The B visa category is available to individuals coming to conduct permissible business activities (B-1), or for vacation / pleasure (B-2). Depending on the applicant’s country of nationality, a B visa may not be required to enter the U.S. for this purpose.
The L-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who are Managers, Executives or specialized knowledge employees of a foreign enterprise. The applicant must be able to show at least one year of experience in this capacity within the last three years. Additionally, the foreign entity must have a qualifying relationship with the U.S. business.
The E-1 visa is an option for foreign nationals of treaty countries who conduct substantial trade with the U.S. In this context, trade is defined broadly and encompasses a wide range of goods and services. Foreign nationals typically apply at a U.S. Consulate / Embassy in their home country, unless they are physically present in the U.S. when the application is submitted.
The E-2 visa is available to foreign nationals of treaty countries who invest a substantial amount in a U.S. business. The business could be an existing company which the applicant acquires, or a new company the applicant has formed. Foreign nationals typically apply at a U.S. Consulate / Embassy in their home country, unless they are physically present in the U.S. when the application is filed.
Foreign nationals may apply for a student visa if they are enrolled in an academic program approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program. The applicant must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study, and must maintain a residence abroad which they have no intention of relinquishing.
Individuals with a strong educational and professional background may apply for an H-1B visa. To qualify, the foreign national typically needs a bachelor's degree (or higher), and an offer of employment from a US Company for a position which requires a degree. Applicants for H-1B status should be aware that there is an annual quota for this visa, which begins to run on April 1st each year.
The J visa category is available for those who intend to participate in an approved international exchange program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
The O-1 visa category is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has received recognition for those achievements. To qualify, the foreign national must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim.
The P-1 visa category is reserved for professional athletes and internationally recognized entertainers. Athletes must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport to qualify. Similarly, an entertainment group must be internationally recognized, with emphasis on its reputation. Applicants may require a visa depending on country of nationality.
The R-1 visa category is available to foreign nationals coming to the U.S. temporarily to be employed by a non-profit religious organization in the United States. Additionally, the foreign national must be coming to work as a minister or in a religious vocation / occupation. The applicant must have been a member of the religious organization for at least 2 years at the time of filing.
TN status is only an option for citizens of Canada and Mexico as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). To qualify, the foreign national must have an offer of employment from a US Company to perform work in a designated professional category. Citizens of Canada may apply for TN status at the US Border with Customs and Border Protection, while Citizens of Mexico must obtain a visa from the Embassy / Consulate abroad.