Types of US Visas and Some Interesting Developments

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Types of US visa

An individual who seeks to enter or study in USA must obtain a visa that is placed in his/her passport and it is issued by the traveller’s country of citizenship. The type of visa that you need to travel to this country is defined by US immigration law and relates to the purpose of your travel. The two main categories of the US visas are – Non-immigrant visas (for travelling on a temporary basis) and Immigrant visas (for travelling to live permanently in the country).

Non-immigrant visas are used by people travelling for business purposes, tourists, specialty works, students who wish to study in U.S. for a temporary period to accomplish specific goals. They need to come back to their respective countries once the purpose is achieved. In this article, we will talk about the non-immigrant visa types for students, professionals and their dependents and will also capture the current scenario which might have some impact on interested academic aspirants.

US Visa


Visa Type Purpose
F-1 Academic students (University or college, high school, seminary, conservatory, elementary school or other academic institution or language training program
F-2 Dependents of F-1 Visa holders
H-1B Physicians and highly specialised occupations in fields requiring specific industry expertise
H-3 Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor
H-1C Nurse working in a health professional shortage area
J Exchange visitors
J-1 Au-pairs exchange visitors

Professors, scholars, teachers, intern, summer work travel, trainee as exchange visitors

J-2 Spouses and dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 exchange visitors
M-1 Vocational students
M-2 Dependent of M-1 holder
L-1A, L-1B Temporary intra company transferees who work in managerial positions or have specialized knowledge


Above are some of the major US non-immigrant visa types for your quick reference and knowledge. Now let us come to the current situation of US visas that might impact you as a student.

A lot of students from India go to the US to pursue their higher education every year. So far China had been the largest source of international students followed by India. Students from India and China account for more than 50% of international students, as per reports of the Institute of International Education (IIE) and US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Now, post analysing the current situation, you may think that COVID-19 has created a huge ruckus in the US. True, but let us remind you that this is not going to be there for eternity. Situations are being brought under control, and universities and colleges are opting for some amazing ways of imparting knowledge. You may also be worried about the suspension of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B and L-1 till December 2020. But the silver lining here is that the government exempted the Optional Practical Training (OPT) programme/F-1 visa category from suspension. This exemption will benefit fresh graduates as companies would be open to employing them in place of H-1B workers. Now that’s interesting, right?

While the overall number of Indian students going abroad for higher education is expected to dip slightly, but as per education consultants and experts, the US continues to be the first choice when it comes to preferred study abroad destinations. This demand is due to the number of high-quality institutions it has and the quality of education that the institutions offer. There’s another reason which we all believe in but may not speak about it outright and that is, this phase will pass and we all will be able to overcome the hindrances imposed by this crisis. Once the health impact of this crisis is taken care of, we can all happily go back to leading our normal lives with a little twist called the ‘new normal’.

We hope this article helps you clear some of your doubts and ambiguous thoughts. Please feel free to reach out to us for any queries or assistance regarding our study abroad education loan. All the best!

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