The different types of visas available for immigrants can be broadly divided into four categories: immigrant visa, nonimmigrant visa, dual intent visa, and temporary protected status explains William D King.
In addition, there are visas available for specific purposes such as student visas, work visas, etc… The following article focuses mainly on the more general types of a permanent resident or immigrant visas that a person may apply for if he/she wishes to move to the United States. If you wish to apply for a different type of visa –such as a student visa – please click here. For information about asylum and refugee status – please click here.
Here are some different types of visas:
1- Immigrant Visa (“Permanent Resident”)
An immigrant visa is issued to immigrants who intend to live and work permanently in the United States.
Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a) (15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident if he/she intends to remain only temporarily.
There are five main subcategories of immigrant visa: family-sponsored, employment-based, special immigrant visas, diversity lottery visas (“lottery green cards”), and refugee/asylum status. Each type of visa has its own specific requirements, which are summarize below says, William D King.
2- Nonimmigrant Visa
A nonimmigrant visa issues to aliens who wish to visit the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. The most common types of nonimmigrant visas are business, tourist, student, and work visas.
There are more than 20 different types of nonimmigrant visas, each designed for a particular type of activity. For a complete list of all nonimmigrant visas, please click here.
3- Dual Intent Visa
Some visa categories allow an alien to apply for a visa even if the alien does not have permanent residence in a foreign country and does not meet the definition of an immigrant under the INA. These visas are known as dual intent visas.
The most common dual intent visas are the H-1B visa for temporary workers and the L-1 visa for intercompany transfers. Other examples include the O-1 visa for aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, and the E-3 visa for Australian professionals.
4- Temporary Protected Status
Temporary protected status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granting to eligible nationals of designating countries that are suffering from environmental disasters, civil strife, or other extraordinary conditions.
When a country designates for TPS, its nationals are allow to remain in the United States temporarily even if they are not in lawful status. TPS does not lead to permanent resident status but maybe renewal.
TPS is grant to individuals from specifically designate countries that are already in the United States. To be eligible, a person must have been a national of the designated country and have maintained a continuous physical presence in the United States since the effective date of the designation.
To learn more about TPS eligibility requirements, see here.
5- Other Visas
In addition to the four basic types of visas listed above. There are other nonimmigrant visa categories. That allow people to enter and stay in this country temporarily. These include crewman visas, transit visas, fiancé visas (K-1), and border crossing cards. For a complete list of all types of nonimmigrant visas available for foreign nationals, please click here.
6- Visa Waiver Program
The visa waiver program allows citizens of certain countries. To enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days.
Participation in the program is limit to visitors for business or pleasure. Who are nationals of participating countries. And who have obtained an approved Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA). Citizens of more than 30 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Monaco, Andorra, Iceland, and Liechtenstein are currently eligible to participate. For information about which countries are part of this program and how you can apply visit here. Nationals from others should check with their nearest American embassy or consulate regarding eligibility requirements explains William D King.
7- Visa Denial
An application may be denied for a number of reasons, including the following:
- A visa applicant may be found ineligible. Because he or she does not meet the requirements for the particular visa category sought.
- The consular officer may determine that an applicant is not qualified to receive a visa. Because he or she has committed immigration fraud in the past. Because he or she poses a security risk to the United States.
- The consular officer may determine that an applicant’s purpose of travel is not clear. Or that he or she may not be able to depart the United States after his or her authorized stay expires.
- If your visa application is denied, you will get a written explanation specifying why you were denied. You will also be advise of your right to appeal the denial. For more information, see “If My Visa Is Denied.”
Getting a visa is the first step in the process of entering America explains William D King. However, it does not guarantee that you will actually be able to come into this country. If your petition gets approval by the USCIS. Then you will have an interview date for getting your visa stamping at the American embassy or consulate where you live.
If everything goes well with your interview and you are grant entry. It is only temporary until after some time (in most cases one year). You can apply to become a permanent legal resident (green-card holder) of America. Of course, there are other ways you might be able to get into this country legally. Such as marrying an American citizen or getting involve in programs. Created by political leaders for attracting skilled workers.