Categories of Non-Immigrant US Visas Most Used By Jamaicans

Travel to the United States is one aspect of life about which many Jamaicans are extremely proud. However, there are still many persons who are unclear about the different categories of visas that exist and which one is necessary for what kind of planned travel. Here’s information that should prove useful for you.

Category of US Visa required for different types of travel (listed on left). Sourced from US Department of State website

B: Visitor Visa

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

B-1: Business

This visa is required if the purpose of the planned travel is business-related. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • consult with business associates
  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • settle an estate
  • negotiate a contract

B-2: Pleasure, Tourism and Medical Treatment

This visa is required if your purpose of travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, visiting friends or relatives, rest, or is related to medical treatment, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, or participation by amateurs who will receive no remuneration in musical, sports and similar events or contests:

  • tourism
  • vacation (holiday)
  • visit with friends or relatives
  • medical treatment
  • participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
  • enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)

Student Visas

You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.

F-1: Student Visa

You need this category of visa if you intend to attend:

  • University or college
  • High school
  • Private elementary school
  • Seminary
  • Conservatory
  • Another academic institution, including a language training programme

M-1: Student Visa

You need this category of visa if you intend to attend:

  • Vocational or other recognised non-academic institution, other than a language training programme

J: Exchange Visitor Visa

Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programmes in the United States.

  • Au pair and EduCare
  • Camp counsellor
  • Government visitor
  • Intern
  • International visitor (US Dept of State)
  • Physician
  • Professor and research scholar
  • Short-term scholar
  • Specialist
  • Student, secondary or college/university
  • Summer work travel
  • Teacher
  • Trainee

Source: US Department of State Directory of Visa Categories