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FAQ: U.S. Visa Categories
Definitions of the most common visa types are below. Click on the category to review the different classifications in each category.
Most students entering university or English language institutes in the United States will use an F-1 visa. Students on F-1 visas come to the United States for full degree programs.
Some students may use a J-1 visa if coming for educational and cultural exchange programs. Students on J-1 visa typically come to the United States to study for a shorter period of time - one to two semesters
- A-1: Ambassador, public minister, career diplomat or consular officer, or immediate family
- A-2: Other foreign government official or employee, or immediate family
- A-3: Attendant, servant, or personal employee of A-1 or A-2, or immediate family
B-Visa is for temporary visitors in the U.S. usually as a tourist. This visa type can not be used to be a student.
- B-1: Temporary visitor for business
- B-2: Temporary visitor for pleasure
- B-1/B-2: Temporary visitor for business and pleasure
E-Visa classification allows an individual to enter the United States temporarily to engage in substantial trade. This visa type can not be used to be a student.
- E-1: Treaty Trader, spouse or child; an alien coming to the U.S. solely to carry on substantial trade; may only engage in employment that is consistent with the terms and conditions of the activities forming the basis for their E-1 Visa status.
- E-2: Treaty Investor, spouse or child; an alien coming to the U.S. solely to develop and direct the operations of an business enterprise or of an enterprise in which is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.
F-Visa is issued to a person who desires to study in the U.S. This is the primary visa type used by people entering the U.S. to study at OSU.
- F-1: Issued to a person pursuing an academic program who has been issued a form I-20.
- F-2: Issued to the spouse or child of F-1 visa holder.
G-Visa is a temporary visitor of an international organization. This visa type can not be used to be a student.
- G-1: Temporary visitor visa that is issued for principal representatives, and their families, of recognized governments.
- G-2: Temporary visitor visa that is issued for other representatives, and their families, of recognized governments.
- G-3: Temporary visitor visa issued to representatives of non-recognized non-member foreign government to international organization, or immediate family
- G-4: Temporary visitor visa that is issued for international organization office employees and their families.
- G-5: Temporary visitor visa that is issued for employees of individuals who have been issued a G1, G2, G3, or G4 visa. family
H-visa is used for people considered as temporary workers. This visa type can be used to be a student, but there are restrictions in the number of hours per semester that can be taken.
- H-1B: Alien in Specialty Occupation (Profession); an alien who is coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation
- H-1C: An alien nurse who is going to work for up to three years in a health professional shortage area
- H-2A: Temporary worker performing agricultural services which are unavailable in the United States
- H-2B: Temporary worker performing other services which are unavailable in the United States
- H-3: Trainee; an alien having a residence in a foreign country, which he/she has no intention of abandoning who is coming temporarily to the U.S. as a trainee
- H-4: The spouse or child of alien holding an H-1B/C, H-2A/B, or H-3
I-Visa is a temporary visitor visa that is issued for foreign information media employees and their families.
- I VISA- temporary visitor visa that is issued for foreign information media employees and their families.
- J-1: Exchange visitor entering the U.S. on a form DS-2019. The J-1 status limits people to engaging only in activities permitted under the program.
- J-2: Spouse or child of J-1 visa holder
K-Visa is used for the Fiancé or Fiancée of a U.S. Citizen, Child of the Fiancé(e) or Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen
- K-1: Fiancé(e) of United States citizen
- K-2: Child of Fiancé(e) of United States citizen
- K-3: Spouse of a United States Citizen for whom a spousal immediate relative petition has been filed in the United States.
- K-4: Child of K-3 spouse
L-Visa is issued to a person entering for an extended stay in the U.S., serving as a manager of a business located outside of the U.S. and who is transferred to a business in the U.S. as a manager or executive
- L-1A: Visa issued for a person working in a manager or executive role working in an enterprise in Canada, who work part- or full-time in a U.S. business with common ownership with the Canadian operation
- L-1B: Visa issued for a person with specialized knowledge of the business
- L-2: Spouse or child of L-1 A/B visa holder
- M-1: Vocational or other non-academic student
- M-2: Spouse or child of M-1
N-Visa is issued to the parent of certain special immigrants (retired officers/employees previously accorded G-4 visa status)
- N-8: Parent of an alien classified SK-3 "Special Immigrant"
- N-9: Child of N-8 or of an SK-1 , SK-2, or SK-4 "Special Immigrant"
- NATO-1: Principal Permanent Representative of Member State to NATO and resident members of official staff or immediate family.
- NATO-2: Principal Permanent Representative of Member State to NATO and resident members of official staff or immediate family.
- NATO-3: Official clerical staff accompanying representatives of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies), or immediate family
- NATO-4: Official of NATO other than those classifiable as NATO-1 or immediate family
- NATO-5: Expert, other than NATO officials classifiable under the NATO-4, employed in missions on behalf of NATO, and their dependents
- NATO-6: Member of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement; member of a civilian component attached to or employed by an Alien Headquarters Under the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty, and their dependents
- NATO-7: Attendant, servant, or personal employee of NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, NATO-6 classes, or immediate family
- O-1: Temporary visa issued to individuals coming to the U.S. to perform temporary work that requires extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim or, with regard to motion picture and television productions, a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation and who is coming to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability
- O-2: Temporary visa issued to workers accompanying individuals coming to the U.S. to perform temporary work that requires extraordinary ability.
- O-3: Spouse and minor children of aliens of extraordinary ability
- P-1: Temporary visa issued to an athlete or entertainer who has a foreign residence which he has no intention of abandoning and who, as part of a team or group, has received international recognition as outstanding; entertainer must have relationship with the group for at least one year
- P-2: Athlete or entertainer entering under a reciprocal exchange program
- P-3: Athlete or entertainer entering in a culturally unique program
- P-4: Spouse or child of P-1, P-2, or P-3
- Q-1: Participant in an international cultural exchange program; an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning who is coming temporarily to the U.S. to participate in an international cultural exchange program which provides practical training, employment and which involves the sharing of history, culture and traditions of the applicant's country
- Q-2: Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program (also known as the Walsh Visa Program); program offers eligible men and women from disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland and the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland to live and work in the United States for up to 36 months with a Q-2 work visa
- Q-3: Spouse or child of Q-2
R-Visa is a temporary visa issued to a person in a religious occupation such as ministers of religion, professional workers in religious vocations and occupations and other religious personnel.
Requires membership for at least two years in the religious organization.
- R-1: Temporary visa issued to performing artists and entertainers who are under the reciprocal exchange program.
- R-2: Temporary visa issued to the spouse or child of R-1
- S-5: Persons supplying critical information relating to a criminal organization or enterprise
- S-6: Persons supplying critical information relating to terrorism
- T-1: Victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons
- T-2: Spouse of a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons
- T-3: Child of a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons
- T-4: Parent of a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons (if T-1 victim is under 21 years of age)
TN-Visa is issued to a professional entering under U.S.‚ Canada‚ Mexico Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers.
- TN: NAFTA Professional
- TD: Spouse or child of NAFTA Professional
- U-1: Victim of certain criminal activity
- U-2: Spouse of U-1
- U-3: Child of U-1
- U-4: Parent of U-1 (if U-1 is under 21 years of age)
- V-1: Spouse of lawful permanent resident who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition which was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years
- V-2: Child of lawful permanent resident who is the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition which was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for at least three years
- V-3: Child of V-1 or V-2