Requirements before Applying for a US Temporary Visitor Visa
If you are not a lawful permanent resident or a citizen of the United States and you like to visit the US, you can choose from the different types of visas available for temporary visitors. Canadians and other citizens from countries covered by Visa Waiver program can enter into the US without a visa, provided that they should meet other requirements. The purpose of your travel will ascertain what type of visa is the appropriate for you.
To better process your application, you must know what type of visa is suitable for your travel and the procedures involved in obtaining it. Whether you like to know how you can obtain a US Visitor’s Visa, how to get to the United States if you were denied a US visa, or how you can appeal an immigration decision, a licensed immigration consultant can always help you get an answer to your questions and even doubts.
There are several types of nonimmigrant visas for temporary visitors. If you are not sure of which of these visas is appropriate for your travel, or if you find the process too technical, you may consult an immigration lawyer who can guide you on the matter.
The list of Temporary Visitors Visa are categorized according to the prerequisite to applying for a visa.
USCIS Requirement – types of visas that require an approval of a petition or application from DHS, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for a visa.
DOL Requirement – a prospective US employer must first get a copy of foreign labor certification from the US Department of Labor before filing the petition with the USCIS.
SEVIS Requirement – this requires a program approval involved in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
The following visas require USCIS:
- O Visa – Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in Arts, Sciences, Education, Business or Athletics.
- L Visa – Intra-company transferees
- Q Visa – International cultural exchange visitors
- P Visa – Performing athletes, artists, entertainers
- R Visa – Religious workers
- H-2A – Temporary agricultural workers (requires DOL certification also)
- H-2B – Temporary workers performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature. ( requires DOL also)
- H-3 – Training in a program not primarily for employment
- U Visa – Victims of Criminal Activity
The following types of visa require DOL:
- E-3 Visa – Australian professional specialty
- H-1B1 (Chile) and H-1b1 (Singapore) – Professionals under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA): US-Chile and US-Singapore
- H-1B – Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge ( requires USCIS also)
- H-2A – Temporary agricultural workers (requires USCIS also)
- H-2B – Temporary workers performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature. (requires USCIS also)
These types of visa require SEVIS:
- J Visa – Au pairs (exchange visitor program)
- J Visa – Exchange visitors
- J, H-1B Visas – Physician
- J Visa – Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor program)
- F, M Visas – academic or vocational students
In the following types of visa, no requirements are needed prior to filing an application:
- B-1 Visa – Athletes, amateur & professional (compete for prize money only)
- BCC Visa – Border Crossing Card (Mexico)
- B-1 Visa – Business visitors
- D Visa – Members of the crew
- A Visa – Diplomats and foreign government officials
- B-1 Visa – Domestic employees or nanny, accompanying a foreign nationalemployer
- G1-G5, NATO – Employees of a designated international organization, and NATO
- A-2, NATO1-6 – Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.
- B-2 – Visitors for medical treatment
- I Visa – Media, Journalists
- Tn , TD – NAFTA professional workers from Mexico and Canada. Canadian NAFTA Professional workers are not required to have a visa.
- B-2 Visa – Tourists, Vacation, pleasure visitors
- E Visa – Treaty traders/treaty investors
- C Visa – Transiting the United States
The list of visas are not inclusive of all other requirements. A visa applicant must meet the minimum eligibility requirement and other qualifying circumstances of a certain type of visa. If after reviewing the list, you are not yet sure of what kind of visa to apply for, you may need an immigration attorney to better increase your chance of acquiring a US visa for your travel.
A contact form on the right is provided for your convenience so that you may message us anytime you request our help on any U.S. or Canadian immigration matters. If you feel more comfortable with speaking to one of our immigration lawyers who has been in the field for over 15 years, you may refer to the contact information here.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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