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U.S. Visas Information


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There are two types of visas—nonimmigrant and immigrant.

A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to enter the United Sates temporarily for a specific purpose. Most students enter the United States on nonimmigrant visas. Nonimmigrants come to the United States for a temporary period of time, and once in the country, are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visa was issued. Any visa designated by a letter in front of a number (for example, F-1, J-1, B-2) is a nonimmigrant visa.

Anyone on an immigrant visa has permission to remain indefinitely in the United States and, generally speaking, has the same rights and privileges as a citizen. While permanent residents or immigrants can become citizens, there is no requirement that they do so.

Most international students and scholars and their dependents are nonimmigrants and hold one of the following visa statuses:

  • F-1: For individuals conducting full-time study at an authorized institution in the United States.
  • F-2: For spouses and children of F-1 visa holders.
  • J-1: For individuals participating in educational and cultural exchange programs. This status permits an individual to enter the United States for study, teaching, or training.
  • J-2: For spouses and children of J-1 visa holders.

Each year, the Diversity Lottery (DV) Program makes 55,000 immigrant visas available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. If you receive a visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program you will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

All U.S. Embassies and Consulates of the world are listed online.

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