A Comprehensive Guide to Types of US Visas

11 minute read

The United States, renowned as the “land of opportunity,” beckons people from across the world with its diverse array of possibilities. However, the journey to the United States often starts with understanding the intricacies of US visas. From tourism and education to employment and family reunification, there’s a visa for every purpose. In this blog, we will simplify the complexities of US visa types, offering a concise guide to the various types available. Whether you’re a student with aspirations to study in prestigious institutions, an entrepreneur seeking investment opportunities, or a globetrotter ready to explore US Visa Types and the knowledge to chase your American dream.


US Visas Types

Nonimmigrant Visa: Tourist, student, transit, business, and medical visas. Visas are all examples of nonimmigrant Visas. It is for visitors who do not intend to become permanent residents of the U.S. This is typically a more straightforward and faster application process than the migrant visa.

Immigrant Visa: This sort of Visa is for those who want to become permanent residents of the nation. Obtaining a migrant visa usually takes a long time. People who want to apply for this Visa will need to fill out a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), signed by a relative or a potential employer. Indians must also submit Form I-130 through the mail. You will be given instructions on the medical test when you submit this. Following receipt of these instructions, you must schedule an examination with a U.S. embassy-approved physician. The top 2 visa types in this category are:

Also Read: USA Work Permit Visa

Immigration: US Visa Types

  1. Family-based Immigration Visa

Potential immigrants who have close links to a relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident are eligible for these visas. If the following requirements are met, your relative will be able to assist you in your immigration to the United States and the US Visa Types:

  • Relative is over the age of 21.
  • A relative is either a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States.
  • A relative is close to you, such as a spouse, parent, kid, or brother.
  • If you ask for family preference, your relative might be a distant relative. However, the number of visas given in this category is quite restricted.
  1. Employment-based Immigration Visa

This visa category allows the holder to come to the United States based on work. This allows the candidate to apply for permanent residency in the United States. The visa applicant may apply for U.S. citizenship after 5 years of permanent stay. The various types of employment-based immigration visas are as follows:

Visa TypeQualifying Workers
EB-1AWorkers with extraordinary
EB-1BOutstanding foreign researchers or professors
EB-1CManagers and executives from multinational corporations
EB-2-Professionals with an advanced degree with a U.S. job-Workers with exceptional abilities as well as a U.S. job offer
EB-3• Professional, Skilled, Unskilled  workers
EB-4Special Immigrants
EB-5Immigrant investors

Also Read: US Visa Interview

Non- Immigration Visa

There are over 15 visa categories under the non-immigrant Visa such as business, tourist, student, journalist and media Visa. 

  1. Business Visa 

A business visa is for those who are visiting the United States for business purposes. A Business visa in the USA is for those who are coming to the United States to meet business colleagues, attend educational, scientific, professional, or business conferences, settle an estate or negotiate

B-1 Visa (Business Visitor)For business travellers who stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days
  1. US Tourist Visa

The US tourist Visa is a type of US visa for those who are visiting the country for the purpose of tourism or vacation. It comprises those who are visiting the United States to visit friends and family or for leisure reasons. Tourist Visa applicants from India should apply for a B2 category Visa.

B-2 Visa (Tourist)For tourists who want to stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days
  1. US Student Visa

US student visa is for those who are coming to the United States to pursue higher education. Under the category of student Visas in the United States. There are two types of Visas available. Students seeking academic study should apply for F1 Visas in the United States, whereas students seeking vocational education should apply for M1 Visas. After being approved by their school in the United States which will issue them with an I-20 document, student visa candidates should apply for a visa. Student visa applicants must apply within 120 days of the I-20 start date and travel within 30 days of the I-20 start date.

F-1 Visa (Student)For studying at an American university or college
M-1 Visa (Non-academic & Vocational)Students visiting the US for a vocational education

Must Read: What are the Differences Between J, M and F US Student Visas?

  1. US Work Visa

This type of U.S. visa is for those who want to work in the United States as a nonimmigrant for a limited period. Applicants can pick the suitable category under work visa USA based on the nature of their profession and speciality. While a person working in a specialised profession that needs highly specialised expertise should apply for an H1B visa in the United States, an intracompany transferee can apply for an L1 visa in the United States. H1B1, H2A, H2B, H3, H4, L2, O, P, and Q are other work visa categories available in the United States.

C-1/D Visa (Combined Transit and Crewman)For crew members of international flights or ships
E-1 Visa (Treaty Trader)For managers/executives/specialists/supervisors of companies driving trade to the U.S.
E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)For managers/executives/specialists/supervisors of companies investing in the U.S.
H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupation Workers)For highly qualified professionals and people with an academic degree
H-1B (Physicians)H-1B1 (Free Trade Agreement professionals – Chile, Singapore)H-2A/2B (Temporary workers – seasonal agriculture/non-agriculture)H3 (Non-employment training in a program)H-4 (Dependent of H Visa holders)
L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee)For the internal transfer of employees of all nationalities
L-1 Blanket Visa / RegistrationFor the internal transfer of employees with a simplified application process
O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability)For people with extraordinary skills and abilities
PAthletes, entertainers, and artists
RReligious workers
TN VisaFor skilled workers from Canada and Mexico
  1. US Exchange Visitor Visa

People who are visiting the United States to engage in an exchange programme can apply for a US exchange visitor Visa. Applicants for this Visa must have been accepted by an approved sponsor in the United States. The participant will get the DS-2019 form from the sponsor. All visitors to the United States should apply for a visa in the ‘J’ category.

J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor)For people who participate in an exchange program in the U.S. (e.g. an internship or training)
  1. US Journalist and Media Visa

Indian journalists or members of the Indian media who are coming to the United States to cover a story, incident, or event can apply for this sort of US visa. Only persons from the Indian media with a home office in India are eligible for this sort of visa. The aim of this visa is for applicants to acquire information. This visa should be applied for under the ‘I’ visa category.

I Visa (Foreign News Media)For journalists and media representatives

Also Read: How to Transfer Universities in USA?

What Does a US Visa Look Like?

When you are given a Visa for the United States, it will look like this. You should double-check that it has all of the elements that are in the sample visa, as well as your correct information that matches the data in your passport. You should contact the US Embassy that issued it if it does not contain all of the information.

How to Apply for Various US Visa Types?

Here are the steps that will help you to apply for Various USA visa Types:

Steps 1 – Determine the type of U.S. visa:

Several types of U.S. visas are available, depending on why you wish to visit the United States. It’s up to you to figure out which one is best for you. The many types of visas available in the United States have been discussed above for your reference.

Step 2 – Fill out the Visa Application Form for the United States of America (Form DS-160): 

Once you’ve decided which sort of Visa you need, fill out Form DS-160, which is the U.S. visa application form. You may fill out the application form online by visiting:

  • By using the Consular Electronic Application Center, or
  • With a third-party firm like TravelAssist, you may streamline your application

You will be given an Application ID number after you have started the application. Make a note of this number since you’ll need it later in the application process. Also, make sure all of your information is right before submitting it since you won’t modify it afterwards.

You’ll be redirected to a confirmation page with a barcode number once you’ve completed the DS-160 form. You’ll need this number to schedule a visa appointment in the United States. Then you must send yourself a copy of the DS-160, which you can then download and print in PDF format. You’ll need the printed confirmation sheet for your appointment at the Visa Application Center and interview at the Embassy/Consulate.

Step 3 – Pay the Visa Fee

You must pay the visa fee before submitting your U.S. visa application in India, which varies based on the type of Visa you seek. Fees for U.S. visas may be found here. In India, you have the following alternatives for paying the U.S. visa fee:

  • National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) (NEFT)
  • IMPS (Instant Mobile Payment Service)
  • Cash – DRUK Bank, AXIS Bank, and Citibank offer this service.

Keep the receipt once you’ve paid the visa cost since you’ll need it during your visa appointment.

Note: Visa costs in the United States are non-refundable.

Step 4 – Make an appointment for a U.S. visa in India

To make an appointment for a U.S. visa in India, you must first create an account on the U.S.’s online visa application website. Then, you’ll need to make two separate appointments:

  1. One is located in the Visa Application Center.
  2. One with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The Embassy/Consulate appointment must be at least one day following the VAC appointment.

You’ll need the following to make your appointments:

  • The number on your passport
  • The receipt number for the visa application fee.
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page’s ten-digit barcode number

Step 5 – Fill up an application and submit it to the U.S. Visa Application Center in India

When making an appointment to apply for a U.S. visa in India, you must choose where you wish to apply (i.e. the Visa Application Centre). In India, there are VACs in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and New Delhi; choose the nearest one.

The staff will capture your photo and fingerprints when you come to the Visa Application Centre on the scheduled appointment day. You must carry the following documents:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the day you want to depart the United States.
  • Your confirmation page for the DS-160.
  • The confirmation page for your appointment.
  • One passport-sized photograph, as required by U.S. visa photo criteria.

Step 6 – Collect the necessary Indian visa documents

  • Your passport must be valid for at least another six months from the day you want to leave the United States.
  • Previous passports with expired U.S. visas.
  • Two passport-size photos that fulfil the photo criteria for U.S. visas.
  • The confirmation page of Form DS-160 is printed out.
  • You must have proof that you have paid the U.S. visa cost (the receipt).
  • Details about social media. A list of your social media accounts, as well as your phone number, email, and social media history over the preceding five years, has recently become a requirement for U.S. visa applications.
  • Itinerary for travel. It must show what you intend to do while in the United States.
  • Depending on where you are staying, you may need to show proof of lodging. Reservation at a hotel, letter of invitation from a friend or relative, and so forth.
  • Any other papers about the U.S. visa you wish to renew? Consider the following example:
  • Documents related to sponsorship (if you have a sponsor).
  • Any documentation demonstrating your qualifications, as well as a job offer or contract, are required for a U.S. Work Visa.
  • Proof of acceptance into a U.S. educational institution is required for a U.S. student visa.

Step 7 – Visit the U.S. Embassy for your U.S. Visa Interview

You must schedule your U.S. visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate after submitting your visa application at the VAC. You must bring the following documents with you when you visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate:

  • Your appointment confirmation letter
  • The VAC stamp on your DS-160 confirmation document.
  • Your current passport, as well as any previous passports you may own
  • Depending on the type of Visa you have, you may be required to provide additional documentation.

The interview is brief, and the U.S. visa officials may ask you why you want to visit the U.S. or anything else that may help them learn more about you. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time since you will need to present your appointment letter and passport at the entrance and go through a security check. It’s also possible that you’ll have to wait in line for a while.


What Happens If I Don’t Get a Visa to Enter the United States?

USCIS or the U.S. Embassy may refuse your petition or visa application for a variety of reasons. For example, you may be disqualified or have a criminal record, making you ineligible to enter the United States. If you are denied a visa, you have two choices: appeal to the USCIS or the U.S. Embassy, or apply for a new visa. It is typically preferable to reapply for a visa rather than file an appeal since the U.S. Embassy will have a solid reason for denying your Visa, which you may correct when you reapply.

When My US Visa Expires, What Should I Do?

If your U.S. visa expires, you can renew it using a procedure similar to the one used to apply for the Visa in the first place. All U.S. visas have an issuance date and an expiration date printed on the passport. Only if the Visa’s expiration date has passed is it essential to renew the Visa.

If you want to get into your dream course in a high-ranked global university, you’ll need more than just good grades; you’ll also need flawless application because the competition is fierce. You may enlist the assistance of the study abroad experts specialists to assist you with the application process so that you can realize your goals.

Relevant Reads:

Post Study Work Visa in Ireland for Indian StudentsTier 2 Visa UK – A Comprehensive Overview
A Practical Guide to USA Work PermitsHow to Get PR in Ireland After Study?
How to Get a PR in France?Is it Easy to Get a PR in the UK?

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *