To receive a U.S. immigration visa, applicants must obtain an approved petition, undergo National Visa Center processing, pay the required fees and complete a personal interview, according to the U.S. Department of State. Visitor visa applicants complete an online application, pay a $160 fee and complete a personal interview.
U.S. immigration visa applicants must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative, U.S. lawful permanent resident or a prospective employer, notes the U.S. Department of State. U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, children, parents and siblings. They can also sponsor fiancées and foreign children who they are in the process of adopting. U.S. employers can sponsor specific types of skilled workers they intend to hire for permanent positions. Immigration-visa applicants with certain high-demand job skills can sponsor themselves. The United States also offers diversity visas, which apply to countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
Visitor visas do not require sponsorship or a petition, explains the U.S. Department of State. Visitors visas are issued to foreigners entering the United States for purposes of tourism, vacations, holidays, medical treatment, participation in amateur sports and music events and enrollment in a short recreational course, such as a two-day cooking class.