The United States of America, by far, has the highest number of immigrants worldwide. You can only imagine how many people strive to make it into the Land of the free each year!
In 2019, data from an open-source revealed that over 44 million immigrants lived in the United States of America. That same year, there were over 8.7 million non-immigrant visas issued. These data should give you a fair idea of how many requests the nation deals with yearly from would-be immigrants.
Unsurprisingly, the US also has one of the most visa type numbers, with over 180. You can classify these permits under immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Take this article as a run-through of the major types of visas available for you to enter the US and how to apply for them.
US Visa Types
Visitor Visas (B1 and B2)
If you wish to go to the US to conduct business or tourism only, these visa types are yours. The B1 visa is for business visits, while the B2 is for tourists. With these visas, you can stay in the US for six months. The main requirements for visitor visas include:
A successful online application
Your valid international passport,
Proof of financial capability for self-sustenance
This visa is divided into three, the F, J, and M. The F visa is further divided into F1 and F2 visas. While the F1 is for academic students, the F2 is for their dependants.
Non-academic or vocational study students require an M visa. Meanwhile, the J visa is for those wishing to attend an exchange program, whether in high school or university.
Student visas generally require that you already have an offer of admission from a higher institution with recognition by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP).
Temporary Work Visas
US temporary work visas are in different categories. There are visas for people working in highly specialized fields (H1-B) and professionals from Chile and Singapore (H1B1). Meanwhile, agricultural workers and other non-agricultural seasonal workers need H-2A and H-2B visas, respectively, in order to work in the US.
Anyone wishing to work while taking advantage of training and education prospects requires an H-3 visa. However, if a company with branches abroad wants to transfer a worker from one of their foreign branches, they need the L visa for intracompany transfer.
The US also makes provisions for O1 visas to individuals with extraordinary abilities in various fields like science, arts, business, education, and even athletics wishing to enter the country to work in their area of expertise. Associate visas O2 and O3 allow assistants and dependents of the O1 visa holders to join them. Of course, these are subject to the approval of an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Another category under work visas is the P visas. These visas work for sportspersons, coaching teams, entertainers, and music bands. In contrast, religious workers would require the R1 visa type.
Work visas generally require that you already have a job offer by a recognized enterprise in the US, who would be the sponsor. Other requirements may include having some educational qualifications and licensing from relevant authorities.
Family Immigration Visas
Visas in this category are for integrating families with residents and citizens of the United States. There are several subcategories in this section.
A lawful permanent resident in the US, i.e., an immigrant with a Green card, can petition for their family to join them. Meanwhile, family in this consideration refers to the immediate relatives such as spouse F-2A) and unmarried children (F-2B). Moreover, if you’ve succeeded in gaining US citizenship, this visa would also cover parents (IR5) and siblings (F4).
To bring your parents to the US, you need to check the ir 5 visa requirements. One of the prerequisites for this visa type is proof of relationship, such as a birth certificate. You would also need to show that you can cater to these dependents upon arrival in the country.
International Organization and NATO Employees Visa
The US is a member of several international bodies and makes provision for workers from any of them to enter the country. These visas are categorized into A, G, and NATO visas. Head of the government of states uses the distinguished A visa regardless of the purpose of the visit.
Diplomats and NATO employees require an official authorization note or travel orders from their principal stating the purpose of their visit to the United States. The number of dependants accompanying such persons must also be in the document.
Although the USA is liberal in accepting immigrants from all over the world for various reasons, they have tight immigration policies. The application process almost always begins online by visiting their official immigration website.
Also, note that besides the standard requirements for each visa type, there may be other prerequisites varying with the countries where the application is emerging.
Ultimately, the USA reserves the right to approve or decline your request for any visa type you request. Hence, make proper inquiries or seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer to increase your chances of success.