5 Types of US Visa and Their Importance You Must Know!

November 05, 2020

5 Types of US Visa and Their Importance You Must Know!

Weeks spent examining the requirements of different types of US Visas, working out to solve everything, scouring the internet to clear your doubts regarding admission procedure, scholarships and everything else and it all boils down to you getting the answer as – Your visa has been approved!

The importance of a visa is huge in a student’s life. Obtaining your visa is the last and final step of your dream of pursuing higher education from abroad. Once your visa is approved, nothing and no one can stop you from attending your dream college. Although time-consuming, the practice of obtaining a US visa is pretty straightforward. There are various US visa types to consider. 

The first thing that you need to do is fill the DS-160 Visa Application Form online. 

Keep the following documents handy with you before filling out the form:

Passport and Planned Itinerary

Employment History

Digital Photograph

Contact Information

Travel History

The DS-160 form can be accessed at the US Embassy Website. The form requires around an hour to complete. Be cautious while filling out the form and answer all the questions carefully. An alpha-numeric barcode confirmation page will be generated after the completion of the DS-160 form which will be needed for the appointment at the Visa Application Center and the interview at the Embassy.

The next step is scheduling an appointment for an interview with a US embassy or consultancy. Make sure your paperwork is all sorted. Whether or not you would be getting a visa depends on your performance in the interview so be prepared for it. You should be confident and honest while answering the questions asked by the interviewer. 

Make sure that all your documents are clear to prevent any discrepancies. There is a chance that your visa may be denied if the official feels that you are going to the US to live permanently, so make sure that you do not show any such intentions of settling in the US.

US non-immigrant visas have been classified into various categories are here we’ve listed down the types of US Visas

L-1A Visa | US Visa Types

This visa is accessible for an employee of a foreign country who has been working with a company, holding either a managerial or executive position, associated with the prospective US employer for more than a year. This visa type authorizes the employee to enter the US for a limited duration agreeable to the terms of admission as defined by the given visa class.

The L-1A category usually has a 7 year maximum period of stay. L-1A visas are given initially for 3 years and can be extended. It is crucial to consider timing issues when applying for an L-1A visa. The US employer needs to file an I-129 form that is a petition for a nonimmigrant worker on behalf of the employee. You should allow 30 to 90 days for the Citizenship and Immigration Service to process after the documents are filed. After that, it takes a few weeks for the embassy or consulate to issue the visa stamp that allows the foreign national to enter the United States in L-1A visa status.

L-1A visa allows you to apply for the Green Card in the US by filing a parallel EB-1 Multinational Manager or Executive Immigrant Visa case. The EB-1 category would save you the trouble of going through the tedious ‘ Labor Certification Process’ and would allow you to directly file for the I-140 form. This makes it achievable to secure a Green Card in just one year as opposed to more than eight years that it takes for Indians in all other US visa categories. 

L-1B Visa | Types Of Student Visas

This visa is accessible for an employee of a foreign country who has been associated with a company and has specialized knowledge about the company’s products and services. The L-1B category provides a 5 year maximum period of stay. It is originally granted for 3 years and can be extended up to 5 years. The process is the same as an L-1A visa. This category may take 2-3 months as the processing time. Unlike the L-1A visa category, L-1B visa status holders are not able to directly fill the I-140 form. They have to follow the regular process of applying for the Green Card which takes a few years.

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H-1B Visa

This visa is for a temporary worker in a speciality occupation. This category has a 3 year period of stay which can be extended up to 6 years. This is the visa an Indian national typically gets once he/she begins to work full-time in the US. The process of obtaining an H-1B visa incorporates the employer filing a Labor Application Form and then the I-129 form, on behalf of the employee. The H-1B visa category is more flexible as compared to the L-1 visa category. You can change your company and location in the former, while the latter does not allow you to do so.

F-1 Visa | Types Of US Visas

This is the most popular type of student visa and you would be familiar with this. Any student who wishes to pursue higher education from a US accredited university can get an F1 visa. For applying for an F1 visa, in addition to the regular process, you would be asked to submit an approved I-20 form issued by your university and an I-901 SEVIS fee receipt showing that you have paid the SEVIS fee. It is advised that you apply for your F-1 as soon as possible. You should apply at least 2 months before you intend to go to the US. 

Students holding an F-1 visa status can work after the completion of their degree under Optional Practical Training. OPT allows you to work for a period of 12 months but STEM majors have the liberty to extend their OPT for an additional period of 24 months so that sums up to 36 months in total.

J – 1 Visa | Types Of US Visas

The J1 visa category offers foreign nationals an opportunity for professional development as exchange visitors. The process involves filling out the DS-160 form and Form DS-2019 that is a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. You also need to fill the Form I-797C that is a Notice of Action indicating that you have paid the SEVIS fee. You need to provide enough evidence that you have ample funds to cover your expenses abroad and you are visiting the US for a temporary period. The validity of a J-1 visa for an intern is only 12 months while for a research scholar it is 5 years.

Once you know what a US visa is, this list will give you an insight into various types of US visas and the importance of visas.

If you enjoyed this blog on “Different Types Of US Visas And Its Importance Explained! then go ahead and check out some related study abroad blogs down below!


MuskanWitten by Muskan The name is Muskan, so probably was destined to spread smiles wherever I go. Writing is something which has grown on me with each passing day. Follow your passion in saying is a cliché but in doing is serious fun. So here I am to engage with my passion and maybe spread some smiles along the way.
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