I want to travel to the United States WITHOUT applying for a tourist visa to visit the U.S.
I am citizen of one of the 38 countries below and I want to enter the United States ONLY for tourism through the Visa Waiver Program?
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
This United States Customs and Border Protection ESTA website will guide you through the process. Please note: ONLY a licensed attorney can provide legal advice regarding any questions or issues that arise in filing out or submitting the application for the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA and Visa Waiver Program FAQ’s Frequently Asked Questions.
*The State Department list of visa waiver countries is subject to change at any time.
U.S.A. Work Visas
The United States welcomes thousands of foreign workers in multiple occupations or employment categories every year. These include artists, researchers, cultural exchange participants, information technology specialists, religious workers, investors, scientists, athletes, nurses, agricultural workers and others. All foreign workers must obtain permission to work legally in the United States. Each employment category for admission has different requirements, conditions and authorized periods of stay. It is important that you adhere to the terms of your application or petition for admission and visa. Any violation can result in removal or denial of re-entry into the United States.
Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Worker
A temporary worker is an individual seeking to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. Nonimmigrants enter the United States for a temporary period of time, and once in the United States, are restricted to the activity or reason for which their nonimmigrant visa was issued.
Permanent (Immigrant) Worker
A permanent worker is an individual who is authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.
Students and Exchange Visitors
Students and exchange visitors may, under certain circumstances, be allowed to work in the United States. They must obtain permission from an authorized official at their school. The authorized official is known as a Designed School Official (DSO) for students and the Responsible Officer (RO) for exchange visitors.
Information for Employers & Employees
Employers must verify that an individual whom they plan to employ or continue to employ in the United States is authorized to accept employment in the United States. Individuals, such as those who have been admitted as permanent residents, granted asylum or refugee status, or admitted in work-related nonimmigrant classifications, may have employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status. Other aliens may need to apply individually for employment authorization.
Temporary Visitors For Business
To visit the United States for business purposes you will need to obtain a visa as a temporary visitor for business (B-1 visa), unless you qualify for admission without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.
I want work, study, or live in the United States…
Sometimes the following is required before applying for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate:
• DOL = The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
• USCIS = DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
• SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
• (NA) = Not Applicable – Means that additional approval by other government agencies is not required prior to applying for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
• Canadian NAFTA Professional workers- Visa not required, apply at the U.S. Consulate or at the port-of-entry. It is advisable to apply at the port-of-entry on a weekday and at a time during which your employer can verify your future employment when CBP calls to inquire.
• K visas are for the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen and immigrating or joining a U.S. citizen spouse in the United States while awaiting USCIS approval of Form I-130 for immigrant status. Visit the immigrant visa section of this website for K-1 and K-3 visa information.
Here are some typical visas and what we do before applying for your visa:
Purpose of Travel to U.S. — Visa Type — Prerequisite for the Visa*
Athletes, amateur & professional (compete for prize money only) B-1 (N/A)
Au pairs (exchange visitor) —J— SEVIS
Australian professional specialty E-3 DOL
Border Crossing Card: Mexico BCC (N/A)
Business visitors B-1 (N/A)
Crewmembers —D— (N/A)
Diplomats and foreign government officials —A— (N/A)
Domestic employees or nanny –must accompany a foreign national employer B-1 (N/A)
Employees of a designated international organization, and NATO G1-G5, NATO (N/A)
Exchange visitors —J— SEVIS
Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S. A-2 or NATO1-6 (N/A)
Foreign nationals w/ extraordinary ability in:
Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics —O— USCIS
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professionals:
Chile — H-1B1 — DOL
Singapore — H-1B1 — DOL
International cultural exchange visitors —Q— USCIS
Intra-company transferees —L— USCIS
Medical treatment, visitors for B-2 (N/A)
Media, journalists —I— (N/A)
NAFTA professional workers: Mexico, Canada TN/TD (N/A)
Performing athletes, artists, entertainers —P— USCIS
Physician —J, H-1B —SEVIS
Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor) —J— SEVIS
Religious workers —R— USCIS
Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge
H-1B —DOL then USCIS
Students: academic, vocational— F or M— SEVIS
Temporary agricultural workers H-2A — DOL then USCIS
Temporary workers performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.
H-2B —DOL then USCIS
Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitors — B-2 — (N/A)
Training in a program not primarily for employment — H-3 —USCIS
Treaty traders/treaty investors —E— (N/A)
Transiting the United States —C— (N/A)
Victims of Criminal Activity — U —USCIS
Victims of Human Trafficking —T— USCIS
Visa Renewals – Available in the U.S. (N/A)
1. This chart includes nonimmigrant visas and the associated purpose of travel. However, it should be noted this chart is not a complete list of all purposes of travel or types of nonimmigrant visas. Each visa applicant must meet the eligibility requirements for the type of visa for which he/she is applying, as determined by the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, following U.S. immigration laws. Applying for a visa does not guarantee visa issuance.
2. The U.S. Department of Justice sends records of ALL arrests,
ALL charges, and ALL convictions of ALL persons in the United States of America to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. State Department. This means that your criminal record (regardless of whether it was dismissed and expunged) will show up each and every time you apply for a visa, apply for an immigration benefit, or enter the United States. This database covers records from the 1940’s up to the present.
Below you will find a longer list of Immigrant Visas and Non-Immigrant Visas:
Visa Type and Who May Apply
A-1 Foreign government officials and families: ambassadors, public ministers, career
diplomats, or consular officers
A-2 Foreign government officials and families: other foreign government officials or employees
A-3 Foreign government officials and families: attendants, servants, or personal employees of
A-1 and A-2 classes
B-1 Non-immigrant Temporary visitors: for business
B-2 Non-immigrant Temporary visitors: for pleasure
BCC Non-immigrant Mexico citizens border crossing card and B1/B2 visa
C-1 Non-immigrant Transit aliens: aliens in transit
C-2 Non-immigrant Transit aliens: aliens in transit to the United Nations
C-3 Non-immigrant Transit aliens: foreign government officials and families in transit
Continued Presence (CP) Temporary Issued by federal law enforcement to victims of crime actively cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of a federal crime
Transit aliens: aliens in transit to the United Nations
DV-1 Immigrant Diversity visa: lottery winner
DV-2 Immigrant Diversity visa: spouses and children
E-1 Treaty traders and investors: treaty traders
E-2 Treaty traders and investors: treaty investors
E-3 Treaty traders and investors: Australian Free Trade Agreement
EB-5 Immigrant Immigrant investors
F-1 Non-immigrant Students and exchange visitors: academic students
F-2 Non-immigrant Students and exchange visitors: spouses and children of academic students
F-3 Non-immigrant Students and exchange visitors: Canadian or Mexican national academic commuter students
G-1 Representatives to international organizations and families: principals of recognized foreign
G-2 Representatives to international organizations and families: other representatives of recognized foreign governments
G-3 Representatives to international organizations and families: representatives of nonrecognized or nonmember foreign governments
G-4 Representatives to international organizations and families: international organization officers or employees
G-5 Attendants, servants or personal employees of representatives
GB Temporary visitors: for business, visa waiver, Guam
GT Temporary visitors: for pleasure, visa waiver, Guam
H-1B Dual-intent Temporary workers and trainees: specialty occupations
H-1B1 Dual-intent Temporary workers and trainees: Chile and Singapore Free Trade Agreement
H-1C Dual-intent Temporary workers and trainees: registered nurses participating in the Nursing Relief for
H-2A Temporary workers and trainees: seasonal agricultural workers
H-2B Temporary workers and trainees: seasonal nonagricultural workers
H-3 Temporary workers and trainees: industrial trainees
H-4 Dual-intent Temporary workers and trainees: spouses and children of H-1, H-2, and H-3 workers
I-1 Representatives of foreign information media and families
IH-3 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Orphan resident in a country that is party to the
Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption
(“Hague country”) and adopted by U.S. citizens, whose adoption was finalized outside the U.S.
IH-4 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Orphan resident in a Hague country whose adoption by a
U.S. citizen will be finalized in the citizen’s home jurisdiction.
IR-1 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Spouse of a U.S. citizen. This visa is called CR-1
(for conditional resident) if the marriage is less than 2 years old at the time of application.
The CR-1 visa has to have its conditionality “removed” two years after entry in a separate process.
IR-2 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Unmarried child, under 21 years of age, of a U.S. citizen.
IR-3 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Orphan resident in a non-Hague country adopted by U.S.
citizens, whose adoption was finalized outside the U.S.
Note: In order for an IR-3 visa to be issued, U.S. regulations require that both adoptive parents take part in the overseas adoption and actually meet with the child in the child’s home country.
If only one parent travels to pick up the child, the child will be issued an IR-4 visa instead.
IR-4 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Orphan resident in a non-Hague country whose adoption by a U.S. citizen will be finalized in the citizen’s home jurisdiction.
IR-5 Immigrant Immediate relative of U.S. citizen: Parent of a U.S. citizen; the citizen must be at least age 21.
J-1 Nonimmigrant Students and exchange visitors: exchange visitors
J-2 Nonimmigrant Students and exchange visitors: spouses and children of exchange visitors
K-1 Dual-intent LIFE Act: fiancés/fiancées of U.S. citizens
K-2 Dual-intent LIFE Act: children of fiancés/fiancées of U.S. citizens
K-3 Dual-intent LIFE Act: spouses U.S. citizens, visa pending
K-4 Dual-intent LIFE Act: children of U.S. citizen, visa pending
L-1 Dual-intent Intracompany transferees: principals
L-2 Dual-intent Intracompany transferees: spouses and children of intracompany transferees
M-1 Students and exchange visitors: vocational students
M-2 Students and exchange visitors: spouses and children of vocational students
M-3 Canadian or Mexican national vocational commuter students
N-1 to N-6
NATO officials and families
N-8 and N-9 Immediate relatives of certain SK-3 special immigrants
O-1 Temporary workers and trainees: extraordinary ability or achievement
O-2 Temporary workers and trainees: accompanying and assisting in performance of O-1 workers
O-3 Temporary workers and trainees: spouses and children of O-1 and O-2 workers
P-1 Temporary workers and trainees: internationally recognized athletes or entertainers
P-2 Temporary workers and trainees: artists or entertainers in reciprocal exchange programs
P-3 Temporary workers and trainees: artists or entertainers in culturally unique programs
P-4 Temporary workers and trainees: spouses and children of P-1, P-2, and P-3 workers
Q-1 Temporary workers and trainees: workers in international cultural exchange programs
R-1 Temporary workers and trainees: workers in religious occupations
R-2 Temporary workers and trainees: spouses and children of R-1 workers
S visa [two types: S-5/ S-6] Aliens Assisting Law Enforcement
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Qualifying children present in the U.S. who are declared dependents of a juvenile court and who would be harmed if returned to their home country
T-1 Victims of human trafficking
T-2 Victims of human trafficking: spouse of victim
T-3 Victims of human trafficking: children of victim
T-4 Victims of human trafficking: parents of victim who are children
TD Temporary workers and trainees: spouses and children of NAFTA workers
TN Temporary workers and trainees: NAFTA professional workers
U-1 Victims of qualifying criminal activity, such as rape, murder, manslaughter, child abuse,
domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking
U-2 Victims of qualifying criminal activity: spouse of victim
U-3 Victims of qualifying criminal activity: children of victim
U-4 Victims of qualifying criminal activity: parents of victim who are children
U-5 Victims of qualifying criminal activity: siblings (of minor age) of victim who are children
V-1 LIFE Act: spouses of permanent residents, visa pending
V-2 LIFE Act: children of permanent residents, visa pending
V-3 LIFE Act: dependents of V-1 and V-2, visa pending
WB Temporary visitors: visa waiver, business
WT Temporary visitors: visa waiver, pleasure
The information provided on this website is not legal advice and is not a guarantee that you or your family will receive any of the visas above. The immigration authorities have requirements for visa applicants and these requirements become complicated when you begin to go beneath the surface. Please contact Lobb & Pellegrini, P.C. before you make the mistake of applying for a visa without proper guidance and knowledge.