These visas are valid for stays of up to 6 months, which may be extended to a maximum of 1 year at a time.
Student and Exchange Visas
F-1: For students enrolled in an academic course of study at a qualifying U.S. institution. The student’s spouse and children under 21 may qualify for an F-2 visa.
J-1: For individuals participating in an international cultural-exchange program. His or her spouse and children under 21 may qualify for an J-2 visa.
M-1: For students enrolled in a vocational, non-academic course of study. The student’s spouse and children under 21 may qualify for an F-2 visa.
E Work Visas: temporary work visas based on international treaties between the United States and other countries.
E-1: Treaty Traders à For individuals who carry on a substantial trade of goods or services as part of a continuous flow of international trade with the U.S.
E-2: Treaty Investors à For individuals who have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States.
E-3: Australian Specialty Occupation Workers à For professional workers who are nationals of Australia.
These visas are available only to nationals of countries who are members of certain international treaties. Applications require documentation of the applicable work or investment activity are valid for 2 years at a time, and can be renewed indefinitely so long as the applicant remains qualified. The applicant’s spouse and children under 21 years of age are eligible to join the applicant in the United States.
H Work Visas:
H-1B: For individuals who have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, and have a temporary job offer. The job must be a “specialty occupation” that requires a degree in a specific field of study. The number of annually available visas are limited, and most applicants must participate in a visa lotto when visa demand exceeds availability. The period of stay may be up to 3 years, and can be renewed to a maximum of 6 years.
H-2: For short-term, seasonal workers in temporary jobs. A job offer is required and the employer must demonstrate a lack of available and qualified U.S. workers for the same position. The duration of stay is 1 year, and renewable to a maximum of 3 years. This visa is available only to nationals of specifically designated countries.
H-3: For trainees invited to the U.S. to receive professional training that is not available in the applicant’s home country.
H-4: For the immediate family members of workers on H visas. The worker’s spouse and children under 21 may join the worker in the U.S. and may enroll in school, but may not work unless the principal worker is sponsored for a Green Card by his/her employer.
L Business Visas:
L-1A: For executives and high-level managers of overseas multinational companies that need to be transferred to their employer’s U.S. parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company. The visa is valid for one or two-year increments, and is renewable to a maximum of 7 years.
L-1A: For employees of overseas multinational companies that have highly specialized knowledge of the company’s business and need to be transferred to their employer’s U.S. parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company. The visa is valid for 3 years, and is renewable to a maximum of 5 years.
L-2: The L-1 visa holder’s spouse and children under 21 may qualify for an L-2 visa and may be eligible to work in the United States.
Extraordinary Talent Visas:
O-1: For individuals with extraordinary talent and achievement who are sponsored by a U.S. employer for contractual work in the United States. Applicants may qualify by documenting at least 3 of 8 criteria to demonstrate that they are highly accomplished professionals who are at the very top of their field. They must also obtain an advisosry opinion letter from a professional organization in the U.S. related to their field of work, and must submit work contracts and itineraries. The duration of stay is based on the scheduled work itinerary, but is limited to 3 years, subject to renewal. Individuals who will accompany the O-1 visa holder to assist in their work may be eligible for O-2 visas. Their spouses and children under 21 may be eligible for O-3 visas, but may not work in the United States.
P Visa: For internationally recognized athletes, artists, and entertainers coming to the U.S. to perform or to participate in a cultural exchange program. Applicants must internationally recognized as having exceptional achievement, must obtain a written consultation from an appropriate U.S. labor organization, and must be coming to the U.S. to participate in contractual work or events. A U.S. employer sponsor is required.
R Visa: For ministers, priests, and other religious workers hired for a temporary position by a bona-fide religious organization established in the United States. The applicant must be a practicing member of the applicable religious denomination. The duration of stay is up to 2.5 years, and may be renewed to a maximum of 5 years.