What Are The Different Types of US Visas?

Most people think that there are only two types of visas to the US. The visit visa and the work visa. In fact, there are more than 20 type of visas to the US!

Curious? Well, in this article, I’ll explain about all types of US visas available today.

Let’s go.

Disclaimer: All aboard the visa express, but remember, I’m here to provide general advice, not specific legal guidance for your unique situation. If you need personalized advice, be sure to consult with an immigration attorney.

Nonimmigrant Visas – A Temporary Sojourn

So, you fancy a temporary visit to the land of Stars and Stripes? You’re going to need a nonimmigrant visa. Here’s the skinny:

1. B1 Visa: The Business Hotshot

Headed stateside for a business meeting? Closing a deal? Get your hands on a B1 visa.

2. B2 Visa: The Adventurous Voyager

Tourism or family visit on your mind? The B2 visa is your perfect partner.

3. F1 & M1 Visas: The Knowledge Crusader

Want to hit the American books? The F1 and M1 visas are your golden tickets.

4. H1B Visa: The Specialist

Are you an expert in a specialized field? Check out the H1B visa. For a deep dive, peek at our guide on How to get an H1B Visa.

5. L1 Visa: The Corporate Whiz

Getting transferred to your company’s US office? The L1 visa is your go-to.

6. J1 Visa: The Culture Enthusiast

Love to exchange cultures and knowledge? The J1 visa has your name on it.

The nonimmigrant category is chock-full of options. Find more on the US embassy’s official site.

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Immigrant Visas – The American Dream!

Seeking to become a permanent American resident? Let’s talk immigrant visas.

1. Family-Sponsored Visa

Got a relative who’s a US citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident? They might be your ticket to an immigrant visa.

2. Employment-Based Visa

If you’re an exceptional professional, an American employer might sponsor your immigrant visa.

Humanitarian & Special Visas

If you are involved in humanitarian work or fall under specific categories, Uncle Sam has particular visas for you:

1. K Visas: Fiancé(e)s and Spouses

Ready to tie the knot with a US citizen? Grab yourself a K visa and start wedding planning!

2. T and U Visas: Victims of Crime or Human Trafficking

Been a victim of crime or human trafficking? The US offers T and U visas.

3. S Visa: Valuable Information Source

Got valuable info for law enforcement? S visas are designed for such informants.

4. V Visas: Waiting Family Members

Long wait times for green card family members? V visas can help.

5. Diplomatic Visas: Foreign Dignitaries

If you’re a foreign government official or international organization employee, diplomatic visas (A, G, and NATO) are there for you.

Diversity Visas

1. Diversity Visa Program

Feeling lucky? If you’re from a country with low US immigration rates, try your luck at the Diversity Visa Program lottery.

Who knows, you might hit the jackpot!

Transit Visas

1. C1 Transit Visa

If you’re merely passing through the US en route to another country, you’ll need a C1 transit visa.

And there you have it!

My rundown of the many faces of the US visa beast. I hope this handy guide offers a clearer view of the complex terrain of US immigration. Remember, every case is unique, so when in doubt, consult a professional.

For more info on US visas, head over to the official US embassy site. For in-depth articles on various topics related to India-US travel, dive into the treasure trove at indiausatravel.com.

Stay informed, stay confident, and happy travels!


1. What is the difference between a non-immigrant and immigrant US visa?

Non-immigrant visas are issued to people who intend to stay in the US temporarily – like tourists, students, or business travelers. Immigrant visas, on the other hand, are for those intending to live and work permanently in the US.

2. Can I change my visa status after entering the US?

Yes, you can apply for a change of visa status while in the US under certain conditions. However, approval is not guaranteed and depends on USCIS’ discretion.

3. Is it possible to have two different US visas?

Yes, it’s possible. However, at any given time, you can only be admitted into the US under one visa status.

4. What is the Diversity Visa Program?

The Diversity Visa Program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, is an annual program that allows individuals from countries with low immigration rates to the US to participate in a lottery for a chance at getting a green card.

5. How long can I stay in the US with a B1/B2 visa?

Typically, B1/B2 visa holders can stay in the US for up to six months. However, the exact duration of stay is determined by the CBP officer at the port of entry.

6. Can I work in the US with a student visa?

On an F-1 student visa, you are allowed to work on-campus and in specified work-study programs. You can also work off-campus with authorization after completing a year of academic study.

7. What should I do if my visa expires while I’m in the US?

The expiration date on your visa doesn’t determine your length of stay in the US. It’s the “admit until date” on your I-94 form that matters. If you overstay this date, you’ll be in the US illegally and can face deportation or denial of future visas.

8. Who is eligible for an H-1B visa?

H-1B visas are available to people in “specialty occupations” – jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field and theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

9. Can I bring my family to the US with an employment-based visa?

Yes, certain employment-based visas allow you to bring your spouse and minor children to the US.

10. Can I travel to the US on a visa waiver program?

India is not currently part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Indian citizens need to apply for a US visa to travel to the United States.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.