Non-Immigrant Visas

Non-Immigrant Visas

A non-immigrant is a foreign national seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) temporarily for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, and once in the U.S. are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visa was issued. They may have more than one type of non-immigrant visa but are admitted in only one status.

General requirements for foreign nationals seeking temporary admission include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The purpose of the visit must be temporary;
  • The foreign national must agree to depart at the end of his/her authorized stay or extension;
  • The foreign national must be in possession of a valid passport;
  • A foreign residence must be maintained by the foreign national, in most instances;
  • The foreign national may be required to show proof of financial support;
  • The foreign national must be admissible or have obtained a waiver for any ground of inadmissibility;
  • The foreign national must abide by the terms and conditions of admission.

In all cases, the non-immigrant must prove that their visit is temporary and that they will return home after their legally authorized stay.


Visitor Visas The "Visitor" visa is a non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business, for pleasure or medical treatment, or combination of both purposes. Additionally, a person may obtain a Visitor visa if they desire to assess a prospective college or university.


Fiancé(e) and Spousal Visas Visa categories exist to allow for a non-immigrant fiancé(e) or spouse, along with their children, to enter the U.S. For a fiancé(e) visa to be issued, several requirements must be met. Click here for more information.


Exchange Visitor Visas The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides two non-immigrant visa categories for persons to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, and the "Q" visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Temporary Worker Visas Employers who wish to hire foreign workers to temporarily perform services or labor or to receive training may seek a non-immigrant visa for these express purposes . Thus, in most cases, workers who enter the United States under this petition must depart the U.S. when their maximum period of stay has been reached. Depending on the particular visa category, an extension of stay or change of status may be granted for certain non-immigrants.


Student Visas The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two non-immigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The first student visa category is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs. The second student visa category is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.


Academic Students and Vocational Students Requirements

Foreign students seeking to study in the U.S.must meet the following criteria:

  • The student must be enrolled in an "academic" educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program;
  • The school must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
  • The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up.