Business Visas

B-1: Visitors for Business
Includes foreign nationals who intend to conduct business for a foreign employer. A B-1 visitor may not displace an American worker, or receive compensation from an American source. The initial maximum period of admission is one year, with renewals granted as necessary to complete the purposes of the
trip.

B-2: Visitors for Pleasure
Tourists and relatives visiting family members in the United States. B-2 nonimmigrants are not permitted to work in the United States. Persons coming primarily for the purpose of studying are not properly classifiable as B-2 nonimmigrants. The initial period of admission is usually six months, with a maximum total stay of one year.

C-1: Transit Aliens
A transit alien is someone passing through the United States on the way to a third country. A maximum period of 29 days is permitted.

D: Alien Crewmen
This class includes vessel or aircraft workers required for normal operation of the ship or plane. Crewmen are admitted to the United States for up to 29 days.

E-1: Treaty Traders
A treaty trader is someone who enters the United States primarily to carry on trade between the United States and a foreign country that has signed a treaty of commerce and navigation (or its equivalent) with the United States. The treaty trader must carry a passport from the country he or she is representing. The initial period of admission is one year. Extensions of stay are possible.

E-2: Treaty Investors
A treaty investor is also a national of a foreign country with which the United States has signed a treaty of commerce and navigation, or its equivalent. However, a treaty investor is someone directing and developing a business in which he or she has invested a substantial amount of capital. Top managers and executives of firms that have made substantial investments in qualifying enterprises may also qualify, as may "essential" employees. A one year initial period of admission is permitted, with extensions available in appropriate circumstances.

F: Academic Students
An F-1 student is admitted to pursue a full course of study at a school or institution approved by the INS to accept foreign students. An F-1 student must maintain a home in a foreign country to which he\ or she will return upon completion of studies. This category also includes the student's spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old (known as "F-2"s).

G: Representatives to International Organization
This class includes persons accredited by their governments to represent it to an international organization such as the United Nations, World Bank, or Red Cross.

H-1B: Temporary Professional Workers
H-1B's are persons coming to the United States to engage in "specialty occupations." This includes all professionals holding bachelor's degrees and some persons who can show professionalism based on a combination of schooling and appropriate work experience. This class requires a prearranged job, which may be temporary or permanent in nature, in a professional field.

H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Workers
An H - 2A petitioner must establish that the employment proposed in the certification is of a temporary or seasonal nature. Employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle or a specific aspect of a longer cycle, and requires labor levels far above those necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary
nature where the employer's need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in
extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than one year.

H-2B: Temporary Non-Professional Workers
These classes include skilled and unskilled workers who lack bachelor's degrees who are coming to the United States temporarily to perform jobs that are temporary or seasonal in nature. This class requires prearranged employment and a certification from the U.S. Labor Department that U.S. workers are unavailable for the job. The initial period of admission is authorized by the Labor Department and INS, and is not to exceed one year. Extensions are available in limited circumstances for a maximum period of three years.

H-3: Trainees
An H-3 trainee is a foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to engage in training not available in his or her home country, who intends to use this training outside of the United States. A trainee may not engage in productive employment if a U.S. resident would be displaced. The H-3 visa is available for a maximum of two years.

H-4: Spouses and Children
Spouses and children of H-1, H-2 or H-3 nonimmigrants are generally admitted for the duration of the status of the primary visa holder. H-4's are not permitted to work in the United States.

I: Journalists
This category allows foreign nationals to be admitted to the United States, upon a basis of reciprocity, as a bona fide representative of a foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media, for a period of one year. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are included in this class.

J: Exchange Aliens
This category includes foreign nationals who will participate in a program approved by the U.S. Information Agency. Participants include students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors, research assistants, specialists, or leaders in a field of specialized knowledge. Certain exchange visitors are required by law to return to their home country for a period of two years to impart the knowledge they gained in the United States before they may re-apply to enter the United States. Spouses of J-1 nonimmigrants are issued J-2 visas and are sometimes permitted to work in the United States.

K: Fiancés of U.S. Citizens
This class covers those engaged to be married to U.S. citizens who are coming to the United States solely to conclude a valid marriage with the petitioner within 90 days after entry, and the minor children of such persons. The period of admission is 90 days, and is not subject to extension.

L: Intra-company Transferees
The L-1 category is for persons coming to the United States to work temporarily for the U.S. branch, subsidiary or affiliate of their foreign employer. To qualify for this category, a person must have worked for the foreign affiliate for at least one year immediately prior to transfer to the United States. This class includes only executives, managers and employers with "specialized knowledge" who will fill a position in one of these categories in the United States. The initial period of admission is three years. Extensions are possible up to a total of five years for specialized knowledge personnel and seven years for managers or executives. The spouse and children of L-1's may obtain derivative status as L-2's for the duration of the principal L-1 alien's status.

M: Vocational Students
The M-1 category includes persons coming to the United States to study at a vocational or other non-academic school, other than a language training program, that has been authorized by INS to allow foreign students to attend. M-1 students are generally not permitted to work, but may obtain a limited period of "practical training." Spouses and minor children are classified in the M-2 category.

N: Relatives of United Nations Employees
This class includes certain parents and children of foreign nationals who have worked for international organizations in the United States.

O: Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
The O-1 visa category is for foreign nationals of "extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education,business and athletics, as demonstrated by "sustained national or international acclaim." This class requires prior consultation with unions, management groups and other outside sources. Assistants to the principal nonimmigrant are admissible as O-2's. Spouses and minor children of O-1 and O-2 nonimmigrants are admissible in the O-3 class.

P: Performing Athletes and Entertainers
This visa category includes three subcategories of persons coming to perform in athletic or entertainment events. The P-1 class includes athletes performing as individuals, or groups and entertainers performing as a group recognized at an international level. The P-2 class includes athletes and entertainers entering to perform under reciprocal exchange programs. The P-3 class includes those entering to perform in a culturally unique program. The P-1 and P-3 classes require consultation
with U.S. unions to determine eligibility. Spouses and minor children of P-1, P-2 and P-3's are admissible as P-4's.

Q: Cultural Exchange Visitors
This class includes persons participating in designated international cultural exchange programs. Sponsors of such programs must employ at least five persons, including the foreign national. The maximum admission period permitted is fifteen months.

R: Religious Workers
This class includes ministers, professional religious workers and other religious workers entering the United States to work at an affiliated U.S. entity, and who have worked for the religious organization abroad for at least two years before application. The initial period of admission is three years.

TN: Canadian and Mexican Professionals
TN status is for Canadian and Mexican persons engaged in activites at a prefessional level. The TN is similar to the H-1B visa, but has no numerical limitation, no limit on the number of permitted renewals, and covers a wider range of job categories. The TN visa can often be issued right at the border port of entry as well, and is the best option for any Canadian or Mexican who can qualify.