Overview: Coming to the United States
Foreign nationals coming to the United States can be generally classified into 2 classes: Immigrants (or Legal Permanent Residents) and Non-immigrants.
A Non-immigrant is a foreign national who is making a temporary visit to the United States for a specific purpose and for a specified period of time – for business, pleasure, studies, to participate in training or exchange programs, conduct trade or make an investment, work for a specific employer or organization for a specified period, or work for a foreign government or international organization which operates within the U.S. Non-immigrants are required to leave the U.S. when their visas expire, but some non-immigrants may be eligible to adjust to legal permanent resident status.
An Immigrant or Legal Permanent Resident is a foreign national who has been granted legal permanent resident (LPR) or green card status either by way of an approved petition from a qualified family member (family-based immigration), or by a sponsoring employer (employment based immigration), or by lottery under the “permanent diversity program”.
Visit the U.S.
B Visa – Business or Pleasure
Study in the U.S.
F Visa – Academic Students
M Visa – Vocational Students
J Visa – Q Visa – Exchange Visitor’s Program
Invest in the U.S.
E Visa – Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor
Live in the U.S. (See Immigrants/Legal Permanent Residents)
K Visa – Fiancé/Fiancée of U.S. Citizen, and Minor Child/ren
Work in the U.S.
E – International Traders and Investors
H – Temporary Workers and Trainees
L – Intracompany Transferees
O – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
P – Entertainers and Athletes
Q – Participants in International Exchange Programs
R – Religious Workers
NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement
TN – Canadians and Mexicans are classified as Treaty Nationals Under NAFTA
Workers from Foreign Governments & International Organizations
A – Diplomatic and other government officials, and their families and employees
G – Representatives to international organizations and their families and employees
I – Representatives of foreign media and their families
N – Parents and children of the persons who have been granted special immigrant status because their parents were employed by an international organization in the United States
Immigrant Workers (See Permanent Residents – Employment Based)
Immigrants (Legal Permanent Residents)
Spouse, Children and Parents of US Citizens
Spouse and Children of Permanent Residents
LIFE Act – K-3 Spouse of a U.S. Citizen and K-4 Child/ren of K-3 V-1 Spouse and V-2 Child/ren of Legal Permanent Residents
VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
EB–1 Priority Workers
Alien of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
Alien Outstanding Professors or Researchers
Alien Managers and Executives Subject to International Transfer to the United States
EB–2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability
Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business
Aliens Who are Advanced Degree Professionals Qualified Alien Physicians Who Will Practice Medicine in an Underserved Area of the United States
EB–3 Skilled or Professional Workers
Alien Professionals with Bachelor’s Degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
Alien Skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
Alien unskilled workers
EB–4 Special Immigrants
Alien Religious Workers
Employees and Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
Permanent Diversity Program
PERM Labor Certification