How To Determine Which U.S. Visa You Need

Many foreign visitors need a visa in order to enter the United States of America. There are two types of visas that are issued to people: Immigrant visas for people who wish to live and work permanently in the country and nonimmigrant visas for temporary stays and visits.

Immigrant US Visa

If one wants to live permanently in the United States then they need to acquire an immigrant visa. In order to do so they should send a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The petition effectively asks the federal government permission to let the immigrant stay permanently. Once the request is approved, the National Visa Center processes the petition and gives instructions about the fees, forms and the necessary documents that are required to complete the application of the visa. Some of the categories of the Immigrant US visa include:


Individuals may be able to get a green card through employment. Candidates who are eligible must either be special immigrants, skilled workers, individuals with advanced degrees or a priority worker.


In order to work in the US through family sponsored immigration, one must have a relative who is a US citizen. In order to obtain the visa, both the petitioner as well as the beneficiary needs to go through a multi step process.

Immediate Relatives

This category includes parents (if the petitioner is above 21 years of age), unmarried children (under 21 years of age) and spouses.

Special Immigrants

This identifies certain special immigrants, even those involved in religious vocations.

Nonimmigrant US Visas

Visitors who wish to stay temporarily in the country must get a nonimmigrant visas. Individuals who are citizens of the countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program may enter the country without the visa. Some reasons why people choose to visit the country include business, tourism as well as medical treatments. The most common categories for temporary visa include:

  • Fiancé of a U.S Citizen
  • Students
  • Diplomats and Government Official
  • Business, Tourist and Visitors
  • Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
  • Media & Journalists
  • International Organizations & NATO
  • Temporary Workers Overview
  • Visa Renewals
  • Exchange Visitors
  • Religious Workers
  • Border Crossing Card – Mexican Travelers
  • Australian (E-3) in Specialty Occupation
  • Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional
  • Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional
  • Canadian and Mexican NAFTA Worker

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