If you are a foreign national planning a trip or move to the United States, it is important to understand the type of visa you will need to apply for. There are non-immigrant and immigrant visas, and the type of visa you require depends on whether you are anticipating a short trip or extended stay in the states. 

Being aware of the visa that you need to apply for may help to ensure you avoid any mistakes and will not run into any complications that negatively impact your travel or relocation plans. 

Applying for a business visa 

You may use a business visa for temporary, work-based visits to the U.S. that have a specific time frame. The average length of these visas is less than six months, although up to one year is available. Some events that this may apply to include business meetings or conferences. 

Applying for an immigrant visa 

To make the U.S. your permanent residence, you need to apply for an immigrant visa, which requires a visit to the consular office at the U.S. Department of State. After acceptance of your application, you may enter the U.S. with an immigrant visa; however, if you are already in the states temporarily. then you will need to apply for an adjustment of status to gain a visa for permanent residence. 

Application process 

For a business visa, you need to complete the non-immigrant visa online application and upload a photo of yourself. After this step, you need to gather documentation to bring to a visa interview, including your passport, application fee receipt and the completed application. Information on the purpose of your trip and evidence that supports your plans may also be part of the process. 

For an immigrant visa, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must approve your application for it to go forward, and they recommend waiting at least six months before inquiring about its status. Next, you need to submit the necessary fees and additional documentation, such as civil documents, before finalizing your application.