The Immigrant Vs. Nonimmigrant Visa

When you apply for a visa to enter the United States as a foreign national, you’ll see various potential options. The most significant difference between all these is that some are for immigrant status, while others are for nonimmigrants. What are the details behind these two categories, and how do they pertain to you? We have the answers here in this article.

Immigrant Versus Nonimmigrant Visas

The United States encourages foreign nationals to come to the country for various reasons. As long as visitors don’t threaten the citizens or the economy, they’re welcome to apply for one of the categories of visas. 

However, both your home and the US governments want to know upfront whether your intention behind visiting the US is a temporary stay or a plan to move there permanently. This answer impacts the kind of visa you apply for.

Immigrant visas are given to foreign nationals who hope to make the US their permanent home or consider this move. Nonimmigrant visas are issued to individuals (and, sometimes, their immediate family) who want to visit the US temporarily for business, employment, study, medical care, tourism, or other reasons.

So, which visa should you apply for? The answer depends on the requirements for each and where your needs fit into the criteria. Visa2US can help you understand the nuances of the various visa types to ensure you’re applying for the correct category.

Breaking Down the Immigrant Visa

Immigrant visas were established to help foreign nationals who want to live and work gainfully in the US permanently. There are multiple ways to gain this type of status, but typically, the petitioner is sponsored by a relative or employer. 

The sponsor applies with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), completes the correct forms, and pays the appropriate fees. However, workers with extraordinary abilities, investors, refugees, and other special immigrants can petition for themselves.

Once the application is received, it is forwarded to the US Consulate or Embassy for continued processing and to determine if the visa should be issued. The beneficiary must present the approved visa at the port of entry before entering the US and before the visa’s validity period expires. When the immigrant visa and paperwork are reviewed and endorsed by a Customs Border Patrol officer, the immigrant becomes a lawful resident.

Nonimmigrant Visas

It’s understandable that the process of obtaining an immigrant visa is complicated and lengthy. Moving to the US permanently is a big step, and the US and foreign national’s home countries want to ensure it’s done for legitimate reasons.

But getting a nonimmigrant visa, while still challenging, isn’t always as highly scrutinized. These are provided for foreign nationals who wish to enter the US temporarily. A nonimmigrant visa is the best option when you’re heading out of your country to travel for tourist purposes, medical treatment, or work and business.

There are multiple nonimmigrant visa categories. Each one is defined by a legal explanation backed by immigration laws. Choosing the right visa is vital, and it is wise to consult with immigration experts like Visa2US before you start filing paperwork and paying fees.

Keep in mind that a visa’s issuance doesn’t immediately guarantee that you’ll get to enter the US. The approved visa shows the officer at the port of entry that the application was reviewed by USCIS and an American embassy or consulate, and the petitioner was found eligible for entrance. Ultimately, the Customs and Border Patrol officer at the entry port has the final determination as to your eligibility.

What’s Next?

Applying for and receiving a visa of any type is a lengthy and complicated process. As soon as you are seriously considering heading to the United States, contact Visa2US to find out what you’ll need to do as you prepare for the application.

Our experts are available 24/7/365 and ready to answer all your questions confidentially. Working with us helps streamline the application, reduces the stress of government paperwork, and gets you to your goal faster.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

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Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

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