Visa & Immigrant Intent

Hello, I’m Vaughan de Kirby. I’m an investment immigration attorney based here in San Francisco. A question that frequently comes up, that is somewhat confusing, is the concept of immigrant intent. It’s very important when you’re applying for a visa. Basically what it means is when you apply for the visa, the officer must believe that you do not have the intention of staying in the United States beyond the terms of your visa, which would be in essence, immigrating to the United States. It’s also important for you to know that when you apply for the visa, the non-immigrant visa, you’re going to need to establish that you do not have immigrant intent. In other words, the officer is going to assume that you do have immigrant intent, and it’s up to you to provide sufficient evidence to establish that actually you have a compelling reason to return to your home country. That’s their standard.

This is a list of the non-immigrant visas where the officers are going to want to know that you do not have any intention of staying beyond that visa, or in other words, you do not have immigrant intent. These are all visas that require you to demonstrate affirmatively that you do not have immigrant intent.

Business (B-1)

Visitor (B-2)

Student (F-1)

Exchange Visitor (J)

Worker (H-1)

Trainee/Worker (H-3)

Now if that weren’t complicated enough, there’re visas that allow you to have what is called dual intent. And here is a list of the visas that allow dual intent.

Workers with Extraordinary Ability (O)

Treaty Traders (E)

Fiancee (K)

This means that this is a visa that allows you to come to the United States, and though it is a visitor’s visa, you can have the secondary intent of staying beyond that visa and adjusting your status to a permanent resident in the United States at the conclusion of that visa.

I hope that’s helpful to you. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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