There are many types of nonimmigrant (temporary) visas. Each one is issued for a different purpose and each one is known by a combination of letter and number, as well as by a name. You may be familiar with the most popular non-immigrant visas such as: the B-2 tourist visa, the E-2 visa for investors and the F-1 student visa. All of them enter in the non-immigrant group in general.
When you obtain a nonimmigrant visa, the government of the United States assumes that you will perform a specific activity during your stay within the United States. Therefore, a visa is granted authorizing said activity and only that activity for a specific limited period of time.
How is a non-immigrant visa different from a green card?
The most basic difference is that all green cards are permanent, while all nonimmigrant visas are temporary. If you have a green card, you are considered a permanent resident of the United States. Your green card can be canceled if you violate certain laws or regulations. While for a nonimmigrant visa is completely the opposite, since it is very easy for the government to cancel such visa. For example, if you travel to the United States and the border authorities think that you will not return to your country of origin after the time established for your stay within the United States, you will be stripped of that visa.
After you have obtained and maintained your green card for a period of time, you can become an American citizen; while with a nonimmigrant visa you would never become an American citizen. Please contact our immigration attorneys to have no doubts about your cases.
If you are considering applying for tourist or student visa, contact our immigration specialists today at (213) 309-9123.