Non-immigrant visas are issued to foreign citizens seeking temporary entry into the United States. The reasons for your visit could be tourism, business, medical treatment, and specific types of part-time employment.
Immigration law specifies the type of non-immigrant visa required based on the purpose of travel. Before applying for a non-immigrant visa, foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States to study or work may be required to provide specific documents.
Visa issuance does not ensure entry into the United States. A visa indicates that a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate has reviewed the applicant’s application and determined that the applicant is eligible to enter the country for a particular purpose.
The CBP Officer at the entry port will inspect to determine whether the individual is admissible under U.S. immigration law.
Common types of Non-Immigrant Visas
B1/B2 Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for people who wish to visit the United States for tourism for business (visa category B-1), tourism (visa category B-2), or a mix of both (B-1/B-2).
F-1 Visas. You will need an F-1 visa to enroll in a university or other academic institution in the United States, including elementary and secondary schools or a language training program.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa that permits U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for speciality occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Speciality occupations can include jobs in IT, finance, engineering, architecture, and other fields.
The J-1 exchange visitor visa is for designated educational and cultural exchange programmes.
Participation in specific international cultural exchange programmes requires a Q-1 visa.
The L-1 Visa is a U.S. visa for intra-company transfers. It permits a U.S. company to transfer a key employee from one of its international offices to the United States. L-1 Visa permits businesses to establish a U.S. operation to transfer executives, managers, and specialised employees.
The O-1 Visa is for those with extraordinary ability in education, sciences, arts, business, or athletics or who have a national or international reputation for extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
How to apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa
If you are planning a short business or tourist trip to the United States, you may need to apply for a visitor or transit visa. Applicants applying for a non-immigrant visa should take the following actions:
- Determine if you need a visa.
- Check if your country is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
If your country is not listed as a visa waiver country, you will require a non-immigrant visa to enter the United States.
Determine what visa you need
Most business and leisure travellers utilise the B-1 and B-2 visitor visas. The B-1 Visa is for business travellers who need to consult with business partners, negotiate contracts, attend conferences or settle an estate.
The B-2 visa classification is for tourists on vacation and individuals coming for medical treatment, a social event, or unpaid amateur competitions.
The Transit C visa classification is for foreign nationals transiting the United States en route to another foreign destination, with a brief stopover in the United States. Transit C-1, D, and C-1/D visas are required for crewmembers of international airlines and sea vessels travelling to the United States.
Apply for your visa
The visa application process varies based on the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you apply. Typically, you will need to:
- Complete our application for a non-immigrant visa.
- Provide a photograph.
- Pay the visa application fee.
- Gather all required documents.
- Schedule and attend an interview.
After the interview, the consular officer will decide whether to approve or deny your visa application.
Consider the following for an effective Non-Immigrant Visa Application:
- Submit your application as soon as possible.
- Provide accurate and truthful responses to all questions on the application form and during the interview.
- Ensure you have all the necessary information and documentation to support your application.
- Plan to answer questions concerning your visit’s purpose and travel plans.
- Be prepared to demonstrate that your ties to your country of residence are solid and unbreakable.