What is the Difference Between Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas?

Home > Blog > What is the Difference Between Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas?

What is the Difference Between Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas?

Individuals who wish to come and live in the United States have many options, but many do not know which one is right for them. It is important that anyone wishing to remain in the country understands the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Knowing these differences can help immigrants and their families take the practical and positive steps toward resolving their immigration status in the United States. A Chicago immigration lawyer can advise on which type of visa is right for a specific situation and, when necessary, help individuals adjust their status.

Immigrant Visas

Individuals who wish to live, work, and study in the United States on a permanent basis can apply for an immigrant visa, also known as a green card. Green cards bring many benefits for those who successfully obtain them. Green card holders can sponsor immediate relatives who want to come to the country, contribute to political campaigns, travel in and out of the United States with ease, and receive social security benefits.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to securing an immigrant visa is that green card holders can eventually apply for citizenship, which brings all of the benefits that American citizens enjoy. These include the right to be free from the risk of deportation, the right to vote, and more. Green cards do expire, but individuals can renew them within six months of the visa’s expiration date. Anyone who wishes to remain in the country indefinitely should speak to an immigration lawyer about obtaining a green card. Applicants who are successful with their application and secure a green card are known as lawful permanent residents.

Non-Immigrant Visas

Non-immigrant visas are issued to individuals that wish to enter the United States on a temporary basis. There are many different types of non-immigrant visas and the type a person applies for will depend on the purpose of their travel. Like green cards, non-immigrant visas also have an expiration date. If the visa is not renewed or extended before or on the expiration date, the immigrant will have to leave the country.

Individuals must apply for non-immigrant visas while they are still abroad. When a temporary visa is issued, it still does not guarantee entry into the United States. The United States customs official at the port of entry will review the paperwork and determine if the individual is eligible to live in the country on a temporary basis. 

Our Illinois Immigration Lawyers can Help With Your Visa Needs

For individuals wishing to enter the United States, there are many options available. However, the process of obtaining a visa is complex. At Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC, our Chicago immigration lawyers can help. We know how to navigate the complex immigration system and our experienced attorneys will give you the best chance of success with your application. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.