Know Your U.S. Visa!
U.S. immigration is often complicated and hosts a bewildering array of numbers and letters to mark the different types of visas. It is no wonder that people, even those that already have visas, are confused about them. The following is a brief overview of the different types of visas. It is also the start of a series of explanatory blog posts designed to explain each visa. Please note, these posts are not meant to be definitive, but only to provide general knowledge.
Non-immigrant visas are for those who are intending to come to the U.S. for a short period of time, such as tourists and students.
- Most apply for these visas from overseas.
- They must demonstrate their intent to return to their home country when applying for their non-immigrant visas.
- While many people with non-immigrant visas may become permanent residents, they must prove that their circumstances changed significantly. That said, there are several types of non-immigrant visas where it is not possible to adjust their status to an immigrant visa in the U.S.
- Some examples of non-immigrant visas:
- Visitors for business or tourism (B1/B2)
- Student Visas (F-1)
- Diplomats (A)
- Those on the visa waiver program
Immigrant Visas are for those who have been granted permanent residence to the U.S.
- This permanent residence is often called a ‘green card’. Prior to 1976, ‘green cards’ were issued to permanent residents as proof of their status in the U.S.
- Ways to obtain permanent residence include:
- Approved petition by a family member;
- Approved petition by an employer;
- Refugee status;
- Asylee status; or
- Special immigrant visa (such as for a religious worker, or Afghan/Iraqi interpreters for the US military).
Dual-Intent Visas, allow for the possibility to adjust to an immigrant visa without showing the change in circumstance.
- They may have the intent to stay or leave the USA.
- Some examples of the dual-intent visas are:
- H-1B visa
- K-1 (fiance’) visa.