Immigrant vs Nonimmigrant visas, What’s the difference?

Let me guess, you’re here because you need information about visa categories in the U.S? You’ve surely come to the right place for that matter. In this article, we’ll be giving you all the information that you require to decide what category of visa should you apply for yourself or your loved ones.

First things first, having a U.S visa doesn’t guarantee your entry in the country, it only indicates that the consular officer at the U.S embassy abroad has found you to be eligible to seek entry into the U.S for the reason you have applied for, it allows you to travel to the country’s border and request for permission of entry to the related department.

Immigrant Visa:

An immigrant visa is issued to a foreign individual trying to seek a permanent stay in the U.S. Normally, an immigrant visa is applied by the relatives of an individual or a company trying to sponsor someone for work reasons. The procedure starts by applying to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Apart from people sponsoring an individual the visa, some special immigrants can apply for the immigrant visa as well, mostly, these are business investors trying to get into the country so that they can settle there permanently. Special immigrants can apply for a visa on their behalf.

Nonimmigrant Visa:

Nonimmigrant visas can be issued for several reasons but mainly it’s for individuals who are seeking to stay in the country for a temporary time frame. Some need to get into the U.S for medical reasons, while some apply for tourism, business, or any other related reason.

A Nonimmigrant visa can be acquired by directly applying to the U.S embassy abroad, however, it requires proper documentation and authorization to do so, these documents go through the validation process and after that, it’s up to the embassy to either reject or grant the visa.

Difference between Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa:

The major difference between these two types of visas is that immigrant visa is applied by individuals seeking to stay in the U.S permanently while nonimmigrant visa candidates only apply to stay temporarily in the country. Apart from that, there are several other differences as well.

  1. Procedure for applying:

For the immigrant visa, you have to file a petition first for immigration after choosing the right green card category. The first step is mostly done by relatives or a company trying to sponsor an individual the visa. After the visa gets approved, the individual has to travel to the U.S to receive the green card and settle there permanently.

Contrary to that, a nonimmigrant visa is applied by the individual trying to go to the U.S himself by either filling the online visa form with the right documentation or going to the U.S embassy abroad. If the application is accepted, the applicant is then called by the embassy for the interview followed by submitting the visa processing fee.

Whether you’re trying to apply for the immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa, there’s a wide range of visa categories to choose from, these categories define the visa type according to the law. The categories are in alphabetical order, there are a total of 34 categories for the nonimmigrant visa and 13 categories for the immigrant visa.

When you apply for the visa, it is decided by the relevant department that if you are eligible for the category you’re applying for or not, every category has different rules and regulations to them and must pass all of them to be considered eligible.