These are all possible visas to enter the United States

All people who are not US citizens need a document that authorizes them to be legally present in the United States.

These documents can be very diverse and deal with very different situations, highlighting:

  • Permanent residence card, also known as greencard
  • Temporary authorizations, such as a parole , awaiting the subsequent settlement of the situation or having to leave the United States.
  • ESTA, for citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries
  • Or temporary visas, which can be of a very different nature, from tourists to diplomats to religious to professional workers or without studies, etc.

This article provides information about these temporary visas, what their requirements are and when one or the other applies for situations that may be similar.

Type A or diplomatic visas

There are three types of Visa A:

A-1: for ministers or cabinet members of foreign governments, consuls and ambassadors and representatives of the European Union or African Union delegation traveling to the United States for diplomatic work.

And also for foreign Heads of State, for these ones visas is issued whatever the reason for their trip to the USA, including when it comes to tourism. Likewise, an A-1 is given for the immediate family members of the persons named in this paragraph.

A-2: full-time workers of a foreign government who are assigned to an embassy or consulate in the United States.

Also for workers who are not representatives of the European Union or the African Union and who work in an office in the United States, representatives of a foreign government travelling to the United States for an official activity, foreign military personnel on a US basis or at a foreign consulate or embassy in the territory of the United States or immediate family members of the persons described in this paragraph.

A-3: for domestic employees of people with A-1 and A-2 visas.

Advantages of these visas

The term immediate family member is broader for holders of A-1 and A-2 visas than for those of other types. For example, it includes unmarried couples and also people living within the diplomat’s family home, with no age limits and as long as the marriage, blood or adoption bond is recognized by the government they are represented.

For visas A-1 and A-2, an interview is frequently not requested at the US consulate that issues them. They can also be renewed without leaving the USA.


The children of diplomats born in the United States do not benefit from the general rule that those born in this country are Americans. They are an important exception.

B visas for tourists and business people

Within the category B visas, there are B1, B2 or a combination of both, the BCC, also known as laser or cross visa.

B-1 Visa

This is a nonimmigrant visa granted to foreigners to enter the United States temporarily to participate in an activity related to a business, both commercial and professional.

It is very common for B-1 visas to be issued jointly with B-2

B-2 visas

B-2 visas are tourist visas although in some countries they are known as for a walk or pleasure. This is requested and these are the common causes for which it is denied and these 10 causes for which it is cancelled.

BCC visas

For Mexican citizens and permanent residents in Mexico who live along the border with the United States. They are also known as crossing visas and this is all that should be known about how to apply and limits of use.

Which tourists can travel without a visa to the United States

Citizens of about thirty countries, including Chileans and Spaniards, can travel to the United States without a visa request when they aim to do tourism or attend a business meeting or a congress or fair. But if they arrive by plane they must have an ESTA before boarding.

C transit visa and to work on cruise ships

In this group there are two visas.

Visa C

For foreigners who travel from one country to another and make a stopover in the United States.

C-1 / D Visa

For cruise workers, merchant ships or aeroplanes when it is necessary to enter the US to embark on the ship where you are going to work. These are its characteristics and these are the average salaries paid and recruitment agencies to work on cruise ships.

Investment E visas

In this category there are two visas, the E-1 when you already have an import / export business with the United States and the E-2 for investors from countries that have a treaty signed with the USA (not to be confused with FTA, they are different things)

These are 10 data that should be known about the E-2, and these real business examples that have been founded with this type of visa.

And above all, before beginning to explore the possibilities of the E-2 visa, you should know if you have a passport from a country that can access these visas and, in addition, if you have enough money for an investment that guarantees the approval of the visa

Difference with the EB-5

This immigrant visa requires a considerable investment of at least $ 900,000. But unlike what happens with the E-1 or E-2, the EB-5 gives its holder the opportunity to obtain a green card for the investor, his spouse and unmarried children under 21 years.

Both people with non-immigrant E-1 and E-2 visas and those who are interested in an EB-5 visa to obtain the green card, should familiarize themselves with the educational system of the United States if they travel with children, since when more Know before you arrive in the country, you better make good decisions.

F and M student visa

F visas are the most common among international students, although they are not the only ones, for example, these are all options for studying high school.

And within the category of F visas, there is F3, which is little known, which applies in the Mexican and Canadian areas bordering the United States and which is an option that should be known.

The initial step is to be admitted to a school or university that can issue a document known as I-20 and be registered with SEVIS. After that is when you apply for the visa.

Unlike what happens with F visas, M are also for students but vocational.

G visa for workers of international organizations

The United States is the headquarters of numerous international organizations, some of them really important such as the UN, the OAS or the MFI. Non-US employees can work with a G visa, which are the ones that offer the most advantages.

The H visa group to work in the United States

Visas enter here with very different conditions:

H-1B for professionals and models

They are the most popular visas among professionals to the point that they run out every year very quickly and it is common that a lottery draw should be conducted to determine who gets the H-1B.

To start the process it is necessary to have an American company that sponsors the visa. Without it, nothing can be done.

H-2A and H-2B

These visas are for temporary workers who enter the United States to work in agriculture or in non-specialized positions outside the agricultural field, such as hotels, fairs, etc.

These are companies in Mexico that recruit for American companies.


These are visas that are used very little and are for professional training in the United States.


It is for spouses and unmarried children under 21 of people with an H visa.

Visas I for journalists

Journalists entering the United States to cover an event must apply for the I visa. They cannot use the tourist visa and, if they are from a Visa Exemption Program country, as in the case of Spaniards and Chileans, they cannot work with the IS.

J exchange visas

Very diverse situations enter this group of visas, from medical practices to temporary jobs for teachers, au-pairs, monitors in summer camps, professional practices at the end of the university degree, etc.

One of the J-1 programs that arouse most interest is designed for foreign doctors to facilitate their specialization in the United States through the study of residence.

K visas for boyfriends and husbands of American citizens

These are very special visas because they can be a step towards obtaining the residence card.

K-1 and K-2 Visa

For boyfriends of American citizens and their children. The sponsor and the sponsor must get married before 90 days have elapsed from the moment the foreign person entered the United States.

K-3 and K-4 visas

These visas are used very little. Although they have several utilities, the most common is their request when requests from citizen to spouse and unmarried children under 21 are taking a long time to process.

L visas for transfer between companies

These are excellent visas considered double intention. That is, its holders are allowed to actively search for a greencard while they are present in the United States.

It is the L visas that are used for executives and workers of certain categories that work in multinationals.

Visas O for people with extraordinary abilities

O visas are for people with an excellent record in the fields of Business, Education, Sports, Science, Film and Television.

They are similar but different from the situations that allow obtaining the green card (residence card) for exceptional skills and without a sponsor.

P and Q visas

The P-1, P-2 and P-3 visas are suitable for foreign people to enter the United States to participate in a sporting or artistic event, either individually or as members of a group or to develop their profession.

P-1 visas also apply to professional video game players (gamers).

They are different from the Q visas, which are requested when you are part of international cultural exchange.

R visa for religious

In order for religious to work or reside in the United States, they need to meet the necessary requirements to successfully apply for an R visa.

T visa for victims of human trafficking

The United States protects victims of human trafficking through the so-called T visa. These are its characteristics.

It is one of the so-called humanitarian visas and it is highly advisable to consult with a lawyer or a reputable migrant defense organization before applying.

TN Visa

These are visas for Canadians and Mexicans under the Free Trade Agreement. These are its characteristics, those are more than 60 professions that allow applying by the TN.

U visa for victims of violence and VAWA

Victims of certain violent crimes that meet a series of requirements could successfully apply for a U visa.

In addition, some victims of domestic violence may benefit from the VAWA program.

Special situations to consider

Finally, the CMPP visa for Cuban health personnel has ceased to apply and new applications are not accepted.

Important for all nonimmigrant visas

Remember that even if you have a valid visa, it is possible that an immigration officer in the United States will prevent you from entering the country. And it is very important to understand that it is they who have the last word about who enters and who does not.