Non-immigrant visas are specifically for people who are not planning on moving to this country. It is important that you do not apply for a non-immigrant visa if you intend to adjust status in the near future, however the BCIS understands that people’s circumstances change and people here on a non-immigrant visa may need or desire to change their status to immigrant visa. Reasons for this change can include falling in love and becoming engaged, new work prospects, or change of circumstances in one’s country of origin.
The non-immigrant visas include:
A-1/A-2 Foreign Diplomatic Personnel and A-1/A-2 Dependents: Officers of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the United States, such as ambassadors, public minister, career, or consular officers, and members of their immediate families are admitted to the United States as A-1 visa holders. Other officials and employees accredited by foreign governments, who are accepted by the Secretary of State, and members of their immediate families are admitted as A-2 visa holders. Anyone in the country on an A-1 or A-2 visa is permitted to study if the studying is incidental to the person’s visit in the country. Also, the spouse and children of a foreign government official or employee can work in the United States after filing a Form I-566.
A-3 Visa Holders: Attendants, servants, and personal employees of A-1 and A-2 visa holders, and members of the immediate families of these attendants, servants, and personal employees are admitted to the United States as A-3 visa holders. These individuals may work or study in the United States only under the supervision of the foreign government official.
B-1 Visitors for Business: Anyone in the country on a B-1 visitor visa for business is in the country for negotiating contracts for overseas employers, consulting with business associates, attending professional conferences, or conducting independent research. Persons with this visa are permitted to study while in the country if the study is related to their visit, but can only work for a period of nine days for an academic institution. The services provided must be beneficial to the academic institution, and the visa holder cannot work for more than five institutions in a six month period.
B-2 Visitors for Tourism: Anyone in the country on a B-2 visitor visa for tourism is in the country for travel, tourism, and recreational purposes. These individuals are permitted to engage in a study if the study pertains to their visit. They can take English classes for no longer than 18 hours per week and of a short duration. B-2 visa holders cannot work, except for academic institutions for no longer than a period of nine days.
B-2 Prospective Students or Prospective Scholars: Anyone in the country on this visa is in the country strictly for studying and must have the B-2 status changed to F-1 or J-1 as soon as the person receives a Form I-20 or IAP-66 and becomes eligible for full-time study. Such persons cannot obtain any income from any U.S. source, except for academic institutions if they changed their status to F-1 or J-1.
Visa Waivers for Business (VWB) and Tourism (VWT): These waivers are granted to people entering the country without a visa, whose stay in the country does not exceed 90 days. The U.S. State Department designates the foreign countries to whose citizens these waivers apply. These foreign nationals are not permitted to extend their time of stay or work in the country. They can study in the country under the same conditions as B-1 and B-2 visa holders.
C-1, C-2, and C-3 Aliens in Transit: The C-2 and C-3 visas are reserved for Foreign Government Officials in Transit. These individuals are in the process of traveling from one country to another via the United States. They are not permitted to study or work for anyone in the country, except for their foreign government.
D-1/D-2 Alien Crewmen: These visa holders are airmen or crewmen employed on a vessel or on an aircraft with stopovers in the country. These individuals are not permitted to study in the country or receive payment from any U.S. source.
E-1 Treaty Traders: These visa holders are individuals who visit the United States with the purpose of engaging in trade under a treaty between the United States and their country. These persons can study if it is beneficial to the trade and can only be employed by the company they are doing business for under the treaty.
E-2 Treaty Investors: These visa holders are foreign nationals who are in the country to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested capital, provided that the enterprise has a treaty with the United States.
F-1 Students and F-2 Dependents of F-1 Visa Holders: F-1 visa holders are foreign nationals who come to the country to study on a full-time basis. They can be employed by the academic institution which is the individual’s place of studies, employed off-campus under certain circumstances, or employed by an outside source if it benefits their studies. The dependents of an F-1 visa holder are allowed to come as F-2 visa holders. They are permitted to study part-time or full-time in the country but cannot work or receive payment from any U.S. source.
G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 Representatives of International Organizations: These visa holders are persons visiting the United States as representatives of a foreign government or organization, such as the United Nations. These foreign nationals are permitted to engage in a study if the study is beneficial to their visit to the country, and can only be employed by their foreign government.
G-5 Personal Employees of G- 1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 Visa Holders: These visa holders are in the country as personal employees of representatives of a foreign nation or a foreign organization, and are permitted to study if the study is beneficial to their stay in the country.
H-1B Temporary Workers in a Specialty Occupation: These visa holders are working for a company in the United States to provide a special service for a specified period of time, which cannot exceed three years at a time. They are permitted to study if it benefits the visit to the country. These visa holders are not permitted to receive payment from other organizations while in the United States.
H-2A Agricultural Workers: These visa holders are in the country to perform agricultural work on a temporary basis and are permitted to study if the course of study is beneficial to their work in the country. These individuals are not permitted to receive payment from any other organization in the country.
H-2B Skilled or Unskilled Workers: These visa holders are in the country to perform a specified job on a temporary basis due to a shortage of qualified United States workers. These persons are permitted to study if it is beneficial to their work but cannot receive payment from any other sources in the country.
H-3 Trainees: These visa holders are foreign nationals who are in the country to be trained for a specific job. These individuals may engage in a study related to their visit but cannot work for any other employer.
H-4 Dependents of H Visa Holders: These visa holders are individuals who are in the United States as dependents of an H visa holder. These persons are permitted to study but cannot be employed in the country.
I Visa: Representatives of Foreign Information Media: These visa holders are members of a foreign country’s press and their dependents. These individuals are permitted to study, but the dependents are not permitted to work and the principal aliens can only work for the foreign media.
J-1 Exchange Visitors (Students): These visa holders are permitted to study in the country, which is their primary reason for the visit, and are permitted to work on campus if they wish to do so.
J-1 Exchange Visitors (Scholars, Professors, or Researchers): These visa holders are in the country as visiting researchers or professors, who are permitted to study if it is related to their work, but can only be employed by the Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor.
J-1 (Au Pair) Visa Holders and J-2 Dependents of J-1 Visa Holders: These visa holders are in the country to care for a child as a live-in child care provider. These individuals are permitted to study under the auspices of a J-1 status, and can only receive payment from the host family. The dependents of a J-1 visa holder are allowed to come as J-2 visa holders. These persons are permitted to study in the country, and are permitted to work if they have an Employment Authorization Document.
K-1 Fiancée Visa Holders and K-2 Dependents of K-1 Visa Holders: The K-1 visa is based on the stipulation that an engaged couple will marry within 90 days of the fiancée arriving in the country. The couple also must prove that they have met in person at least one time prior to their meeting in the United States for the first time. The children of the fiancée, unmarried and under the age of 21, are allowed to come as K-2 visa holders.
K-3 Visa Holders and K-4 Dependents of K-3 Visa Holders: A K-3 visa holder is the spouse of a United States citizen, who is allowed to come to the country with this visa before applying for permanent residence. The children, unmarried, under the age of 21, and born to the United States citizen, are allowed to come as K-4 visa holders.
L-1 Intracompany Transferees and L-2 Dependents of L-1 Visa Holders: L-1 visa holders are individuals who have been transferred to the country from an affiliate or subsidiary branch overseas to work in an executive, managerial, or specialist position. Their dependents are admitted as L-2 visa holders.
M-1 Vocational Students and M-2 Dependents of M-1 Visa Holders: These visa holders are foreign nationals enrolled in a vocational school or vocational program in the United States. Their dependents are admitted as M-2 visa holders.
NATO 1-6 NATO Personnel: These visa holders are the personnel of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including staff members, attendants, servants, personal employees of the NATO personnel, and members of the NATO armed services.
O-1 Persons of Extraordinary Ability, O-2 Accompanying Personnel, and O-3 Dependents of O-1 and O-2 Visa Holders: These visa holders are persons with extraordinary abilities in the areas of science, arts, business, education, or athletics, who are in the country to work for a sponsoring employer. The dependents of O-1 and O-2 visa holders are allowed to come as O-3 visa holders. O-3 visa holders are permitted to study in the country but are not permitted to be employed.
P-1 Internationally Recognized Athletes or Entertainment Groups and Members of Their Essential Support Personnel: These visa holders are visiting athletes, who are on their own or accompanied by a team. They can study in the country if they wish to do so, but can only be employed by their athletic team or sponsor.
P-2 Artist or Entertainer Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program: These visa holders are artists, whether by themselves or part of a group, who come to perform in the United States.
P-3 Artist or Entertainer in a Culturally Unique Program: These visa holders are artists, who are in the country to teach a specific art form of music, such as folk, cultural, theatrical, or other artistic performance.
P-4 Dependents of P-1, P-2, or P-3 Visa Holders: These visa holders are the dependents of P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holders. They are permitted to study in the country but are not permitted to work.
Q Participants in an International Cultural Exchange Program: These visa holders are part of a foreign exchange program in the country. They come to the United States to provide training, employment, and to share the history of their foreign country.
R-1 Religious Workers and R-2 Dependents of R-1 Visa Holders: These visa holders are members of a true religious denomination from a foreign country, who carry out the activities and duties of a religious worker. Their dependents are allowed to come as R-2 visa holders. They are permitted to study but are not permitted to work in the country.
S-5 and S-6 Aliens Assisting in Law Enforcement and S-7 Dependents of These Individuals: These visa holders provide important and vital information to United States law enforcement officials regarding criminal investigations. They may partake in a course of study and may obtain employment if they are granted an EAD. Their dependents are permitted as S-7 visa holders.
TN (Trade NAFTA) Visa Holders (Citizens of Canada and Mexico) and TD Dependents: These visa holders are in the country to perform specific services for a specific period of time for a sponsoring employer. Their dependents are allowed to come as TD visa holders.
V Visa Holders: These visa holders are the spouse and minor children of a lawful permanent resident, who are allowed to come to the country as V visa holders prior to applying for permanent residence.