Temporary versus Permanent Visa Options

As a general proposition, there are two (2) manners in which foreign nationals come to the United States; either temporarily or permanently. If a foreign national is coming to the United States temporarily, he will apply for a nonimmigrant (i.e., temporary) visa (unless he is visa exempt) in a nonimmigrant visa category that coincides with the purpose of his temporary stay in the United States (e.g., tourism, work, student, etc.).

A foreign national may wish to come to the United States permanently. If that is the case, then there are, again very generally, two (2) primary ways to do so: either by showing a qualifying relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (i.e., a "Green Card" holder[1]) or by having an employer sponsor the foreign national for an employment-based Green Card. With respect to the latter, there are also ways in which a foreign national can "self-petition" for himself. Those situations are beyond the scope of this chapter beyond briefly mentioning them.

This guide was developed by Meyers & Meyers, LLP as a resource to help you understand some aspects of Immigration Law, which is very complex. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. We recommend you contact one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys to devise an individualized plan to help you and/or your company achieve your goals. Please contact Meyers & Meyers, LLP at [email protected] for assistance.

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