What different kinds of visas open to those who choose to serve or live in the United States? Immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are open to foreign citizens who plan to visit the United States. An immigrant visa is for anyone who wants to stay in the United States for an indefinite amount of time with no fixed end date. On the other hand, a nonimmigrant visa is open to people who need to visit the United States for a particular reason only for a specified duration of time. There are many sub-groups under these two categories, and an individual will need to check with an embassy official before choosing the proper visa.


Visas for Immigrants

Immigrant visas are for those who decide to stay in America for a long time and fall into the following categories:

  • a US citizen’s spouse or fiancee
  • Parents of the United States adopt children from other countries.
  • US nationals or permanent residents’ direct family members
  • Applicants that a company has funded
  • Interpreters from Afghanistan/Iraq or US government employees
  • Staff in the religious field
  • Immigrants of various backgrounds
  • Immigrants who will be returning

An immigration visa is not the same as a “green card,” a derogatory term for a foreign person with permanent resident status in the United States. When specific requirements are fulfilled, an alien visa may be converted to permanent residency; however, the words are not synonymous and apply to separate and distinct statuses. In general, a permanent citizen resides in the United States and has no particular connections (such as a home) to another nation. In other terms, a green card is for someone who intends to stay in the United States for the coming years and has no intention of returning to their home nation.

Visas for Nonimmigrants

A nonimmigrant visa, unlike a quasi-permanent immigrant visa, is not for an unspecified period and is related to a specific occupation or goal in the United States. Below are some of the nonimmigrant visa types that the US Bureau of Consular Affairs presently offers:

  • Visitor from the business world
  • Visitor exchange
  • Transferee inside the corporation
  • The worker in a specialized field
  • Student
  • Criminal and child trafficking victims

Changing your Immigration Status from Nonimmigrant to Immigrant

A foreign national in the USA on a non – immigrant visa can choose to apply for immigrant visa status to stay in the country until the nonimmigrant visa expires. When a change in status is required, the nonimmigrant can send the necessary documents and papers to the office of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible, preferably till the existing nonimmigrant visa.

In general, a request to change status should be approved if the nonimmigrant has not performed any types of crimes during his or her residency, has followed the visa’s requirements, and has a legitimate, unexpired visa at the time of application. Specific forms of transfers are forbidden, and a consular officer or immigration attorney may assist an individual in understanding the visa transfer restrictions.