEVIS 
Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)JSEVIS 
Religious workersRUSCIS 
Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledgeH-1BDOL then USCIS 
Students: academic, vocationalF, MSEVIS 
Temporary agricultural workersH-2ADOL then USCIS 
Temporary workers performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.H2-BDOL then USCIS 
Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitorsB2(NA) 
Training in a program not primarily for employmentH-3USCIS 
Transiting the United StatesC(NA) 
Treaty traders/treaty investorsE(NA) 
Visa Renewals - Available in the U.S.link(NA) 

*What the abbreviations (above) mean:

Before apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad the following is required:

  • DOL = the U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
  • USCIS = DHS, United State Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) must approve a petition, filed by the U.S. employer (or U.S. citizen, for fiancé petitions)
  • SEVIS = program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • (NA) = Not Applicable – Means that additional approval by other government agencies is not required prior to applying for a visa at the U.S. Embassy abroa
Note: Canadian NAFTA Professional workers – Visa not required, apply to CBP at border port-of-entry.