There are more than 20 nonimmigrant visa types for people traveling to the United States temporarily. There are many more types of immigrant visas for those coming to live permanently in the United States. The type of Visa you need is determined by the purpose of your intended travel. For an overview of visa types, please see Types of Visas for Temporary Visitors or Visa Types for Immigrants.

Directory of Visa Categories

 The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. When you apply at a U.S embassy or consulate, a consular officer will determine based on laws, whether you are eligible to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate.

Non immigrant Visa Categories

 The chart below contains many different purposes of temporary travel and the related nonimmigrant visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Purpose of Travel

Visa Category

Required: Before applying for visa*

Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)

B-1

(NA)

Au pair (exchange visitor)

J

SEVIS

Australian professional specialty

E-3

DOL

Border Crossing Card: Mexico

BCC

(NA)

Business visitor

B-1

(NA)

CNMI-only transitional worker

CW-1

(USCIS)

Crewmember

D

(NA)

Diplomat or foreign government official

A

 

(NA)

Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer

B-1

(NA)

Employee of a designated international organization or NATO

  G1-G5, NATO

(NA)

Exchange visitor

J

SEVIS

Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States

A-2
NATO1-6

(NA)

Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics

O

USCIS

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
Chile, Singapore

H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore

DOL

International cultural exchange visitor

Q

USCIS

Intra-company transferee

L

USCIS

Medical treatment, visitor for

B-2

(NA)

Media, journalist

I

(NA)

NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada

TN/TD

(NA)

Performing athlete, artist, entertainer

P

USCIS

Physician

J , H-1B

SEVIS

Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)

J

SEVIS

Religious worker

R

USCIS

Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge

H-1B

DOL then USCIS

Student: academic, vocational

F, M

SEVIS

Temporary agricultural worker

H-2A

DOL then USCIS

Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.

H-2B

DOL then USCIS

Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor

B-2

(NA)

Training in a program not primarily for employment

H-3

USCIS

Treaty trader/treaty investor

E

(NA)

Transiting the United States

C

(NA)

Victim of Criminal Activity

U

USCIS

Victim of Human Trafficking

T

USCIS

Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

V

(NA)

Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas

 

(NA)

*What the abbreviations above mean – Before applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, 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 = U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
  • SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • (NA) = Not Applicable – Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa

Important Notes:

  • About this chart – It is not a complete list of all travel purposes for the visa category. Select a visa category webpage for more information. The chart lists almost all non immigrant visa categories, with the exception of several not listed above. Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 402.1 for all non immigrant visa categories.
  • Canadian NAFTA Professional workers – A visa not required; apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at border port of entry.
  • K non immigrant visas – For U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and spouse for immigration related purposes. Refer to Immigrant Visa Categories.

Immigrant Visa Categories

 The chart below contains different purposes for immigrating to the United States, and the related immigrant visa categories for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored Visa Category
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen IR1, CR1
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition K-3 *
Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S. K-1 *
Inter country Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4
Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4
Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents F2A, F2B
Employer Sponsored – Employment  

Employment-Based Immigrants, including  (preference group):

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]

 

 

E1
E2

E3, EW3

C5, T5, R5, I5

S (many**)

Religious Workers SD, SR
Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters SI
Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ
Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ
Other Immigrants  
Diversity Immigrant Visa DV
Returning Resident SB

Important Notes:

*K Visas – Listed with immigrant visas because they are for immigration related purposes.

About this chart – This chart is a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not every immigrant visa category.

**Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 502.1 for a listing of all immigrant visa categories.