The information contained in this section outlines the different categories provided for in the laws applying to Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Visas in the United States.
A non-immigrant visa (“NIV”) is a visa issued to persons with a permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis. An NIV is most frequently a tourist, business, student, or specialty worker. An NIV travel document allows a person to travel to the U.S. during the validity of the NIV for a specific purpose. Individuals who are traveling to the U.S. for a temporary purpose are classified as “non-immigrants,” since they do not intend to remain permanently. Unlike immigrants, non-immigrants are subject to less numerical restrictions and are more likely to obtain waivers of inadmissibility.
An immigrant visa is issued to a foreign national who intends to live and work permanently in the United States. Green cards or the status of a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) provide individuals the privilege of permanently residing in the U.S. as an immigrant. The person must intend to keep the U.S. as its permanent residence. An LRP will lose his/her status if the absence of such intent is discovered. Although a green card holder may have multiple residences, their U.S. residence must be the permanent one. Moreover, green card holders may be deported if they violate certain U.S. laws, such as a drug offense.