Getting to know Non-immigrant Visas

non-immigrant visasUSA Citizenships will give you an overview of non-immigrant visas, their unique characteristics, and the ways on acquiring one. Generally, non-immigrant visas are granted for a limited period or only for a specific purpose.

non-immigrant visas are composed of more than 20 visas under the following class of visas: A visa (Diplomatic and Other Government officials visa); B visa (Temporary Visitors visa; E visa (International Traders and Investors visa); F visa (Students visa); G visa (International Organization visa); H visa (Temporary Work visa); I visa (Foreign Media visa); J visa (Exchange Visitors visa); K visa (Fiance or Fiancee visa); L visa ( Intra-company Transfer visa); M visa (Vocational US Student visa); N visa (Special Immigrant visa); O visa (Extraordinary Ability visa); P visa (Entertainers and Athletes visa); Q visa (International Exchange Program visa); R visa (Religious Workers visa); and TN (NAFTA Professionals visa).

What holders for non-immigrant visas can do while in the US

  • Certain non-immigrant visas may be changed to another status, like the Students visa (F visa, Exchange Visitors visa (J visa) and Temporary Visitors visa (B visa) to Temporary Work visa (H visa). You only have to look for a US employer as your sponsor;
  • To travel inside and outside the US; and
  • The spouse or child below 21 years old may join non-immigrants in the US.

If you are confused about what visa applies to you, consult USA Citizenships. For more information log on to

Commonly used non-immigrant visas

  1. H-1B Specialty Occupation visa. This is use to employ a foreign national temporarily in a specialty occupation requiring a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent for non-degree holder.
  2. L-1 Intra-company Transfer visa. This permits multinational companies to transfer key personnel and essential employees from foreign offices to the United States. The non-immigrant would work at the US office, subsidiary or affiliate office in a managerial or executive capacity or in a highly specialized occupation.
  3. E-1 Treaty Traders visa. This allows foreign traders in a country treaty to carry on a susbstantial trade in the US. The home country of the non-immigrant must have an existing treaty with the United States for Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation.
  4. E-2 Treaty Investor visa. This is for foreign investors of a treaty country who come to the US to personall y undertake the operation of his investment. It also applies to employee(s) of a treaty investor with special qualifications essential to the business.
  5. O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa. For highly talented individuals in the field of science, business, education or athletics who are recognized both in national or international level. It also refers to individuals showing extraordinary ability in arts particularly in movies and television industry.
  6. P Visas for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievements. Refer to highly talented or acclaimed individuals who are renowned athletes, entertainers, or artists considered leading performers in their chosen field.
  7. TN Professional visa. This visa is exclusive to Canadians and Mexicans only whose profession is included in the sixty-three professions under the NAFTA list with bachelor’s degree or a licensures degree.
  8. R-1 Religious Workers. This permits religious workers to come to the U.S. to undertake religious activities or occupation and perform religious services as required by their organization. The religious organization must be an establish organization in the United States.
  9. J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. For teachers, scholars or professors who come to the US to teach, study, observe, conduct research or to receive special instructions for skills development or training.
  10. F-1 Student Visa. This is required of full time students of an accredited schools or universities of different levels in furtherance of a language development study and training program.


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