Visa Types for Temporary Visitors
We welcome visitors to the United States, with secure borders and open doors. Most Canadian citizens and many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can come to the U.S. without a visa if they meet certain requirements. Visit Travel Without a Visa to learn more. There are various types of nonimmigrant visas for temporary visitors to travel to the United States, if you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. 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 nonimmigrant visa you will need for travel, and the steps required to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Review the chart below. For more detailed information specific to each visa type, including how-to-apply information and more, select a link below.
|Purpose of Travel to U.S. and Nonimmigrant Visas||Visa Type||Required: Before Applying for Visa*|
|Athletes, amateur & professional (compete for prize money only)||B-1||(NA)|
Au pairs (exchange visitor)
|Australian professional specialty||E-3||DOL|
|Border Crossing Card: Mexico||BCC||(NA)|
|Diplomats and foreign government officials||A||(NA)|
|Domestic employees or nanny -must be accompanying a foreign national employer|| B-1||(NA)|
|Employees of a designated international organization, and NATO|| G1-G5, NATO||(NA)|
|Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.||A-2|
|Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics||O||USCIS|
|Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professionals: Chile, Singapore||H-1B1||DOL|
|International cultural exchange visitors||Q||USCIS|
|Medical treatment, visitors for||B-2||(NA)|
|NAFTA professional workers: Mexico, Canada||TN/TD||(NA)|
|Nurses coming to health professional shortage areas||H1-C||USCIS|
|Performing athletes, artists, entertainers||P||USCIS|
|Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)||J||SEVIS|
|Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge||H-1B||DOL then USCIS|
|Students: academic, vocational||F, M||SEVIS|
|Temporary agricultural workers||H-2A||DOL then USCIS|
|Temporary workers performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.||H-2B||DOL then USCIS|
|Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitors||B2||(NA)|
|Training in a program not primarily for employment||H-3||USCIS|
|Treaty traders/treaty investors||E||(NA)|
|Transiting the United States||C||(NA)|
|Visa Renewals - Available in the U.S.|| ||(NA)|
*What the abbreviations (above) mean:
Before applying 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 States Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 abroad.
Note: Canadian NAFTA Professional workers- Visa not required, apply to CBP at border port-of-entry.
This chart includes more frequently used types of nonimmigrant visas and the associated purpose of travel with links to relevant webpages. However, it should be noted this chart is not a complete list of all purposes of travel or types of nonimmigrant visas. For additional information, see Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications on the USCIS website. Each visa applicant must meet the eligibility requirements for the type of visa for which he/she is applying, as determined by the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, following U.S. immigration laws. See more detailed information in our temporary visitor webpages.