Overview of Student and Visitor Visas
It is possible to obtain remain in the United States for an specified period of time for those who wish to visit for a particular purpose. This page will provide a basic overview of these options and links to a more detailed overview of these various options. The categories include B1/B2 business and tourist visas, F1 student visas, and J1 exchange visitor visas.
Click on any of the topics on the right to read a more detailed overview and to find additional articles, resources, case studies and more.
Student and Visitor Visa Categories List:
- B1/B2 Visas for Business or Tourist Visitors: For those who wish to stay in the United States for a limited period of time, the ideal visas is the B1 or B2 visitor visa. B1 status is for those who wish to remain in the US for a business purpose, and B2 is for those who are visiting for non-business purposes. Up to six months of stay may be granted in the US, but the stay may be extended with cause.
- J1 Exchange Visitors: The J-1 visa allows one stay in the country to participate in an exchange program to promote the exchange of knowledge and skills in areas such as the arts, sciences, and education. The Department of State has granted authorization of 1500 exchange programs. J-1 visa status is given to: international visitors entering the US demonstrate specialized skills, Au Pair domestic workers for host families, professional trainees in the medical field, including medical school graduates (foreign physicians), teachers, professors, students, and trainees seeking on-the-job training at companies or agencies. There is a two-year home residency requirement in some J1 programs, but this requirement may be waived.
- F1 Student Visas: For those who wish to study in the United States, there is the F1 student visa. This visa allows foreign nationals to study at community colleges to obtain Associates degrees, universities to obtain Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees, as well as pursue English language studies. After the complete of studies, optional practical training (OPT) employment authorization may be granted.
- Visa Waiver Program (VWP): The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows foreign nationals of specific countries to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without having to obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 so as to do away with excessive barriers to travel, to encourage tourism and business visitation, and to ease the burden on US Embassies and Consulates of work related to visa issuance.