Immigrant Visas vs. Nonimmigrant Visas

Insight from a Cupertino Immigration Attorney

United States immigration law provides for a number of different types of visas which can be used to obtain entry in the country. If you are looking to obtain any type of visa, whether it be immigrant or nonimmigrant, you should not hesitate to retain a Cupertino immigration attorney who can help you navigate the laws surrounding your case.

At the Law Office of Timothy D. Widman, their immigration lawyer can work to have your visa processed quickly and easily. Attorney Widman offers initial consultations that allow him to review your situation, evaluate your visa eligibility, and discuss your options with you. The first place to start is to call the firm or fill out a case evaluation form. The firm regulalry assists clients from all across San Jose, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, and all across the Bay Area.

Understanding the Differences

Visas are broken down into two main categories: immigrant and nonimmigrant. An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad allowing a noncitizen to seek admission to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. An immigrant visa is valid for a period of six months from the date of issuance. Once a person uses a valid immigrant visa to enter the United States, they become a lawful permanent resident and are free to pursue a career or build a life here with their families with the possibility of applying for naturalization after three to five years.

A nonimmigrant visa entitles an individual apply for admission to the United States in order to carry out activities of a temporary nature which are consistent with the type of visa that was issued, such as student, tourist, or business traveler. Nonimmigrants are required to depart the United States before the expiration of their authorized period of stay unless a request for change or extension of status is timely filed and approved by DHS.

What types of nonimmigrant visas are there?

There are numerous types of nonimmigrant visas. Most nonimmigrant visa classifications require applicants to demonstrate that they have a foreign residence which they do not intend to abandon and that their stay in the United States will only be temporary.

Some of the most common nonimmigrant visa classifications include:

  • B-1 for business visitors
  • B-2 for visitors for pleasure
  • L-1 for intracompany transferees
  • F-1 academic students
  • H-1B for specialty workers
  • J-1 for exchange visitors

Many countries that maintain close political and economic ties with the United States participate in the Visa Waiver Program. This program enables citizens of these countries to travel to the United States for business or tourist purpose for up to 90 days without having to obtain a nonimmigrant visa. If you are planning to come for another purpose or for a longer stay, however, you will most likely be required to obtain a visa.

To being the process of filing for a nonimmigrant visa, call Attorney Widman today!