Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Visas And Status
A BASIC PRIMER
There is a wide range of temporary visas and statuses, used for many different purposes, with validity periods ranging from a few days to several years. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) must approve some in advance before being reviewed and issued by the State Department; others are only reviewed by the State Department. Nonimmigrant visas and statuses may be granted to the principal applicant and to his or her dependents (spouse and children under 21).
There is a difference between a visa and a status, although both are referred to in the same manner and with the same alphabetical designation (based on the respective section of the Immigration and Nationality Act). A visa is simply a document in the person's passport. It serves as a ticket to ensure that a foreign national can board the airplane to the U.S. A person's status is the category in which he or she is admitted to the United States and also determines the period of time he or she may remain. An individual's status is granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) once the applicant arrives at the border or a port of entry, and can be changed or extended by USCIS at one of its Service Centers.
The different temporary visa categories are:
A: Diplomatic employees and their households
B: Visitors for business (B-1) or visitors for tourism (B-2)
C: Transit visa (pass-through at an airport or seaport)
D: Crewmember (air or sea)
E: Treaty-Investors or Treaty-Traders (from countries where we have a bilateral treaty of commerce and
6. F: Students
7. G: Employees of International Organizations (IMF, OPIC, OAS, International Red Cross, etc.)
8. H: Temporary Workers. Can be professionals (H-1B), nurses (H-1C), agricultural workers
(H-2A), temporary or seasonal workers (H-2B), or trainees (H-3)
9. I: Representatives of international media
10. J: Exchange visitors (educational exchange students, au pairs, graduate medical trainees, practical
training students, professors and researchers, short-term scholars, camp counselors)
11. K: Fiances and fiancees; spouses of U.S. citizens married abroad
12. L: Intracompany transferees (executives, managers, persons with specialized knowledge)
13. M: Language and vocational students
14. N: NATO employees
15. O: Extraordinary ability
16. P: Athletes, entertainment groups (such as orchestras) and support personnel
17. Q: Cultural exchange visitors (example: Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
18. R: Religious workers
19. S: Criminal informants
20. T: Victims of international trafficking in persons
21. U: Victims of spousal or child abuse
22. V: Spouses and minor children of permanent residents who are waiting for green cards.
With so many different types of nonimmigrant U.S. visas, things can get overwhelming. We are a top Boston immigration lawyer and can help you every step of the way. Call Bennett Savitz at 617-723-7111.