Visas are the means by which foreign nationals may be admitted into the U.S. In almost all cases, it is necessary to obtain a visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad prior to entering the U.S. In addition, most visa categories require advance approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
There are two main categories for visas: Immigrant and Non-Immigrant. Non-Immigrant Visas are designed for temporary entry into the U.S. and Immigrant Visas are designed for permanent residency in the U.S., also known as a “green card.”
Being admitted into the United States with an Immigrant Visa can take a long time, sometimes years if the foreign national is on a waiting list. Non-Immigrant Visas can take less time to process and entry into the U.S. is generally quicker.
Descriptions for the main types of visas can be viewed by clicking the links below.