There are 2 main types of general visa categories: immigrant and nonimmigrant.  The focus of each type of visa is the “intent” of the noncitizen to either remain indefinitely in the US or to stay only temporarily.

Immigrant Visas

Generally, if the intention of a person wanting to come to the United States is to stay and potentially not return to their country of origin, the noncitizen should seek an immigrant visa.  To secure an immigrant visa, one must have a petition approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for the immigrant visa. The petition is filed either by a qualified relative or a potential employer in the United States.  Assuming there are no inadmissibility issues, an intending immigrant may then use the approved petition to apply for an immigrant visa.

Nonimmigrant Visas

If the intention of the person wanting to come to the United States is only to stay temporarily, then that person should seek a nonimmigrant visa.  One of the most common types of nonimmigrant visas people seek is a B-1/B-2 visitor visa.  This visa can be for people traveling to the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2).  A majority of the time, the B-1 and B-2 visas are combined and issued as one visa: the B-1/B-2.  If seeking a B visa, one must demonstrate certain criteria to a consular officer that they qualify.  It is important to remember that the immigration laws are written to presume that every B-1/B-2 applicant is an intending immigrant –this is something you must overcome using various types of evidence.

“Dual Intent” Visas

There are also certain types of visas where the intent can be labeled “dual intent”.  The purpose of a dual intent visa is to permit a noncitizen to enter and stay in the US as a non-immigrant.  At the same time, there also exists an option to apply for a permanent U.S. residence in the future.  One of the most common types of dual intent visas is the K-1 Fiancé visa.  The purpose of a K-1 Fiancé visa is for a noncitizen fiancé to enter the U.S. in order to marry a U.S. citizen.  Therefore, K-1 Fiancés gain entry to the U.S. as non-immigrants.  However, they enter with clear intention of marrying a U.S. citizen and usually immigrating to the U.S.

The above examples of different types of visas discussed above are common visas The Presti Law Firm helps clients obtain.  The Presti Law Firm can help you with all types of visa preparation.