Immigration Attorney in San Francisco discusses the difference between Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa

Almost all citizens of foreign countries must obtain a visa to be able to enter the US legally. The type of visa is determined by the purpose of the travel to the US. The two main classifications of US visas are Immigrant Visas for permanent residency, and Nonimmigrant visas for temporary stays.

Nonimmigrant Visas

If you plan to stay in the US temporarily, for reasons of tourism, business, medical treatment, temporary work or a number of other possible reasons, you need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. This visa allows you to travel to the  U.S. port-of-entry to request admittance from a Department of Homeland Security official. There are around 20 different visas available in the nonimmigrant classification, that cover a large variety of possible reasons for a short-term visit.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals, who plan to live and work in the US permanently. There are major categories of immigrant visas are the following: employer-sponsored, family-sponsored (including marriage based green cards and green cards for parents), and special immigrants.

US law limits the number of immigrant visas available each year.  Although there is not a limit on the number of immigrant visas available for immediate relatives.   In some cases, even if the USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition, you may have to wait several years to be issued an immigrant visa number by the State Department. There is a certain preference system in place, according to which immigrant visas are issued.

The process of applying for an immigrant visa has several steps and depends on the nature of each particular case. To avoid any pitfalls I strongly recommend that you contact an immigration attorney to discuss your options. An experienced attorney can help you make the right decisions and help you get your visa in the shortest possible time.

I invite you to contact us in our offices in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Sacramento. You can call us at 800-753-1399 if you have questions regarding your immigration options. We will be happy to assist you.

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