(PLAY THE VISA ALPHABET GAME: see INStructions below)
It has been said that "visas are like an alphabet soup. There is a visa for every purpose and a purpose for every visa."
"Nonimmigrant" visas are generally issued to foreigners who intend to stay in the United States temporarily in order to accomplish a certain goal, objective, or purpose. Afterward, it is expected that the alien visa holder will depart from the United States. Foreigners who wish to permanently reside in the United States should apply for an "immigrant" visa, which is somewhat more difficult to obtain that a nonimmigrant visa. Below is a list of nonimmigrant visas under the heading "The Visa Alphabet."
At present, the Visa Alphabet has one letter designations followed by numbers (except for visas "I," "NATO," and "Q") up to the letter "S". Then, the Visa Alphabet abruptly changes form and employs two letter designations starting with "TC." The two letter designations, unlike the one letter designations, appear to actually represent certain words. ("TC": Trade Canada; "TN": Trade NAFTA; "TD": Trade Dependent). The designation "TN" is somewhat controversial in that it is an acronym within an acronym. The "N" represents "NAFTA" which intern represents "The North American Free Trade Agreement."
Two letter designations resume at "WB" (Waiver Business) followed by "WT" (Waiver Tourist). However, it is absolutely crucial to note that "WB" and "WT" are not visa designations and should not be considered as part of the Visa Alphabet. To the contrary, they are nonvisa designations which indicate that the alien did not need a visa to enter the United States. The reason for this is that the foreigner comes from one of the countries (Denmark, Norway, Finland, Monaco, etc.) that does not have a history of illegal immigration to the United States. ("WB" and "WT" are included on the list below merely as footnotes to the Visa Alphabet.)
There are thus far no visas beginning with the letters Y or Z. ( 8 C.F.R. § 214.1)
The only one letter visa designation that clearly appears to represent a word is the visa "R" which is granted to Religious workers. But this may have been a coincidence. There is some speculation that the visas "P" and "A" were so designated because they are used respectively by Performers and Ambassadors. But this too is the subject of intense debate.
The nonimmigrant visa "S" is surrounded by an aura of mystery and intrigue. Granted to informants and witnesses in matters involving crime and counter terrorism , it is the only nonimmigrant visa that is followed by a number series which commences at the number "5." Holders of these visas often need to keep their identity and location a secret. It may have been felt that the need for anonymity would best be served by granting the holder a visa which starts with an unpredictable number. If captured and interrogated about his identity, the holder could simply reply (with a thick Scottish accent): "S-5."
Without cheating, how many visas can you identify by looking only at the symbol below? When you have mastered the Visa Alphabet, you will be ready to play the Visa Alphabet game.
THE VISA ALPHABET GAME: (2-4 players)
On 3x5 cards, write the visa symbols on one side and leave the other sides blank. Place the stack of cards on a square (or round) table with the blank sides facing up. Player one draws a card. He shows it to the other players. He then must identify (i.e. explain/define) the visa on the card he has drawn. The next player going clockwise draws a card and does the same. When a player cannot correctly identify the visa on the card he has drawn, he must leave the game. The last player remaining in the game wins.
VARIATION FOR ADVANCED PLAYERS
The first player who cannot correctly identify the visa on the card he has drawn must not only leave the game but must also leave the United States.
THE VISA ALPHABET
A-1: ambassadors, public ministers, career diplomats, consular officers and immediate family.
A-2: other officials and employees accredited by a foreign government and immediate family.
A-3: attendants, servants, and personal employees of the above categories.
B-1: business visitors (non media).
B-2: visitors for pleasure (tourists).
C-1: a foreign traveler in immediate and continuous transit through the United States.
D-1: crewmen on board a vessel who land temporarily in the U.S.
D-2: crewmen on a fishing vessel with home port in the U.S. who intend to land temporarily in Guam.
E-1: treaty traders.
E-2: treaty investors.
F-1: students (in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools and language training programs).
F-2: immediate family members of aliens on an F-1.
G-1: designated principal resident representatives of a foreign government that is a member of an international organization.
G-2: other accredited representatives of such foreign governments.
G-3: representatives of foreign governments who would quality for G-1 and G-2 status except for the fact that their governments are not members of international organizations entitled to privileges and immunities under the International Organizations Immunities Act.
G-4: officers and employees of such international organizations.
G-5: attendants, servants and personal employees of any such representatives.
H-1B: aliens in specialty occupations or fashion models of distinguished merit; certain department of defense employees.
H-1C: nurses in underserved areas.
H-2A: temporary agricultural workers.
H-2B: temporary workers for non agricultural positions.
H-3: temporary trainees.
H-4: immediate family members of aliens on an H-1, H-2 or H-3.
I: Representatives of the foreign press and their family members.
J-1: Exchange visitors.
J-2: Immediate family members of aliens on a J-1.
K-1: Fiancé(e)s of U.S. coming to the U.S. get married. (one of the few visas where the holder does not have to claim an intention to remain in the U.S. temporarily); spouses and minor unmarried children of U.S. citizens who have an I-130 petition on their behalf.
L-1: intracompany transferees who work for a subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of a foreign company in a position that is managerial, executive, or who have specialized knowledge.
L-2: immediate family of aliens on an L-1.
M-1: vocational and non-academic students.
M-2: immediate family of aliens on an M-1.
N-8: parents of children who have been accorded special immigrant status.
N-9: children of parents who have been accorded special immigrant status or are on an N-8.
NATO-1 through NATO-7: aliens coming to the U.S. under provisions of the NATO treaty.
O-1: aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
O-2: support staff of aliens on an O-1.
O-3: immediate family of aliens on an O-1 or O-2.
P-1: athletes and group entertainers of international recognition and integral support staff.
P-2: entertainers, individually or as a group, on an exchange program.
P-3: artists and entertainers, individually or as a group, who perform or teach under a program that is culturally unique.
P-4: immediate family of aliens on a P-1, P-2, and P-3.
Q-1: international cultural exchange visitors.
Q-2: immediate family of aliens on an Q-2.
R-1: ministers and other religious workers.
R-2: immediate family of aliens on an R-1.
S-5: witnesses and informants in criminal investigations and prosecutions.
S-6: witnesses and informants in matters involving counter-terrorism.
S-7: immediate family of aliens on an S-5 or S-6.
TC: Canadians "professionals" pursuant to the Free Trade Agreement (pre NAFTA).
TN: Canadian or Mexican "professionals" pursuant to NAFTA.
TD: immediate family of aliens on a TN.
U: victims of violence (created by the "Victims of Trafficking And Violence Protection Act of 2000")
V: spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents
WB: aliens here for business pursuant to the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.
WT: aliens here for pleasure pursuant to the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.