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What's The Difference Between an Immigrant Visa and a Nonimmigrant Visa? | Chicago Immigration Attorney Mario Godoy

What’s The Difference Between an Immigrant Visa and a Nonimmigrant Visa?

Immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas are both granted by the United States to qualified foreign-born individuals who want to come to the United States for an extended period of time. The key difference between an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa is very basic:

Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States.

Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals who want to enter the United States on a temporary basis – as tourists, for medical treatment, on business, for temporary work, to study, or other similar reasons.

Immigrant Visas

Other common names for an immigrant visa holder include permanent resident, immigrant, Green Card holder and resident alien. Individuals holding an immigrant visa have many – but not all – of the rights and privileges of U.S. born citizens. Most people who come to the United States on an immigrant visa come through family immigration.

Relatives of United States citizens may qualify for lawful permanent residency. One of the most common ways for non-citizens to obtain a Green Card is through a family member. However, that does not mean that every relation of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident will qualify for a Green Card.

Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas allow for a temporary stay in the U.S. Each nonimmigrant visa allows its holder to work in the U.S. for a specific period of time and requires an employer to sponsor the individual and hire them after approval and arrival. Qualified nonimmigrant visas allow a foreign national with specific skills, education or expertise that will benefit the employer, the employer’s industry or the U.S, in general, to work in the United States, such as a multinational executive (L-1) an individual in a specialty occupation (H-1B) or with extraordinary ability (O-1).

Business immigration can include both nonimmigrant visas and Green Cards.

Dual Intent Visas

The dual intent visa class allows a nonimmigrant status visa holder to come to the United States with the eventual intention of becoming a permanent immigrant. This allows visa holders such as H-1B professionals to enter the U.S. while simultaneously seeking lawful permanent resident status (Green Card status). E, H-1 and L nonimmigrant categories are also allowed to enter and remain nonimmigrants while simultaneously pursuing permanent resident status.

Learn More: 10 Reasons to Become a United States Citizen 

Are You Qualified to Move to the U.S? Contact an Immigration Lawyer for Help

If you have questions about your eligibility to come to the United States, please contact our office. We can schedule an evaluation or attorney consultation to answer your immigration questions. Contact Godoy Law Office at 630-912-0322, our skilled immigration lawyers in Chicago, Lombard and Oak Brook can answer any questions about immigration and guide you through every step of the process.

Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. 

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