The United States remains the top destination for immigrants and tourists. Every year, the US admits millions of people from all over the world. However, if you are non-citizen of the US, you will most likely need a visa to enter and stay legally in the country.

What is a U.S. Visa?

A US visa is a travel document (generally a stamp) that you get on your traveler’s passport, which signifies that you are eligible for admission into the United States. There are numerous types of visas available for specific types of travelers.

Every year, the US grants around 10 million visas: 5 percent are permanent visas and the remaining are temporary visas. The non-immigrant visas are available to non-citizens. Under the non-immigrant visa types, there are 81 categories with unique sets of eligibility requirements and application process.

Different US Visa Types for Non-Citizens

Here we list down some of the most common visa types for non-citizens.

1. Tourist Visa

B-1 and B-2 type are applicable for tourists who want to visit the US for vacation or holiday. They may also be used by those who want to seek medical treatment in the US. This visa classification allows travelers to enter the US and stay for up to 90 days (and can be extended) but does not allow any type of work. It normally has a validity of 5 to 10 years. Tourist visas represent the vast majority (about 80 percent) of all the temporary visas granted each year.

2. Fiance Visa

K-1 or Fiancé(e) Visa is intended for individuals who are set to marry a US citizen. This visa category allows foreign nationals to enter and stay for 90 days in the country while waiting for their wedding ceremony.

3. Employer-Sponsored Immigrant Visa

This immigrant visa is intended for individuals who are set to work in the US with a sponsoring company or employer. There are several types under this category:

EB-1 Visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers, and multinational executive-level professionals. This visa type does not require a labor certification process, unlike other EB-class visas.

EB-2 Visa is for foreign nationals with advanced degrees or proven exceptional ability in business, arts, and sciences. Applicants are required to have a potential employer that must apply for labor certification. The labor certification process ensures that the potential visa holder will not take away jobs from US workers. In cases where the work is in the national interest, the labor certification and job offer requirements may be waived.

EB-3 Visa is for professionals and skilled workers. It requires a job offer and labor certification.

EB-4 Visa is for religious workers and gives permanent residency to its visa-holders.

EB-5 Visa is intended for investors who invest at least $500,000 in specified economic areas and who invest $1,000,000 anywhere else. There are 10,000 EB-5 visas available annually although this number is rarely reached.

4. Temporary Worker Visa

This visa category is intended for those who plan to work in the US for a temporary period.

H-1B Visa is applicable to professionals with a valid job offer from a US employer. There are 65,000 H1-B visas available annually although according to H-1B immigration lawyers from Corey Lee Law, the number of visas granted every year is often higher.

H-2B Visa is reserved for non-agricultural workers and often given to workers where there is short supply in the US.

5. Student Visa

Foreign nationals who wish to obtain US education may be eligible for a student visa. Two of the most common visa types are:

F-1 Visa is reserved for students who wish to enroll in higher education courses (college and technical training). The duration of the visa is dependent on the period of study.

J-1 Visa is granted to individuals who applied to programs offered by US educational institutions and organizations. The paid training programs are in various occupations such as summer programs, education, business, etc.

These are just a few of the numerous visa types available for foreign nationals who seek to visit and stay in the United States. To find the most appropriate visa classification for your case, you can check the  US Department of State website for the most up-to-date information.