Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant Visas

Prior to entering the United States, foreign nationals must apply for and be granted a visa, either an immigrant visa or a nonimmigrant visa. The key difference between an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa is the foreign national’s intent when entering the United States. Immigrant visas are issued to individuals who wish to live permanently in the United States and are most commonly obtained through the sponsorship of specific family members or an employer. Nonimmigrant visas on the other hand, are issued to individuals who only wish to stay in the United States for a short, temporary period and who still maintain a permanent residence outside the United States.

Common nonimmigrant visas include tourist or visitor visas, student visas, and temporary worker visas and are only issued for a set period of time and for a specific purpose. However, it is very important to understand not only the specific purpose for which a nonimmigrant visa is granted, but also the specific immigration laws that apply to each visa category related to the ability of a foreign national to accept employment in the United States, the maximum period of time the foreign national may remain in the United States and under what conditions, and potential consequences that could affect the foreign national’s immigration status. Any violations of status while in the United States could not only prevent a foreign national from remaining in the United States, but could also make it difficult or impossible to return to the United States in the future.

Every week this blog will explore a different nonimmigrant visas providing information about each one. For more information regarding nonimmigrant visas, please contact the law firm of RaslanPla & Company to speak to an immigration attorney.

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