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Types of Nonimmigrant Visas


What is a nonimmigrant visa? A nonimmigrant visa, aka a temporary visa, grants its holder with U.S. government permission to perform a specialized activity – and only that activity – for a specific, limited time. A nonimmigrant visa differs from a green card in that a green card is permanent while a nonimmigrant visa is temporary. Further, green card holders are considered permanent residents of the U.S. whereas nonimmigrant visa holders are not.

There are many kinds of nonimmigrant visas, each for a specific activity in the United States. They are all known by unique letter-number combinations (e.g., B-1), and each category has a specific duration. The following are some of the common types of nonimmigrant visas and what their respective activities:

E-1 Visa – Treaty Traders

  • Treaty traders working for a U.S. company and their spouses and children.

E-2 – Treaty Investors

  • Treaty investors working for a U.S. company and their spouses and children.

H-1B – Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models

  • Persons working in specialty occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in on-the-job experience and distinguished fashion models.

H-2A – Temporary Agricultural Workers

  • Temporary agricultural workers coming to the U.S. to fill positions for which a temporary shortage of U.S. workers has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

H-2B – Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

  • Temporary workers of various kinds coming to the U.S. to perform temporary jobs for which there is a shortage of available qualified U.S. workers.

J-1 – Exchange Visitor Visa

  • Exchange visitors coming to the U.S. to study, work, or train as part of an exchange program officially recognized by the U.S. Information Agency.

L-1 – Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager

  • Intracompany transferees who work in positions as managers, executives, or persons with specialized knowledge

O-1 – Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

  • Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

The above is not a full list of all types of nonimmigrant visas; there are many more categories to consider. If you want to learn more about the different kinds of nonimmigrant visas, or need help with your particular immigration matter, reach out to our experienced immigration attorneys here at KI Legal. We are ready and able to help you navigate any immigration process you may be facing. Call (212) 404-8644 or email to get started.




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