Nonimmigrants can legally remain in the U.S. for a temporary period of time and are constrained to the activity permitted by their visas. Nonimmigrant visas generally do not provide permanent residency, although some allow for a change to permanent resident status if certain conditions are met.

If you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, you must depart the U.S. by the expiration date listed on your I-94 entry/departure card. Paperless I-94 cards were implemented April 30, 2013.  If a paper I-94 card has not been issued to you, the I-94 card and your travel record may be printed through Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) website at Foreign nationals should highly consider printing out I-94 entry records for their personal records or employer’s records.  The online information should also contain the visa category and expiration date of the authorized stay. 

WHAT kinds of nonimmigrant visas exist?

 Nonimmigrant visas exist for a variety of reasons, including vacation visas (B-2 Visa), student visas (F-1 Student Visa or J-1 Exchange Student Visa), employment visas (such as an H Visa or TN Visa), visas to allow fiancé(e)s to enter the U.S. and marry (K-1 fiancé(e) Visa), and  visas for victims of certain crimes (such as a U Visa for Victims of Criminal Activity &/or Domestic Violence or a T Visa for Victims of Human Trafficking). This is a non-exhaustive list; there are many other types of nonimmigrant visas.  


If you wish to live and work in the U.S., an immigrant visa may be the route for you. An “immigrant visa” is another name for a green card. Having a green card allows you to stay in the U.S. to work and live indefinitely, provided you do not break the law or abandon your green card status. 

Depending on the type of non-immigrant visa you are using to be in the U.S., your next step might be applying for an immigrant visa/green card. A family member or employer may be able to help you if you are unable to petition for yourself. I assist with both immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

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