The United States Immigration has 180 different options of visas, divided into two distinct categories – nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.

Foreign citizens who want to visit the country temporarily may apply for a nonimmigrant visa, while those who dream to become US residents must apply for an immigrant visa. In this article, you will have a full overview of the different types of visas in the United States.

What Are the Different Types of Visas in the US? – The Essentials

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency responsible for administering the country’s immigration system. As part of the Department of Homeland Security, it governs all the immigration proceedings from the application to the naturalization of eligible applicants.

The types of visas issued by the USCIS are divided into a set of categories, according to the eligibility criteria required for application. In this context, the main sub-categories are:

  • Family-related visas
  • Employment-related visas
  • Special immigrant visas
  • Refugee or asylee visas

Other categories include visas for specific situations, such as victims of human trafficking and crime, victims of abuse, special categories (e.g., visas for an individual born in the United States to a foreign diplomat), and visas for long-time residents (individuals who have resided continuously in the US since before January 1, 1972).

What Are the Different Types of Visas in the US? – Most Sought Out Options

Family-Sponsored Visas

The family-sponsored visa category encompasses immediate relatives of US citizens, other relatives of US citizens or lawful permanent residents under the family-based category, fiancées of US citizens, and widowers of US citizens.

Also, there is a peculiar family-based visa, which is the visa for victims against women. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), victims of battery or extreme cruelty committed by an immediate relative that is a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident may be eligible to obtain this visa.

Employment-Based Visas

Under the employment-based category, there are three main visa options, which are immigrant worker visas, the physician national interest waiver visa, and the immigrant investor visa.

Immigrant worker visas are split into three preference-based categories – first preference, second preference, and third preference workers.

The first preference category encompasses applicants who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or are outstanding professors/researchers, or multinational managers/executives who meet specific criteria.

The second preference category applies to foreign applicants who are members of professions that require an advanced degree or have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Also, national interest waivers fall under this subcategory.

The third preference category applies mostly for skilled workers (minimum of two years of work experience) and members of professions whose jobs require at least a US bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent.

Besides, workers with less than two years of training or work experience may apply for the third preference employment-based visa as unskilled workers.

Foreign physicians who agree to work full-time in clinical practice who meet the eligibility criteria may apply for the physician national interest waiver visa.

Another popular category is the immigrant investor visa, also known as the EB-5 green card. To be eligible, a foreign investor must invest at least $1 million in a new US-based commercial enterprise or $500,000 in a targeted employment area to create at least ten full-time jobs for US citizens.

Work with an Expert Immigration Attorney to Get Your US Visa

Dealing with the USCIS, filing countless forms, and meeting all the requirements is not easy when you do not have professional guidance. Waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or send an email to [email protected] to schedule a consultation.