Most-Commonly Used Non-Immigrant Visas

Non-immigrant visas are appropriate for individuals coming to the United States for a temporary
visit. There are approximately thirty categories of non-immigrant visas, which may be used for employment purposes, personal reasons or in relation to student status. This overview is provided
for informational purposes only, as an experienced immigration attorney will be able to advise you
of the particular nuances and special requirements of each visa classification, as well as which
visa may be appropriate given your particular situation.

B-1/B-2 visas are used for those wishing to visit the United States for a brief period for either
business or pleasure. This visa is most commonly used for tourists and those wishing to visit the
US on business trips. This visa does not allow individuals to engage in productive employment
in the US.

E visas are used for treaty traders and investors who are nationals of countries which have
entered into treaties or trade agreements with the US. Managers, executives or employees
possessing essential skills who work for organizations or individual investors/traders (who
otherwise meet the E visa qualifications) may also be admitted in E visa status.

E-3 visas are used for Australian nationals coming to the US to work for a US employer in a
specialty occupation. The requirements for this status are similar to the H-1B visa requirements
listed below.

F-1 visas are used for students coming to the United States to engage in a course of study
at an established high school, college, university, conservatory or language school.

H-1B visas are one of the most commonly used work-authorized visas. To qualify, the petitioning employer must sponsor the employee for a “specialty occupation,” or a position requiring the highly specialized knowledge normally acquired through the attainment of a four-year college degree. Professionals who are generally eligible for H-1B visas include doctors, engineers, professors, accountants, lawyers, physical therapists, and computer professionals.

J-1 visas are used for exchange visitors, and are most commonly used for students, teachers, professors, research scholars, and au pairs for a period of six months to three years, depending
on the type of J visa.

K visas are for fiancés or spouses of US citizens. This non-immigrant visa was designed to
reunite loved ones by enabling the spouse or fiancé to come to the US to process the green
card in lieu of processing through a Consulate overseas.

L visas are used for managers, executives, or employees with specialized knowledge
who have been employed overseas for a multi-national company for at least one year.

O-1 visas are for aliens with “extraordinary ability,” as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or those with an
extensively documented record of extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television.

P-1 visas are used for athletes, group entertainers, entertainers or artists under a reciprocal
exchange program, or an artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program.

TN visas are appropriate for Canadian or Mexican citizens who are members of a profession designated by the North American Free Trade Agreement. At present, over 60 professions
have been designated as qualifying for TN status.

Copyright © 2005-2009 Law Offices of Melissa Harms All rights reserved.
The above discussion is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Individuals should visit a licensed attorney to evaluate the legal circumstances surrounding their situation and to receive appropriate legal advice.