What is a non-immigrant visa?

There is a lot of terminology out there when it comes to U.S. immigration law. One of the terms our readers may have come across and wondered about is “non-immigrant visa.”

What is a non-immigrant visa? These visas are one of the two main categories of visas in the United States. Non-immigrant visas are visas that are for temporary stays in the U.S. for specific purposes, rather than a permanent  residency “green card” visa. Visas involving permanent residency are called immigrant visas, and are the other main visa category.

Now, there is a great deal of variation within the general category of non-immigrant visas. There are many different types of non-immigrant visas, some examples being: tourist/business visas (B visas), student visas (F visas), temporary worker visas (H visas) and religious worker visas (R visas). Each specific type of non-immigrant visa has its own particular type of purpose for traveling to the U.S. that it covers and its own rules regarding what the qualification requirements are to be eligible for such a visa.

As this illustrates, what non-immigrant visa options a person who desires to have a non-permanent stay in the U.S. has can be affected by many things, including the purpose of their desire stay and their personal circumstances. Picking the right kind of visa to apply for based on the situation can be important.

Another thing to note is that each particularly type of non-immigrant visa can raise its own unique legal issues, such as issues related to the application process.

Experienced immigration law attorneys can help individuals with non-immigrant visa issues, including legal issues specific to the different types of these visas.

Source: FindLaw, “Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Types,” Accessed April 19, 2016