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

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

The United States has always been one of the most sought-after destinations for career growth and advancement. For the technophiles and IT buffs who wish to kick-start an illustrious career in AI, silicon is the most happening place. A country like the United States, which is famous for its progressive business environment, also offers easy norms for the migration of deserving aspirants.

One of the most fundamental requirements for migrating to the United States is the US immigrant visa, which is essential for immigrants who wish to work and settle in the United States. 

This article will highlight the purpose and significance of the US immigrant visa and the procedure to obtain the same.

What is an Immigrant Visa?

The immigrant visa is a type of visa that the US administration allots to a foreign national who wishes to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.

Mostly, the employer or a relative sponsors the immigration of an aspirant by applying for an immigrant visa. However, some specific aspirants can file their own petition for a US immigrant visa. These include workers with specialised skills, big investors, and other special immigrants such as diplomats. 

An immigrant visa is classified into five types–

  • Employment-Based Immigration
  • Family-Based Immigration
  • Fiancé(e)'s Visa
  • Diversity Visas
  • Returning Resident Visa

What is a Non-Immigrant Visa?

Non-immigrant visas are another type of visa that the US administration allots to foreign nationals seeking to travel to the United States temporarily for a leisure trip, business tour, medical treatment and other provisional purposes.

Based on the purpose of the travel, the US immigration laws have defined two types of non-immigrant visas:

B-1 (Business) Non-immigrant visa: This type of visa is given to those individuals who wish to travel to the United States for a business tour or a conference. Generally, the entities who sponsor their immigration apply for this Non-immigrant visa on their behalf.

B-2 (tourist) visa: This type of visa is given to those individuals who wish to travel to the United States for a leisure trip or a medical emergency. Here, the individuals can directly apply to the U.S. consulate or embassy in their country.

However, foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States to study or work may require specific authorisation and documentation before applying for a non-immigrant visa.

Immigrant vs Non-immigrant Visa: Key Difference

The key difference between these two types of US visas is evident from the purpose of the applicant’s travel to the United States.

The immigrant visa (IV) is issued to a person wishing to live permanently in the United States. 

On the other hand, a non-immigrant visa is issued to people who have permanent residence outside the US. Individuals with non-immigrant visas can visit the US temporarily for tourism, medical treatment, business meetings, study/ internship, etc. 

How to Obtain a US Immigrant Visa?

Given below is the procedure to obtain a US immigrant visa:

  • The application is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • This is later forwarded to the applicable U.S. Consulate or the Embassy overseas for further processing.
  • Upon checking the applicant's eligibility, the US immigrant visa is issued to him/her.

What is the Procedure to Apply for the US immigrant visa?

The complete procedure for application for the US immigrant visa is explained below–

  • Submit Visa Petition: First of all, you must file Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is for both US citizens and lawful PR petitioners residing inside/outside the United States. USCIS will approve your immigrant visa petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
  • NVC Processing: The US Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) will further pre-process your immigrant petition. After this process, NVC will send you a Welcome Letter.
  • Pay Visa Fees: After receiving the NVC Welcome Letter, you must pay your visa processing fees. The processing of your fees will take up to 1 week at the NVC's end.
  • Affidavit of Support: Next, you must file the “Affidavit of Support” in the Form I-864. The purpose of this document is to substantiate that you, as a sponsor, have signed to accept financial responsibility for your applicant's wishes to migrate to the United States. You now agree to use your resources to provide financial support for the visa of the beneficiary and/or their dependent(s).
  • Collect Financial Proofs and other Supporting Documents: After signing the Affidavit of Support form, you must procure all the necessary evidence of your finances and other supporting documents.
  • Form DS-260: Online Visa Application: The actual immigrant application starts after you pay the processing fees, upon which the status in CEAC is shown as– ‘PAID’. You and the applicant must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration in Form DS-260.
  • Collect Civil Documents: After filing Form DS-260(s), you must procure the civil documents required to support your visa application, such as birth certificates, marital evidence, Citizen ID proof, legal records, etc., from the applicant.

Note: You must scan and save all the supportive documents for final submission.

  • Submit Documents: Finally, you are supposed to submit all the scanned documents. For this process, you must log in to the CEAC portal and go to the “Start Now” button under the “Affidavit of Support Documents and Civil Documents” link. After uploading all the required documents, click the “Submit Documents” button.

Note: Never mail any documents to the NVC. This can lead to data breaches or violations of your privacy. Always follow the process told above.

After the complete verification of the documents, the next step will be an interview for the Immigrant Visa, for which you have to prepare in advance. Only upon successful completion of the interview round will your visa be approved/denied.

As a prudent traveller flying to the US for work, you must also get the best travel insurance plan of USA that can cover your financial loss in case of a mishap such as loss of baggage carrying travel documents. 

What is the Application Fee for a US Immigrant Visa?

There are two processing fees for application for the US immigrant visa:

Application Processing Fee– For Immediate relative and family petition- $325; Employment-based applications- $345

Affidavit of Support Fee– $120. The system will require you to pay for both of these individually.

How to check immigrant visa status?

You don’t need to check the status of your immigrant visa. Upon successfully clearing the interview rounds, if the US immigration authorities approve your visa, they’ll inform you how, where and when your immigrant visa & passport will be returned to you.

Next, you must furnish the immbest travel insuranceigrant visa at a U.S. port of entry (international airport) before expiration. You will become a lawful permanent resident (PR) once your immigrant visa and supporting documents are reviewed and endorsed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the airport.

Secure your US journey with Travel Insurance

In addition to the immigrant visa, there is another essential preparation you must take advantage of. Your planning for migration abroad should be complete with a comprehensive international travel insurance plan by Care Health Insurance. Travel insurance always comes in handy in a financial or medical crisis, loss of travel documents or passport, hospitalisation, loss of checked-in baggage, etc. So, check out our travel plan to secure your journey today.

>> Also Read: Know Everything About the B-1 Visa for USA

Disclaimer: Plan features, benefits, coverage, and claims underwriting are subject to policy terms and conditions. Kindly refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.

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