Immigrant and non-immigrant visas are the two types of visas, issued by the United States to foreign nationals. The United States allows foreign nationals to permanently settle in America and it also allows them to live in the country on a temporary basis. Hence, citizens of foreign countries who wish to get into the country and obtain Green Cards and live there permanently may apply for and obtain immigrant visas. Similarly, people who seek to remain in America for a certain period of time to study, to work, for business, for pleasure, for medical treatment or for some other reason, may enter into the country on non-immigrant visas. However, all the foreign nationals who apply for visas may not be issued visas and only the applicants who are eligible and who meet the prerequisites, will be granted the required visas.
Requirements for Immigrant Visas
Immigrant visas are permanent visas that are issued to foreign nationals who seek to live and work in America on a permanent basis. However, it is not so easy to file a petition for yourself and obtain an immigrant visa. You can easily obtain a permanent resident visa, if you are sponsored by a US employer or your relative who is a US citizen. In this case, the sponsor must file an immigrant petition for you. However, immigrant visas are also issued to foreign investors, foreign workers with exceptional ability and few other special categories of immigrants.
Foreign nationals may receive their immigrant visa packages from the overseas consulates or embassies and with those visas, they can travel to a US port of entry. At the port of entry, a CBP officer will review the documents and stamp the immigrant visa and allow the immigrant to enter into America. After entering into the country the immigrant can file an application for a US Green Card and obtain one.
Requirements for Non-Immigrant Visas
If you wish to travel to America for a short period of time, you can obtain a non-immigrant visa, based on the purpose of your travel. You can apply for a non-immigrant visa, if you wish to visit your relatives or friends in America or if you wish to travel to the country for pleasure. Similarly, foreign nationals who seek to get into the country for medical treatment, for employment or for business, may obtain non-immigrant visas that are valid for a certain time period. There are different types of non-immigrant visas and you need to apply for the particular type of visa according to the purpose of your visit.
You must apply for a B-1 visa, if you need to travel to America for business and a B-2 non-immigrant visa for tourism. If you look forward to study or work in America, you will have to submit few supporting documents and you must prove that you are authorized to work or study in America, while applying for non-immigrant visa. Eligibility requirements for all the different types of non-immigrant visas are not the same.
A visa will only allow you to travel to a US port of entry and you will be granted entry into the United States after immigration inspection and after the CBP officer makes sure that you are admissible into the United States.