A nonimmigrant visa is the
visa issued to foreign nationals, or aliens, with permanent residence
outside the United States, but who wish to live and or work in the U.S. on a
temporary basis. American law presumes that every alien has the intent to be
an immigrant, which is why visa refusals are the most common denials. A
nonimmigrant visa issued by a U.S. consular officer alerts the immigration
officer at the port of entry of the United States that the individual is
likely eligible to apply for a particular nonimmigrant visa category.
However, a nonimmigrant visa does not guarantee admission into the United
States, as an immigration inspector can still deny entry if he believes that
a particular alien is not eligible to be admitted in the category for which
the visa was issued.
A nonimmigrant visa must
arrive at a U.S. port of entry during the period of time prescribed by the
visa. The period of time that a nonimmigrant visa is valid varies (anywhere
for 30 days to 10 years). Visas may be limited to a single entry or may be
valid for multiple entries during the period of their validity. The period
of time which an alien is permitted to stay on a nonimmigrant visa is
indicated on a small white card, called a Form I-94 (Departure Record) which
is stapled into the foreign national's passport.
Only the Form I-94 determines a nonimmigrant's status and its validity as to
time and purpose. If an alien is present in the U.S. past that period of
time, he or she is "out of status" and risks being deported or barred from
further entry into the United States. Click on the links below to learn more
about the different types of nonimmigrant visas.
of Nonimmigrant Visas:
accredited officials of foreign governments
Pleasure (tourist visa)
transiting through the United States
Workers who are Australian citizens
Employees of international organizations
Representatives of Media
children of G-4s and NATO employees
Ability Artists and Athletes
recognized and outstanding artists and athletes
serious violent crimes
child of LPR
Professionals from Canada or Mexico
To learn more about the
types of visas available to nonimmigrants and their spouses, please visit
the LL.M. Law Group drop down menu.