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A Guide to Understanding the Different Types of US Visas
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It’s no secret that the U.S. visa system can be complicated, especially knowing which visa is right for you. It often depends on your circumstances and whether you are interested in traveling, working, or attending school in the United States. But applying for a visa is not something you want to do on your own, so it’s essential to choose a skilled and experienced immigration lawyer to help you through the process.

The attorneys at Tampa Immigration Law Center can help give you the legal advice you need as you work to secure a visa. Our staff is well-equipped to walk you through the immigration process and guide you in selecting and applying for the proper visa.

This article will serve as a guide to explain the different types of U.S. visas.

Types of U.S. visas

The U.S. Department of State has a directory for all the different types of visas a person can get. In most cases, you must secure a visa if you enter the U.S. from a foreign country. Immigrant visas are for permanent residence, while non-immigrant visas are for temporary stays or visits to the U.S. All visas approved by the U.S. are issued by embassies or consulates.

All in all, there are nearly 200 different types of U.S. visas. These typically fall into a few different categories, including:

  • Tourist visas (vacations and general travel)
  • Immigration and naturalization visas (including by marriage)
  • Student visas (given for studying in the U.S.)
  • Business or work visas (for employment)

The sections below will explain some of the more common types of U.S. visas in further detail.

Common immigrant visas

Immigrant visas are for those who plan to live permanently in the U.S. After entering the U.S. on this visa, they will then be granted permanent or conditional residency status.

Anyone who wants to immigrate permanently to the U.S. must have their petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. A relative or potential employer usually files the petition.

Common non-immigrant visas.

There are several different types of non-immigrant visas, including student, business, religious workers, media, and spousal sponsorship. Here’s a closer look at what one would need to apply for a visa:

  • Business/tourist visas: This is typically for temporary work, vacation, or medical treatment. It typically involves filling out a B-2 visa.
  • Work visa: This specific visa is based on the type of work you plan on doing in the United States. For this reason, the type of visa you would fill out may vary.
  • Student visa: This is for students who plan on pursuing academic studies or non-academic/vocational studies in the U.S. It usually requires filling out an M-1 visa.
  • Exchange visitor visa: This is for exchange programs, including the participant, spouse, and children.
  • Religious worker visa: This is for individuals who plan on temporarily working in a religious capacity in the U.S. The type of visa that is most common for this is R.
  • Journalist and media visa: This is for the foreign press and members of the international media who are temporarily traveling to the U.S. for work. It generally requires an I-type visa.

Get experienced help from the Tampa Immigration Law Center for your immigrant visa application!

If you need a U.S. visa for work, study, travel, or marriage, the skilled and experienced lawyers at Tampa Immigration Center can help you get it. We have experience assisting both domestic and international clients with various visa and immigration services. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you! Schedule a call now.