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What types of US visas are there?

With President Trump expected to remove existing visa holders from his travel ban, here is a rundown on what a visa provides and what types are available.

A sample of a U.S. visa, which goes in a traveler's passport.

Wikimedia

President Donald Trump is expected to alter his controversial travel ban, which blocked entry into the U.S. from refugees and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries.

He will remove Iraq from the list and exempt legal permanent residents and existing visa holders from the order as well.

The changes were to be announced Wednesday, but a White House official told CNN that the revamped ban would be delayed following Trump’s mostly well-received first address before Congress Tuesday night.

“We want the (executive order) to have its own ‘moment,” the official said.

Trump’s postponement allows Metro to take a moment of its own give a quick lesson on what a visa is and what types are available in the U.S.

RELATED: What's the difference between an immigrant and a refugee?

What is a U.S. visa?

A visa is a travel document that is placed in a foreign traveler’s passport that is issued by their country of citizenship. It is the first step in that traveler entering the U.S. for a specified status or time period.

What does a visa actually do?

It allows a traveler to request entry into the U.S. from border or Homeland Security officials at ports, airports or land border crossings. While it is not a guarantee of access into the country, it shows that an embassy or consulate determined that traveler is eligible for entry into the U.S.

What kind of visas are there?

There are more than 20 types of visas available, which depend on a person’s purpose of travel, and they fall into two categories: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.

RELATED: Which states see the biggest economic boost from immigration?

What is a nonimmigrant visa?

A nonimmigrant visa indicates travel into the U.S. on a temporary basis. There are dozens of examples of these types of visas, which are often issued to amateur or professional athletes competing for prize money, au pairs, crew members, diplomats or foreign government officials, foreign military personnel, journalists, students, tourists and more.

What is an immigrant visa?

An immigrant visa is issued for those looking to live permanently in the U.S. They are often issued to the spouse, fiancé, fiancée or certain family members of American citizens, employer-sponsored immigrants, religious workers and more.

Does everyone not born in the U.S. need a visa to enter the country?

No. As part of the Visa Waiver Program, citizens or nationals of participating countries may travel to the U.S. and stay for 90 days or less without a visa if they meet specific requirements. Countries include Australia, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and dozens of others.

Exceptions to the waiver program include citizens of participating nations who are also nationals of Iraq, Iran, Sudan or Syria — or have traveled to those countries or Libya, omalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011.

Source: The U.S. Department of State

 

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