US Visa Types List

Temporary Work Visas and Employment-Based Green Cards

An individual may obtain a temporary visa to work or study in the United States, or he or she may obtain lawful permanent residency (green card) through one of five employment-based preference categories. Immigration attorneys can assist you with either your temporary work visa or your employment-based green card application.

Temporary Visas for Working

The H Visa Temporary Worker

There are several types of H visas for temporary workers. Each type of visa allows the individual to perform a specific job:

  • H1B visa is for professionals who are coming to work in the U.S. in a specialty occupation (Professional visa and Fashion Models);
  • H1C is for nurses who will work in particular positions;
  • H2A is for agricultural workers;
  • H2B visa is for non-agricultural workers (Unskilled Foreign Workers);
  • H3 is for trainees; and
  • H4 visa is the accompanying visa granted to the spouse and children under 21 years of age of the worker.
  • TN Status: allows certain qualifying Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily work for an employer in the U.S. under NAFTA.

Learn more about the H Visa and other Temporary Worker visas through the U.S. State Department’s website

The E Visa

Only citizens and nationals of certain countries are eligible for this type of visa. A requirement for this visa is a treaty between the United States and the foreign country for trade or commerce. There are two types of E visas for working:

  • E1 visa is for an individual who is doing substantial trade with the United States; and
  • E2 visa is for an investor who is directing an investment
  • E3 visa for Australia citizens only to work in the US (E3D visa is the partner visa)

Learn more about Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas through the U.S. State Department’s website

The L Visa Temporary Worker

The L visa is for temporary worker who is coming to work at a subsidiary of a foreign company. There are several types of L visas:

  • L1A visa is for a manager or an executive;
  • L1B visa is for someone with specialized knowledge;
  • L2 visa is the accompanying visa that spouses and children under 21 years of age receive with the worker.

Temporary Visas for Studying – Student Visas

Look for important News Releases from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about SEVIS

The F-1 Visa

This F1 visa allows the student to study full-time at an academic institution such as a university, private school, or language institute.

Learn more about Academic Student Visas through the U.S. State Department’s website.

The J Visa for Exchange Trainees and Workers

The J visa is for temporary workers on J1 work and travel or J1 trainees who are coming to work or train with an organization that has been approved for an exchange program under the J visa regulations.

Learn more about Exchange Visitor Visa (J Visa) through the U.S. State Department’s website.

Read about the Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement for J Visa through the U.S. State Department’s website.

The M Visa

This type of visa allows an individual to attend an approved course of study leading to a specific educational or vocational objective and engage in full-course of study.

Learn more about the Nonacademic Student Visa (M Visa) through the U.S. State Department’s website.

Temporary Visas for Particular Occupations – O, P, Q, and R Visas

The O Visa

The O-1: Extraordinary Ability Artists/Entertainers, Business People, Scientists, Educators, and Athletes

The O-1 visa is available to foreign nationals of extraordinary or high achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, or with regard to motion picture and television productions, a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.

The O-2: Support Staff of Artists and Athletes

The O-2 visa is for an alien entering:

(1) for a specific event or events;
(2) who is an integral part of such actual performance;
(3a) has critical skills and experience with principal alien, which are not of a general nature or which cannot be performed by other individual; or
(3b) in the case of a motion picture or television production, has skills and experience with the O-1 alien that are not of a general nature and which are critical and the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production; and
(4) has a foreign residence that the alien has no intention of abandoning.

The P Visa for Athletes and Artists

This visa applies to an internationally recognized athlete performing at a major athletic event as an individual athlete or as part of a group or team and for an artist or member of internationally recognized entertainment group. There are several types of P visas:

  • P-1 is for an athlete and athletic teams and entertainment groups;
  • P-2 is for artists and entertainer reciprocal exchange;
  • P-3 is for artists and entertainers integral to performance.

The Q-1 Visa

This visa applies to a foreign national entering the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining practical training, employment, and the sharing of history, culture, philosophy, and traditions of the alien’s home country.

The R-1 Visa

R-1 visa is for a foreign national with a religious profession, occupation, or vocation, for example, minister, professional holding degree or foreign equivalent degree, cantor, monk, evangelist, or nun.

Employment Based and Investor Immigrant Preferences

Employment-based immigration for lawful permanent residence falls under five preference cateogories:

Different criteria apply to each of these categories and substantial document preparation is required to successfully obtain residency based upon one of the employment-based immigraton categories.

Check the current Visa Bulletin priority dates for each of the employment-based categories, since not all categories have a current priority date.

Guest Author

Ruchi Thaker

17 thoughts on “US Visa Types List

  1. Hi folks,

    Could any one help me out to get information of all the working visas in United States of Amwrica in an excelsheet please help me out if you have any information with you.
    Looking forward to your reply ASAP.



  2. hi!
    i have just started looking into the the visa system fot the states and i dont really have any idea where to start, can someone help!!!??? i dont have a degree and am 31 yrs old, have an extensive sales backgruold i look i….. what should i look into?????

    looking forward to your repy!


  3. Hi Hollie,
    Given you don’t have a degree, most US visas will be out of reach for you. However you could look at the J1 visa Work and Travel program, possibly the J1 Visa PCT option or the H2B visa.
    Good Luck,

  4. please if i have fiancee live there in america what visa should I apply I really dont Know please help me

  5. you should apply for a K-1 visa! this only works if your fiancee is an american citizen. you two must file the I-129F form on your behalf.

  6. Hi,

    Can you assist me with a possible E3 issue. I am a Registered Nurse/midwife with a Batchelor Degree and 2 year diploma in midwifery and 17 years experience looking to complete a 2 year assignment in 2012-2013 on the E3? Problem is I can’t transfer straight into a certified nurse midwife in the U.S only a RN, say in Labor and Delivery. Even with my experience etc I am concerned I wouldn’t meet the requirements as an Obs Nurse may not require a BSN? Some hospitals require a BSN some don’t. Who’s call is it to say an Obs Nurse working in l&D requires a batchelor degree or associate diploma only? The hospital advertising the position or the US immigration department? Any suggestions on this? Thanks

  7. My fiancee is on OPT status. how can i apply to states????? can any one help me!!!!!!!!!.

  8. Hi… I completed mba and have 4 yrs of experience in IT and banking. From last 5 months iam working in dubai and before that I worked in India. Now I want to apply US visa. Please guide what visa is suitable for me and how to apply for that.

  9. Hi CJ,
    I have heard of Aussies on the E3 initially entered the US on the B2 tourist visa to seek for work… do you have any advice on this visa, especially on proofs to obtain the B2… like the period of time you intend to stay in the US (ahem.. not to look for work.. ahem), and if you need to make any travel itineraries to “show that you are a tourist”…

    My initial plan is the visa waiver, but I do wonder if I should just be safe and ask for a B2… which I´m not sure how to prove that I intend to be a tourist for 6 months and live in NY for that whole time…

    A million cheers again for such a great site and your help!


  10. Grete yes many people follow that route and don’t really need to prove anything to get the visa. A casual question may be asked about what you plan to do but other than having a booked return ticket there is rarely anything else to show. You could always take bank statements to an interview to show you have funds.

  11. The E-2 visa is for individual investors or employees of investing companies. You must be a citizen of a country that has signed a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. Or, you must be an employee of a company that is based in a country that has a trade treaty with the United States.

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