US Visa: The most important visa categories at a glance (2023)

If you are planning to visit the United States, you will quickly notice that there are many different types of visa. There is no universal visa for all travelers. The following list contains the most common visa types. If you wish to have a consultation or assistance with your visa application, do not hesitate to contact us.

US Visa: The most important visa categories at a glance (1)

Passport with a U.S. visa

Nonimmigrant Visa for the USA

Nonimmigrant visas allow you to temporarily stay in the United States. Like the name suggests, you cannot immigrate to the U.S. with this kind of visa. There are different nonimmigrant visas depending on the purpose of your stay.

Work Visa USA

There are many different work visas for the United States. If you want to legally work in the U.S., you have to choose a specific work visa first. All visas have different requirements, applications, costs, and processing times. The application for most work visas is a very complex and time-consuming process.

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The main requirement is a concrete job offer by an U.S. employer. Please keep in mind that work visas are tied to that specific employer/company. That means the future employee is only allowed to work for the company that filed the visa application.

VisaPurpose of stay
C-1/D Visa (Combined Transit and Crewman)For crew members of international flights or ships
E-1 Visa (Treaty Trader)For managers/executives/specialists/supervisors of companies driving trade to the U.S.
E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)For managers/executives/specialists/supervisors of companies investing in the U.S.
H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupation Workers)For highly qualified professionals and people with an academic degree
I Visa (Foreign News Media)For journalists and media representatives
L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee)For the internal transfer of employeesof all nationalities
L-1 Blanket Visa / RegistrationFor the internal transfer of employees with a simplified application process
O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability)For people with extraordinary skills and abilities
TN VisaForskilled workers from Canada and Mexico

US Visitor Visa (Business Visa USA and US Tourist Visa)

You should consider a US visitor visa if you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), or if you want to stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time (up to 180 days) for restricted business or touristic purposes.

VisaPurpose of stay
B-1 Visa (Business Visitor)For business travelers who stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days
B-2 Visa (Tourist)For tourists who want to stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days

Internship and Student Visa USA

The following visa categories are as diverse as the education opportunities in the United States. Study, au pair, as well as work and travel are surely less important for companies, but internships and trainee programs present interesting possibilities.

VisaPurpose of stay
F-1 Visa (Student)For studying at an American university or college
J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor)For people who participate in an exchange program in the U.S. (e.g. an internship or training)
M-1 Visa (Non-academic & Vocational)Für Personen, die in eine nicht-akademische oder berufsbezogene Bildungseinrichtung gehen

Immigrant Visa for the USA (Green Card)

An immigrant visa allows you to permanently stay in the United States. With such a visa, which is better know under the term Green Card, you can live and work in the U.S. for as long as you like. These are the different categories of U.S. immigrant visas:


Employment-based ImmigrationFamily-based ImmigrationDiversity Visa Program
EB-1 (Priority Workers)Relatives/Spouses of U.S. citizensParticipating in the yearly Green Card Lottery
EB-2 (Advanced Degrees/Exceptional Ability)Relatives/Spouses of permanent U.S. residents
EB-3 (Skilled Workers, Professionals and other Workers)
EB-4 (Special Immigrants including Religious Workers)
EB-5 (Immigration Investor Program)

If you are unsure about which visa might be the right one for you or your employees, you are welcome to arrange a visa consulting for you.

Frequently Asked Questions on U.S. Visas

What is the difference between visa and status?

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Theoretically, a visa only entitles you to board a plane to the USA and formally ask for entry into the country. The duration of your stay is determined by the U.S. border official at the border (= residence status). There is no legal entitlement to entry, nor to a maximum period of stay, e.g. up to 180 days per entry for a B visa. The U.S. official has every possibility to limit your stay (especially if you have already entered the country frequently).

How much does a U.S. visa cost?

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The fees for applying for a visa vary considerably depending on the category and may regularly increase or decrease, also as a result of exchange rate fluctuations. Therefore, every applicant should inform himself about the current fees before applying.

How do I apply for a U.S. visa?

(Video) US Immigrant Visa Categories Explained: Immediate Relative and Family Preference Categories.

The application for a U.S. visa must be made through the official U.S. authorities, e.g. the U.S. consulates and U.S. embassies. The actual visa application is placed online, but almost every applicant must go to the consulate in person for a visa interview. With some work visas, it is sometimes necessary to send extensive files by mail to the U.S. authorities in the USA prior to the consular application procedure.
We advise and support companies and private individuals in all matters relating to visa applications. Read more about the requirements, duration and costs of a visa application.


Which type of visa is best for USA? ›

For entry into the US, Indians require a non-immigrant visa. People who want to enter the United States temporarily to carry out specified tasks, such as business travelers, tourists, workers with specialised skills, and students, use non-immigrant visas.

How do I choose my visa category? ›

Select Visa Class
  1. Student. F-1 – Academic or Language Studies. F-2 – Spouse/Child of F-1 Visa Holder. M-1 – Vocational or Other Nonacademic Studies. M-2 – Spouse / Child of M-1 Visa Holder.
  2. Exchange Visitor. J-1 – Exchange Visitor. J-2 – Spouse / Child of J-1 Visa Holder.

Which is better B1 or B2 visa? ›

While a US B1 visa is solely used for business travel, the B1/B2 visa can be used for both business as well as for tourism and leisure purposes. The B1/B2 visa is also called B2 visa or US Visitor visa.

What is the most powerful visa? ›

Without COVID-19 travel restrictions and Ukrainian war–related visa changes in place, 2023's most powerful passports in the world are: Japan, Singapore (193 destinations) South Korea (192 destinations)

Is L-1 or H-1B better? ›

While L1 Visas are ideal for international companies and take less time to get than H1B visas, H1B visas have strict restrictions. Additionally, L-1 and H-1B visa holders can pursue a green card while remaining in the country as a nonimmigrant, thanks to the dual intent of these visa categories.

Which is the easiest US visa to get? ›

For many, a "B" visitor visa is the easiest and most appropriate one to get. (See 8 U.S. Code § 1101.)
Applicants for visitor visas must demonstrate that:
  • the purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment.
  • they plan to remain within the U.S. for a specific, limited period, and.

What is the golden visa of USA? ›

This is an immigrant visa, which means it gives the holder permanent residency, the right to live and work freely in the United States of America. Many green card holders will also choose to apply for U.S. citizenship after a period of time in the country, typically at least several years.

How long is B2 visa valid for? ›

While B-1 or B-2 visas may be valid up to 10 years, visitors on B-1 or B-2 will only be permitted to stay in the United States for a short duration (maximum 6 months), as granted by US Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.

Is B1 B2 visa a tourist visa? ›

Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

How many US visa categories are there? ›

There are two main categories of U.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visas – For travel to the United States on a temporary basis. Learn more. Immigrant visas – For travel to live permanently in the United States.

Should I select B1 B2 or B2 for parents? ›

Should I apply B1 or B2 visa for my parent's visit to the USA? B1/B2 is a single visa for both business and Visitors, and tourist purposes. The B1 visa is for travel to the US for a strictly business-related project while B2 is for leisure or family travel.

What is the benefit of B1 B2 visa? ›

While it may take over 8 weeks to process a business or tourist visa for the United States, the U.S. B1/B2 Visa has major benefits. First, your U.S. business & tourist visa remains valid for up to 10 years after issued, and you can spend up to 180 days Per Entry in the United States once there.

Can a B1 B2 visa get a green card? ›

A B1 visa and B2 visa do not grant permanent resident status — they are temporary visas – but the holder can apply for a green card.

Is getting B2 visa difficult? ›

Qualifying for a B-2 tourist visa is not automatic, and for people from some countries, not easy. It depends on what you plan to do during your visit and whether you can convince the U.S. consular authorities that you will really return home afterward.

Can I marry in US on a B1 B2 visa? ›

The short answer is: yes, you can get married in the US while on a B-1/B-2 tourist visa or on a visa waiver program. There is nothing in the regulations that say individuals who are in the US as visitors cannot get married.

Which is the No 1 passport in the world? ›

No. 1: Japan holds the top place for 2023. With this travel document, 193 jurisdictions will welcome its holder to cross their borders.

Is U.S. passport powerful? ›

The top five strongest passports are the USA (1st), Germany (2nd), Canada (3rd), Netherlands (4th), and Denmark (5th). These passports, as the Global Citizen Solutions Global Passport Index shows, are the strongest passports in 2023.

Which is the number 1 passport in the world? ›

World's top 20 powerful passports in 2023

According to the Henley passport index, the strongest passports in the world are as follows: Japan. Singapore, South Korea (tied) Germany, Spain (tied)

Is H-1B permanent? ›

H-1B visas are temporary, non-immigrant visas that are typically issued for a maximum of six years in two three-year allotments. Only those positions that require at least a bachelor's degree in a particular field are eligible for H-1B visa sponsorship. In addition, the employee to be sponsored must have that degree.

What is difference between H-1B and H1B1? ›

The H-1B visa category allows for "dual intent" where the foreign national will be coming to work in a professional position temporarily while also intending to immigrate to the United States. The H1B1 visa applicant, however, has to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to immigrate to the United States.

Can L-1 be converted to green card? ›

There is a direct path from the L1A visa to a green card by filing Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS under the EB1C Category as a Multinational Manager or Executive. Form I-140 must be filed by the employer on behalf of the qualifying L1A visa employee.

What is the weakest visa? ›

The USA comes in at seven (186 countries) and Australia at eight (185). The weakest passport, once again, is Afghanistan. Afghan people can only visit 27 countries without the need for a visa.

Which visa is very hard to get? ›

One of the things that makes Russian visas challenging is the number of questions one has to fill in the form. Apart from this, to get the visa approved, you also need to fill in all places you have visited in the last ten years. All these combined make the Russian visa process quite complicated.

Can I get 10 years US visa? ›

The US Tourist Visa (B-1/B-2) is a non-immigrant US Visa. Its validity period ranges from 1 month to 10 years and allows single, double or multiples entries to the US. The period of stay which is a maximum of 6 months is recorded by the Customs and Border Protection officer.

Which visa allows US to work? ›

Visa Classifications That Allow You To Work In The United States
Visa ClassificationDefinition
M-1Foreign vocational student
O-1, O-2Temporary worker in the sciences
P-1, P-2, P-3Temporary worker in the arts, athletics in an exchange or cultural program
Q-1, Q-2Cultural exchange visitor
10 more rows

What disqualifies you from getting a US visa? ›

An applicant's current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa. If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies.

What is the fastest way to get a US citizenship? ›

The fastest way to become a U.S. citizen is to be born in the United States. How long do you have to live in the US to become a citizen? You may qualify for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen if you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years. 3 years in case you are married to a U.S. citizen.

Can I get a US visa if I buy a property? ›

Foreign nationals are free to purchase real property in the country, as neither US citizenship nor permanent residence is not a legal requirement for real estate ownership. However, buying a house in the United States does not automatically grant you eligibility for lawful permanent residence (green card).

How much do I need to invest in US to get green card? ›

Increased minimum investments
  • The standard minimum investment amount has increased to $1.8 million (from $1 million) to account for inflation.
  • The minimum investment in a TEA has increased to $900,000 (from $500,000) to account for inflation.
Mar 1, 2023

How many times can I enter on B1 B2 visa? ›

You may travel to the U.S. as many times as you like during the period of validity of the visa. There is no restriction on the number of times you may visit.

Is B2 visa 5 years? ›

The US B1/B2 Tourist visa is valid for 10 years after issued. It means that after that time, you will need to renew your B1/B2 Visa if you want to stay in the United States long-term again.

How many times can I get a B2 visa? ›

Having a B visa to visit the United States is amazing. You can travel through the U.S. mostly for as long and as many times as you want.

How long can you stay on B1 visa? ›

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

Up to 6 months; maximum total amount of time permitted in B-1 status on any one trip is generally 1 year.

How long is B1 visa valid? ›

The US Business Visa (B1/B2) has a validity of 1 month to 10 years similar to other Non-immigrant US Visas. It permits single or multiple entries to the US and elicits a maximum stay period of 6 months.

What is the easiest US visa to get? ›

For many, a "B" visitor visa is the easiest and most appropriate one to get. (See 8 U.S. Code § 1101.)
In order to apply for this visa, you'll need to prepare or collect the following:
  • Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • Visa application fee.
  • Visa issuance fee.

How many types of visas are there in USA? ›

There are two main categories of U.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visas – For travel to the United States on a temporary basis. Learn more. Immigrant visas – For travel to live permanently in the United States.

What are the 4 types of immigrants? ›

When immigrating to the US, there are four different types of immigration status categories that individuals may fall into: citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented immigrants.

Which is the easiest visa to get? ›

Top 10 Easiest Schengen Visa Countries
  • Lithuania. Lithuania is one of the easiest Schengen visa countries, with only a 1.3% of rejection rate for short-term applications in the year 2018. ...
  • Greece. ...
  • Estonia. ...
  • Iceland. ...
  • Finland. ...
  • Latvia. ...
  • Luxemburg. ...
  • Switzerland.
Feb 6, 2023

What is the difference between B1 B2 and B2 US visa? ›

B1 and B2 visas are generally referred to as “B visas”, and they are the most common types of visa issued for a wide range of uses in the United States. The B1 visa is issued mainly for short-term business trips, while the B2 visa is issued mainly traveling for tourism purposes.

What does 2 star mean in US visa? ›

1-star or 3-star visa are eligible to come to the US. However, if your visa is 2-star or 3-star, it may be more difficult to enter the country. The customs will observe you more closely, asking you to answer more questions. In short, you can be twisted, making it difficult at the airport for a long time!

What are the 3 main categories of immigrants? ›

Classification of admission category of immigrant
  • 1 - Economic immigrant. ...
  • 2 - Immigrant sponsored by family. ...
  • 3 - Refugee. ...
  • 4 - Other immigrant.
Oct 18, 2022

What are the top 5 immigrant groups in the United States? ›

Approximately one in every three immigrants in the United States is from Mexico. The five largest foreign-born groups in the United States, including those from Mexico, the Philippines, India, China, and Vietnam, account for 44 percent of the total immigrant population.

What is F11 visa category? ›

F11. Unmarried son or daughter of U.S. citizen.

What is the cheapest US visa? ›

Visa Types and Application Fee Amounts

The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are US$190. K visas cost US$265 and the fee amount for E visas is US$205.

Which country has the weakest visa? ›

Afghanistan has been ranked as the world's weakest passport for 2023, according to the Henley Passport Index's latest power list. Afghanistan placed firmly at the bottom in the 109th place, with only 27-visa free destinations for Afghan passport holders.

Why US visa is difficult to get? ›

It's fair to say that the U.S. visa application process is complex and requires specific information. If the applicant does not meet all requirements for the visa they are applying for, or if they failed to provide the consular with all the required information, it can lead to a visa denial.


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