The C-1 visa is intended for travelers with "immediate and continuous transit through U.S." This visa is often held by crewmen. A C-1 visa holder cannot change status to another non-immigrant visa category.
How to Apply:
To apply for a C-1 visa, you must have the following documents:
- A completed visa application Form DS-156. Separate application for each family member is required.
- Two recent photographs, 1.5 inches square (37mm x 37mm), of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
- A passport, valid for travel to the US for at least six months longer than the intended visit.
You must also prove that you:
- Are entering the US only to pass through in transit
- Have enough money to reach the proposed destination
- Have a ticket or other means to reach the proposed destination
- Have permission to enter the country of final destination, if applicable
- Will not stay more than 29 days
The C-2 visa allows foreign nationals to travel to the United Nations. C-2 visas are valid for up to 29 days. C-2 Visa holders may not change their status.
Foreign government officials traveling through the US to a foreign destination may apply for the C-3 visa. The applicant's family members and personal employees may also apply for the C-3 visa. C-3 visa holders may not accept employment while under this status. The C-3 visa is valid for up to 29 days.
Crew persons serving in good faith for normal operations aboard all types of vessels (except non-US based fishing vessels) docked temporarily in the US may apply for the D-1 visa. This classification includes musicians, stewards, technicians, chefs and others employed by owner of vessel or concessionaire. The D-1 visa may be granted for up to a 29-day maximum period of admission. A D visa holder may not extend or change status.
Crew persons serving in good faith in any capacity required for normal operations and service aboard US-based fishing vessels temporarily visiting Guam. Like the D-1, this classification includes musicians, stewards, technicians, chefs and others employed by owner of vessel or concessionaire. The D-2 visa may be granted for up to a 29- day maximum period of admission. A D visa holder may not extend or change status.
The I visa is vital for connecting all nations as the international community increases in globalization. The I visa is available to members of the media including reporters, freelance journalists, and film crew who intend to work in the US solely for a foreign media outlet or a US-based subsidiary of a foreign media company. The admission period is for the duration of employment.
I visas are only available to those who are based in their home country and intend to return home after their job has been completed. As an I visa applicant, you must prove that:
- Your stay in the US will be temporary
- You will have sufficient funds to stay in the US
- You intend to return to your home country after the work has been completed
The J-1 visa is designed to provide educational and cultural exchange programs, and to promote the sharing of knowledge, skills and education in the arts and sciences. This visa enables people to participate in exchange programs in the US.
J-1 visa holders include students, trainees involved in on-the-job training, visiting scholars and researchers, and consultants.
As a J-1 visa applicant, you must prove that:
- You are a professor or research scholar, trainee or intern, college or university student, teacher, nonacademic specialist, foreign physician, camp counselor, au pair or summer student in a travel/work program
- You intend only a temporary stay in the US
- You will have sufficient funds to stay in the US
- You intend to return to your home country after the visit
- Your stay in the US is approved by a J-1 program recognized by USCIS
Trainee programs are generally limited to a maximum of 18 months except for programs in agriculture, hotel and tourism which are generally limited to a maximum of 12 months. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old may apply for entry under J-2 status. Dependents of J-1 visa holders may work in the US if they can prove they can cover their own expenses. Certain J-1 exchange visitors must return to their home country for two years at the end of their program before they can apply for another nonimmigrant or immigrant status.
Life Acts and Amendments
The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act and its amendments, effective April 1, 2001, created new categories of nonimmigrant visas including the V visa group, the K-3 Visa, and the K-4 Visa. These visas have helped ease the lengthy wait for thousands of individuals and have reunited families separated during the immigration approval process.
The categories under this act allow the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to spouses, children and, in some cases, grandchildren of both lawful permanent resident aliens and spouses of US citizens. Beneficiaries may apply for admission to the US as non-immigrants and remain in the US until the visa petition is approved or denied.
The LIFE Act is aimed at spouses and children for whom an immigrant visa is not available as a result of processing delays or openings due to yearly visa limitations.
V visas are for spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of legal permanent residents who filed a visa petition for the spouse or child on or before December 21, 2000 who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The visa petition has been pending for three or more years.
- The petition has been approved but three or more years have elapsed and a visa number is unavailable.
- A visa number is available but the US consulate has not granted the visa.
V-1 visas are issued to spouses, V-2 visas are issued to children, and V-3 visas are issued to the children of V-1 or V-2 visa holders.
To be classified as V-3, applicants must prove they are children of V-1 or V-2 status individuals and eligible for visa issuance under all applicable immigration laws.
V visas are only available for petitions filed on or before December 21, 2000 and will cease when there are no more eligible candidates. V visas are only valid for up to two years.
The Q-1 visa supports international cultural exchange including training and sharing cultural traditions of the participant's native country in the US. Q-1 visa holders must be at least 18 years old and have the ability to convey their home country's history and culture to a US audience. Their US sponsor must agree to pay them the same rate equivalent to a US employee.
The Q-1 application must include proof that the employer/sponsor:
- Intends to provide "an overview of customs, history, tradition, and cultural attributes of the participants home country"
- Intends to make the program available to the public for purpose of intercultural exchange between the visa older and American public
- "Has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS"
- Can provide a working environment comparable to a US employee providing the same services
- Is capable of properly compensating the Q-1 visa holder for his/her work