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The difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas

If you plan to enter the United States from another country of origin, that means you need an immigrant visa, right? Perhaps, although it would depend on your particular purpose for wanting to come to Colorado -- or whichever state in which you planned to reside. U.S. immigration law is quite complex and often changes. The last thing you need is to violate some sort of regulation and find yourself locked up in a detention center, awaiting a removal hearing.

Much confusion and stress (and legal trouble) can typically be avoided if you seek clarification of existing immigration laws ahead of time, and make sure you apply for the appropriate one (in the proper way) according to your immediate needs and long-term goals.

Get the facts straight before applying

When you hear the word visa, it may sound fairly basic, as if all you need to do is fill out a couple forms saying you want to come to the United States and that's that. Anyone who has navigated the immigration process, however, understands that it's not always so simple. The following list explains the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas and may help you determine which type suits your particular situation, as well as where to turn for help if you've already processed your visa and have run into some sort of obstacle along the way:

  • In regard to visas, if you want to seek permanent residence in the United States, you would choose the appropriate immigrant visa, generally separated into two categories -- those that are numerically limited and those that are not.
  • If your entrance and residence in the United States is based on employment or is family sponsored, you will likely fall under the numerically limited category.
  • Within the types of visas in that category, there are subcategories (notice how things get more complicated as you continue to read?); for instance, there are at least four types of family-sponsored visas.
  • A non-immigrant visa, on the other hand, is what you would need if you only plan on staying in the United States temporarily, for a specific purpose, such as furthering your education or touring as an entertainer.
  • Many visas require petitions, applications and documentation to support eligibility.

A quick survey of immigrants in Colorado would probably reveal many stories of foreign nationals facing serious legal complications related to their residence statuses or visas. That's why it's always a good idea to have contact information on hand where you can access immediate immigrant support, if needed.

Many people choose to rely on experienced immigration and naturalization law attorneys to act as their personal advocates in situations that involve trouble with the law.

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