What Is the Non-Immigrant (Temporary) Visa


For those who intend to visit the United States temporarily, either for work, pleasure, or educational purposes, it is important to understand the requirement of obtaining a non-immigrant visa. The non-immigrant visa, also known as temporary visa, is a document granted to foreigners by the US government to enter the country for a specific time period and purpose. This article will provide a thorough explanation of the non-immigrant visa, its types, its application process, and its requirements.

Types of Non-Immigrant Visas

There are numerous types of non-immigrant visas, and each category has its specific purpose. Here are some of the most common types of non-immigrant visas:

B-1 or B-2 visa: The B-1 visa is for business visitors, while the B-2 visa is for tourists. These visas are usually granted for a period of six months and can be extended for up to six additional months.

F-1 visa: This visa is for foreign students who wish to study in a US institution. The F-1 visa allows students to study full-time and work part-time on campus.

H1-B visa: This visa is for skilled foreign workers in areas such as engineering, science, and technology.

J-1 visa: This visa is for individuals participating in exchange programs, such as visiting scholars, students, or trainees.

L-1 visa: This visa is for employees of a multinational corporation who are being transferred to a US office.

O-1 visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.

P visa: This visa is for athletes, artists, and entertainers who are coming to the US for a specific event or performance.

R visa: This visa is for religious workers, such as ministers and priests.

Application Process for Non-Immigrant Visas

The process of applying for a non-immigrant visa is quite straightforward, and it usually begins with filing an online application through the US Department of State website. Here are the steps involved in obtaining a non-immigrant visa:

1. Fill out the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS 160) form on the US Department of State website.

2. Pay the visa fees, which vary depending on the type of visa.

3. Schedule an interview at a US embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country.

4. Attend the interview and provide the necessary documents, such as a passport, travel itinerary, and proof of financial support.

5. Wait for the visa to be processed. Processing time varies, and it can take up to several weeks or months.

Requirements for Non-Immigrant Visas

In order to qualify for a non-immigrant visa, applicants must meet certain requirements. Generally, non-immigrant visas require that the individual:

1. Intends to leave the US after the temporary stay.

2. Has a valid reason for the temporary visit, such as for work, education, tourism, or medical treatment.

3. Has sufficient funds to cover their stay in the US.

4. Has no criminal record or history of overstaying a visa in the US.

5. Meets other specific requirements based on the type of visa being applied for.


Q: How long can I stay in the US on a non-immigrant visa?

A: The length of stay varies depending on the type of visa. Most non-immigrant visas allow for a maximum stay of six months, but certain visas can be extended for a longer period of time.

Q: Can I work on a non-immigrant visa?

A: It depends on the type of visa. Some visas, such as the H1-B visa and F-1 visa, allow for employment in the US, while others, such as the B-1 or B-2 visa, do not.

Q: Do I need to hire an attorney to apply for a non-immigrant visa?

A: It is not required, but it may be helpful to consult with an attorney who specializes in immigration law to ensure the application is properly prepared and submitted.

Q: Can I enter the US on a non-immigrant visa with a criminal record?

A: It depends on the severity and nature of the offense. Some offenses may make it difficult to obtain a visa or enter the US, while others may not have any impact.


The non-immigrant visa is an essential requirement for foreigners entering the US temporarily. With an understanding of the types of visas available, the application process, and the requirements for obtaining a visa, foreign visitors can make their trip to the US a successful and memorable experience.

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