Understanding Different Types of Visas: Insights from an Immigration Lawyer


Ednna Meraz Ibarra


Obtaining a visa is a significant step towards achieving your immigration goals, whether it be for work, study, or other purposes. As an immigration lawyer at Reid & Hellyer in Murrieta, CA, I have guided numerous individuals through the visa application process. In this blog post, I will provide insights into different types of visas and their requirements, helping you understand the options available to you.

1. Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas are temporary visas that allow individuals to enter the United States for specific purposes, such as tourism, business, education, or employment. Some common nonimmigrant visa categories include:

  • B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa: For business or tourism purposes
  • F-1 Student Visa: For academic studies
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa: For highly skilled workers
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: For exchange programs
  • L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa: For multinational companies transferring employees

An immigration lawyer can help determine the most suitable nonimmigrant visa category for your specific situation and guide you through the application process.

2. Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas, which start the process to obtain lawful permanent residence and potentially a green card, grant individuals the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Some common immigrant visa categories include:

  • Family-Based Visas: For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or certain family members of permanent residents
  • Employment-Based Visas: For individuals with job offers in the United States
  • Investor Visas: For individuals making substantial investments in U.S. businesses
  • Diversity Visa Lottery: For individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States
  • Special Immigrant Visas: For certain individuals with special circumstances, such as religious workers, juveniles or victims of domestic violence

Each immigrant visa category has specific eligibility requirements and application processes. An immigration lawyer can assess your eligibility and guide you through the steps to obtain an immigrant visa.

3. Dual Intent Visas

Dual intent visas are a category of nonimmigrant visas that allow individuals to temporarily visit the United States for a specific purpose while also having the intention to immigrate in the future. The most common dual intent visa is the H-1B visa for highly skilled workers. Dual intent visas provide flexibility, as they allow individuals to pursue permanent residency while maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status.

4. Special Categories

There are various special visa categories that cater to specific circumstances and individuals with unique qualifications. Some examples include:

  • U Visa: For victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and assisted or are willing to assist law enforcement
  • T Visa: For victims of human trafficking
  • A Visa: For diplomatic and government officials
  • O Visa: For individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics

Each special visa category has its own set of requirements and application processes. An immigration lawyer can provide guidance and assistance if you believe you may qualify for a special visa category.

Consult with an Immigration Lawyer at Reid & Hellyer

Understanding the different types of visas and their requirements is crucial when planning your immigration journey. Reid & Hellyer’s team of experienced immigration lawyers in Murrieta, CA, is here to provide you with the comprehensive legal guidance and support you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards achieving your immigration goals. Learn more.


The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Reid & Hellyer, APC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.