A World of Possibility: A Brief Guide to U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Options

Whether you’re thinking about temporary study, work, or training in the United States, you’ll need a proper nonimmigrant visa before you cross any borders. Take a look at the following visa categories for an overview of the options available to you. Keep in mind that many of these visas may allow for your children, spouse, or support staff to join you under the right circumstances.

For Businesses

B-1 Business Visitors: If you’re visiting the United States temporarily for business reasons, you might consider this visa category. Your purpose may involve negotiating a contract, settling an estate, attending a conference, or meeting with your business associates.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty Traders and Investors: These visas both apply to people who come from “treaty countries,” or countries that share a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US. The E-1 grants entry for trade purposes, while the E-2 is meant for people who are investing in a US business.

For Distinguished Individuals

O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement: People who have demonstrated extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics may qualify for this classification. This can often be proven by showing widespread recognition or acclaim.

P-1 Internationally Recognized Athletes and Entertainers: Maybe you’re known internationally for your athletic ability (P-1A), for your work as a solo entertainer, or for your membership in an entertainment group (P-1B). If that’s the case, you may be able to attain this visa for your next US performance.

For Exchange Programs

J-1 Exchange Visitors: If you plan to participate in an approved exchange visitor program, you may qualify for this nonimmigrant visa. Possible categories of work include physician, teacher, research scholar, student, and trainee, to name a few.

Q-1 Cultural Exchange: This classification is specific to exchange programs designed to share the history, culture, and traditions of the visa holder’s foreign country. If you’re participating in such a program for training or employment purposes, you may qualify for this visa.

For Training or Study

F-1 Academic Students: You can apply for this classification to gain entry into the US as a full-time student at a college, university, high school, elementary school, or other academic institution—as long as your school is authorized to accept international students.

M-1 Vocational Students: This visa covers areas of study not covered by the F-1, including language training, vocational studies, and other nonacademic programs.

For Work

H-1B Specialty Occupations: People working in a specialty occupation may use this visa if they are Free Trade Agreement workers from Chile or Singapore (H-1B1); if they work in relation to Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects (H-1B2); or if they are distinguished fashion models (H-1B3).

L-1 Intracompany Transferees: Employees can transfer from a foreign company to another branch in the US using this visa, provided they either have a managerial or executive position (L-1A) or specialized knowledge within their field of work (L-1B).

With so many visa types at your disposal, the possibilities are endless. To make the most out of every opportunity you find in the US, you should enlist the help of a reputable immigration attorney. Sánchez-Roig Law Firm, P.A. will provide you with full support throughout the application process. Call us to discuss your questions, explore your options, and get the best chance at a successful visa application.

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Written by SRS