US Temporary Visas

Learn about non-immigrant or temporary visas

Based on the laws of Immigration, there are two main categories of visa types for the individuals seeking entry into the United States. Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who request for permanent residence in the US, whereas non-immigrant or temporary visas authorize a stay for a limited period of time with a specific purpose on temporary basis. The non-immigrant visas are much easier to obtain when compared to immigrant visas and some of the temporary visa categories are limited to a specific number each year.

Requirements & Categories of Temporary Visas:

Basically, individuals planning to enter US on temporary visas to study or work may apply directly to the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country with necessary documents and authorizations as per the requirements of immigration law.

  • Nonimmigrant visa applicants must prove to the consular officer that they possess the required qualifications for the particular type of visa sought and has enough economic ability to support themselves during their stay in US.
  • There are many sub-categories of temporary visas that are classified on variety of reasons and intentions for travelling to US which includes tourism, medical treatment, business, studies, professional work, representing government work etc.
  • All temporary visas are identified by a letter and number combinations and some of the most popular categories are F-1 (academic or language student), B-1 (business), B-2 (tourism or medical treatment) and H-1B (specialty worker) etc.

Limitations on the Temporary Visas:

The activities of the individuals who enter the US on temporary visas is always limited and specified. For instance if a person enters US on student visa he is allowed to study in the assigned college but not eligible to work outside the campus.

  • All temporary visas have expiration date according to the immigration law and can be extended only a certain number of times. However, individuals staying in United States on non-immigrant visas can apply for a change of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • To extend the stay beyond the expiration date specified on I-94, authorization must be obtained from USCIS requesting for the extension of the visa for further stay.
  • The issuance of temporary visas do not guarantee entry into the United States because at the port-of-entry the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will conduct a check and may reject the entry on the basis of security reasons. Moreover, the visa expiration date shown on the visa does not reflect the length of stay in US since both the length and entry are determined by the CBP at the ports.
  • If the temporary visa is issued as multiple entries then the person can enter US any number of times within the expiration date where as if the visa has single entry then entering multiple times into US is not allowed.