Immigrant Visa (Green Cards) Vs. Non-Immigrant Visa

Immigrant and nonimmigrant visas

Difference between Immigrant Visa (Green Cards) and Non-Immigrant Visa

Immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are generally the two main visa categories when you are looking at the different types of U.S visas that you may qualify to apply for.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas are known as the Green Cards. As the name indicates, you want to immigrate to the United States and live here permanently and become a resident. You may hear the terms Green Card holder, resident aliens, and permanent residents associated with the Immigrant Visas. Generally speaking, there are four main categories under the immigrant visas:

Each one of the above categories has subcategories and depending on your qualification you may apply for those. For Example, EB-5 is a subcategory of the Employment visa. EB-5 stands for Employment-Based Fifth preference.

Non-Immigrant Visas

Nonimmigrants visas are temporary visas, long term, or short term. Basically, under the nonimmigrant visas, your intention is NOT to permanently live in the U.S and you will return back to your country once your visa term is finished. Some of the nonimmigrant visas are:

For example, for a tourist visa, you apply to get a visa with the intention of being a tourist in the United States and as your visa maybe for 3 or 6 months, you would leave the U.S. before your visa time is over. Some visas such as Student Visas, you are intention is to be a student, so the duration of the visa depends on the length of your program. They are referred to as Duration of Stay (D/S).

When you apply for a nonimmigrant visa, you must be able to clearly show that your intentions are not to permanently live in the U.S and you are qualified for the nonimmigrant visa type that you are applying for. You must provide proof of ties to your country as that is one way to show the U.S. consulate officer that you will return back to your country.

Your visa may be denied if you cannot show that your intentions are not to immigrate to the U.S permanently. However, some visas are dual intend such as the L-1 Visa. This means that while you are applying for a Nonimmigrant visa, you may have the intention to apply for an immigrant visa. This allows you to simultaneously pursue an immigrant status (Green Card) while on the nonimmigrant visa

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