Non Immigrant Visas – Decoded

There are two major categories of visas, we spoke about them in brief in the article dated on September 20, 2017, you can read it here. Today we would like to take a deeper dive into non-immigrant visas and divide them further into subcategories.

Non-immigrant visas are the mainstream visas and are used for everything ranging from recreational visits to business visits. A non-immigrant visa is issued to a person who wishes to be in other country on a temporary basis for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study etc. However, many of these visas do not allow you to live and work in the other country for extended periods of time. Instead, these visas are designed to allow visitors to visit other countries for a specific purposes.

There is a notion among travelers that non-immigrant visas are easier to obtain, which is somewhat true, but still one does have to follow equally criticial processes to obtain a category of non-immigrant visa, what makes it look simpler to obtain is the process time taken to get these visas.

Non-immigrant visas can be divided into multiple subcategories with one special category for NATO personnel. Some of these visa types are discussed in brief here. (Fun fact: US has 20 different types of Non-immigrant visas)

Tourist/Visitor and/or Business

The majority of non-immigrant visas are issued for tourism purpose (temporary visitors for pleasure) across globe, and on quick second position is business visa for visitors engaging in non employment commercial activities. There are single entry, double entry and multiple entry visas in this category. Often countries club these purposes and issues a common visa (eg. B-1/B-2 category) to a traveler.

Temporary Worker

These visas are usually issued to workers with specialty occupations (eg. computer systems analysts and programmers) or to workers performing temporary services or labor when persons capable of performing this work are not available in the destination country. These type of visas are designed to help employers meet an immediate and/or temporary need for labor. There are multiple limitations for these non-immigrant work visas in most of the countries.


Student visas are becoming popular lately among young generation to move to a different country for receiving higher education. There can be sub categories of visas under this type for large countries (eg. J, M, F visas for US).

Visa Waiver Program

Visa waiver program is a program that permits certain travelers/non-immigrants from qualified countries to enter the destination country without a visa (eg. Singapore national can travel to 158+ countries visa free) for a short period of time.

Some non-immigrant visas (particularly those authorizing employment, education, or training) are much more complex as compared to other categories, and may involve hassle some documentation and long applications. Even though processes are tedious, they are simple to follow, only in certain cases it is advisable to take help from experts!

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