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American Work Visa Education: The 11 Types of Temporary US Visas

american work visaAmerican Work Visa & Travel Visa Types

To enter the United States, you need the appropriate work or travel visa. There are various types of visas, each with their specific entry requirements. If you plan to travel to America, the following are the types of visas you may apply for to enter the country.


B-1/B-2 Tourist/Visitor Visas

The the most common type of visitor or tourist visa, a B-1 Visitor Visa states the traveler visits for business purposes. On the other hand, a B-2 Visa states they are here for tourism or pleasure. If a traveler comes to the country for both business and pleasure, a B-1/B-2 combination visa states they are here for both purposes. A B-1 or B-2 Visa does not cover someone if they are here to study or work as a paid employee in the United States. You cannot claim permanent residence with a B-1 or B-2 visas.

E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas

If a traveler arrives in America to engage in trade, they must obtain an E-1 or E-2 Treaty and Investor Visa. In this instance, trade includes both services and technology in qualifying activities with people from certain countries. It also includes people who arrive in the U.S. to develop and direct operations of business in which they have invested capital. Availability of E-1 and E-2 visas depends on from which country the traveler belongs. Here is a list of Treaty Countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.

F-1 and M-1 Student Visas

Students who wish to study and live in the U.S. receive either an F-1 or M-1 Student Visa. An F-1 Visa states the student attends an academic program or full-time degree program at a university or school. An M-1 Visa, on the other hand, states that the student attends vocational and nonacademic courses of studies. This includes non-traditional academic programs such as culinary school, cosmetology programs, aviation academy, and more.

H-1B Specialty Occupation (Professionals) Visas

People who perform services in a specialty occupation receive H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas. Their services have exceptional merit or ability. This visa divides into three categories: people who perform specialty services, people working with Department of Defense (DOD) Cooperative research and a development project, and fashion models of distinguished merit or ability. Read about the many requirements of this American work visa here.

J-1 and Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

People who enter the United States through an exchange visitor program receive either a J-1 or Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. A J-1 visa states they are here through an educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Department of State. A Q-1 Visa states they attend an international cultural exchange program that provides practical training and employment for foreign participants.

K-1 Fiancé Visas

A foreign fiancé of a Unites States citizen receives a K-1 Fiancé Visa that allows them to travel to the country and marry within 90 days of arrival. To receive a K-1 Fiancé Visa, the person must meet some requirements of a normal immigrant visa. If the visa holder has a child, the child receives a K-2 Visa if eligible.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visas

If a company wishes to transfer a manager, executive, or a “specialized knowledge” employee from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the U.S., they apply for an L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. This visa also helps companies send workers to the United States to establish a new branch. The company must complete several steps including file a for I-129 Petition.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas

If an individual possesses extraordinary abilities in athletics, arts, education, business, or the sciences they receive an O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visa. This also applies to people who demonstrate achievement in the motion picture or television industry. However, this American work visa only applies to people particularly accomplished in their field.

P-1 Artists and Athletes Visas

P Visas are for artists and athletes the government does not deem “accomplished.” It does not last as long as an O Visa and the holder must obtain permanent residence before arriving in the U.S.

R-1 Religious Worker Visas

A foreign national visiting the United States temporarily to work at least part-time for a non-profit religious organization receives an R-1 Religious Worker Visa. This American work visa includes ministers and missionaries working for tax-exempt religious organizations.

TC/TN NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade Agreement Visas

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a special economic relationship between United States, Canada, and Mexico that requires a special visa. A nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) Visa allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States. As long as they are not permanent residents of Canada or Mexico, they may arrive through prearranged business activities.

Need help acquiring an American work visa? Contact Pozo Goldstein or call 646-340-2202.