In U.S immigration, there is a clear difference between immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. If you intend to permanently work and reside in the United States, you will be issued an immigrant visa while if you are temporarily visiting the U.S. for medical treatment, tourism, school, temporary work, and other reasons, you will be granted a nonimmigrant visa.
The Immigrant visa is issued to foreigners by the U.S. government who intend to make the United States a permanent home and the U.S government recognizes only 32 categories of immigrant visas. Permanent resident, green card holder, immigrant, and resident alien are some of the terms used to refer to an immigrant visa.
Furthermore, individuals with immigrant status are permitted to work and reside within the United States and are entitled to most of the privileges and rights enjoyed by the citizens of the country.
While a lot of people are sponsored by either a family member or employer in the United States in a bid to acquire an immigrant via, others may become permanent residents via other means such as refugee or asylum status or other humanitarian programs.
Truthfully, obtaining immigrant status can be a long and complex process usually because the government pays more attention to it, and this also depends on the type, this is why choosing the right kind of immigrant visa before you apply to avoid delays and complications is very important.
Furthermore, immigrant visas also have expiration dates, however, unlike nonimmigrant visas, you will not be required to exit the country to renew things. As of the time of writing this article, green cards have an expiration time of ten years, nevertheless, you should expect that building up your life here to qualify for citizenship can take a longer time.
Foreigners are issued nonimmigrant visas for the purposes of a temporary visit to the United States by the U.S. government on the condition that the visa holder will exit the United States within a stated time frame and you must do so to avoid getting into trouble thereby jeopardizing your chances of gaining entrance into the country in the future.
There are numerous reasons why people visit the U.S, it could be for business, tourism, school, or temporary work.
In addition to this, the government of the United States recognized only twenty categories of nonimmigrant visa classifications and each type of them has a deadline and instructions on whether you can file for an extension.
Also, we must note that if you enter the U.S. in nonimmigrant status, you are restricted to the reason or activity for which you were permitted to enter. Someone with a student visa, for instance, must continually get enrolled in school to keep within the terms of the visa.
Another point worthy of note is that most nonimmigrant visas are issued only to applicants who can prove their intentions to go back to their home country at the end of their reason for visiting.
The Meaning Of Dual Intent Visas
Most times once it appears like you have the intentions of visiting the U.S. to obtain immigrant status, your visa may be denied. Also, if you come to the United States to upgrade your status to permanent resident status, you may be considered to be violating the terms of your nonimmigrant visa.
However, the good news is that there is a class of visas that permits this “dual intent,” coming to the U.S in a nonimmigrant status with the possibility or intention of becoming a permanent immigrant.
Only E, L nonimmigrant categories and H-1 are currently permitted to enter and stay as nonimmigrants while seeking to obtain permanent resident status simultaneously.
The applicant must be able to prove family and employment-related ties to their country of origin when applying for a nonimmigrant visa because in the absence of these ties, the visa officer from a U.S. consulate may consider your visa application to be just a pretext for an intent to permanently stay in the United States and this will result to denying the application.
In conclusion, we hope that this article has clearly explained the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas.