US visa types and visa requirements

Do you want to come to the USA? Are you in the USA and do you need to change your status? Probablemente necesitará una visa de EE.UU.. Read about the different types, find the best one for you, and learn how to apply.

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What is a visa?

A visa is a stamp or document given by a country that says you are allowed to come to that country. It gives you permission to stay and says how long you may stay.

What kinds of visas are there?

The USA has many types of visas, but there are two main categories.


Immigrant visas are for people who want come and live in the United States. You can find a list of immigrant visas on the Department of State website.

Nota importante: On October 4, 2019, the US president made a proclamation about immigrant visas.

The proclamation says that after November 2, 2019, the USA will not give immigrant visas to people who cannot pay for their own healthcare. Immigrants will have to show they have health insurance or another approved healthcare plan. Usted puede aprender más acerca de health insurance in the United States. The new rule does not apply to refugees, solicitantes de asilo, estudiantes, or people with enough money to pay their own medical bills. Puedes read the proclamation for more details about the new rule.


Non-immigrant visas are for people who want to visit. Visitors may be tourists or visiting family members. They may want to come and work or study for a while. You can find a list of non-immigrant visas on the Department of State website.

How do I know which US visa to apply for?

It can be confusing to know how to choose the right visa. The US State Department’s Visa Wizard will help. It asks some basic questions, such as where you are from and why you are coming to the USA. You do not have to enter personal details. Depending on your answers, it will show you what your choices are. The different types of visas have letters to identify them.

How to apply for a US visa

Primero, choose the visa you need from the list. Select the link next to the type of visa. The link will be a letter or letters and often a number, too – for example J or H1-B.The link will take you to a page details and instructions for that visa.

When you select the link to apply for an immigrant visa, you will leave the Department of State website and go to the website of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

State Sponsor of Terrorism countries

The USA has declared four countries to be state sponsors of terrorism. The USA says these four countries help terrorists. Son: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Irán, Sudán, and Syria. If you are a citizen of one of these four countries, you will have to be interviewed

US visa waiver program

Some countries are part of the US Visa Waiver Program. Their citizens do not need a visa to come to the USA. Instead visitors must get approval through a program called Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). You can apply for ESTA if you are a citizen of one of the countries and if you are coming to the USA for 90 days or less for business or as a tourist.

Medios de comunicación social

Your visa application form will ask you to supply your social media information. Usted puede aprender más acerca de why the US State Department wants to know about your social media and what it does with the information.

Nota importante: A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. It allows you to travel to the USA, but you may still be denied entry by a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inmigración. Leer más sobre admission to the USA.

Other US visa status

There are some other categories that are neither immigrant nor non-immigrant, such as military personnel, or people getting medical treatment. Usted puede leer acerca de other visa categories.

Permanent resident

If you have an immigrant visa, you can take the next step and apply to become a permanent resident. Becoming a permanent resident of the USA is a long process, but many visa holders are eligible. Learn more about becoming a permanent resident and getting your green card.

Humanitarian reasons

Some people come to the USA to seek protection. They may be allowed to enter or stay as:

  • an asylee
  • a TPS or DED holder
  • un refugiado
  • a victim of crime

Más información sobre humanitarian programs that allow people to live in the USA.

Aprende más

Otros recursos

This information was prepared to help you understand about visas. It was based on information from the US State Department y Servicios de inmigración y ciudadanía de Estados Unidos. It is updated as often as possible. USAHello no da asesoramiento jurídico, ni cualquiera de nuestros materiales destinados a ser tomados como consejo legal. Si usted está buscando un abogado gratis o de bajo costo o ayuda legal, nosotros te ayudamos encontrar servicios legales gratuitos y de bajo costo.

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