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Other Non-Immigrant Visas Overview

In addition to student visas, pleasure visas, and temporary worker visas, there are other types of nonimmigrant visas issued by the United States government, each differing from the others in terms of purposes, and the visa allows the foreign national to do while he or she is in the U.S. Failure to obtain the correct visa may result in a foreign national failing to achieve his or her true goals after arriving in the U.S.

Professionals Under NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) led to the creation of a special visa available to citizens of Mexico and Canada who work in a professional occupation identified on the NAFTA list. The applicant must meet specific qualification criteria for the profession and must plan to work for a U.S. employer who has a position open requiring a candidate in that professional area. The applicant's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany him or her to the U.S., but these family members may not accept employment in the country.

Treaty Traders / Treaty Investors

Similar to those for professionals under NAFTA, there are two other nonimmigrant visas for foreign nationals of countries that maintain treaties of commerce or navigation with the United States. To be eligible for a "treaty trader" or investor visa, the applicant must be coming to the United States to carry on "substantial trade" between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop an enterprise in which the applicant has invested (or will invest) a substantial amount of money. These visas have different requirements depending on whether the applicant is a trader or investor.

Other Nonimmigrant Categories

There are numerous other nonimmigrant visa categories, including those for:

  • Temporary religious workers,
  • Representatives of foreign governments,
  • Temporary trainees coming for on-the-job training not available in their home country,
  • Representatives of the foreign press,
  • Associates coming to the United States under provisions of the NATO treaty,
  • People coming to the United States to provide information to state and federal authorities for criminal prosecutions, and
  • Internationally recognized athletes, entertainers and their support staff.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with visa procedures.

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