Understanding the Design of Dual Intent Visas

If you ever filed an application for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, you might have heard the term “Dual Intent.” Failure to understand what dual intent is could put a person in a situation where the visa they choose when applying for a U.S. green card is very difficult or nearly impossible.

Do You Ultimately Desire to Obtain a U.S. Green Card?

Dual Intent handles foreigners' intentions as to how long they plan to stay in the United States. If the foreign national plans to reside in the U.S. for a short timeframe like for a job or school, as opposed to permanently, then they fit one of the key qualifications for a temporary visa. In lawful terms, their intent would be classified as “nonimmigrant intent.”

For example, if someone travels to the U.S. only to work at their company’s U.S. branch for a maximum of four years, with the full intent of returning to their home country at the end of that time, they have nonimmigrant intent. During the application process, as long as you persuade a U.S. consul of this intent, the officer will feel safe granting a U.S. entry visa.

In contrast, a foreigner who is entering the U.S. with the desire to remain and live in the U.S. permanently is deemed to have immigrant intent. That then becomes a problem. Most if not all nonimmigrant visa categories require the applicant to prove nonimmigrant intent. Applicants in such visa classifications must usually bring many forms of evidence to their visa interview, showing, for example, that they maintain a residence abroad, have a family abroad, have a temporary work contract in the U.S.., or will plan to leave the U.S. for particular other reasons.

There are a few types of nonimmigrant visas that allow for dual intent that allow foreigners living in the U.S. to have two things in mind simultaneously:

  • Nonimmigrant Intent (A foreigner will leave the U.S. when his or visa allotted time expires) and
  • Immigrant Intent (While being in the U.S. the foreigner will attempt at being eligible for lawful permanent residence)

Dual Intent Visas can be useful to anyone who, (for example) hopes their employment would turn into a long term one which may lead an employer to petition on their behalf for a U.S. green card. This does not mean that single intent visa beneficiaries can never receive a U.S. green card. However, they must be mindful that there are various timing considerations to consider.

Frequent U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Statuses That Permit Dual Intent

Several visa categories which include some for family, spouses, and fiancé(e)s, allow for dual intent upon U.S. entry. Such categories are:

  • H-1B Temporary workers in a specialty occupation
  • H-4 Dependent (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of H-1B workers
  • L-1A Intracompany transferees executive or manager
  • L-1B Intracompany transferees specialized knowledge
  • L-2 Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old) of L-1A or L-1B workers
  • O-1 Aliens with extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business or athletics
  • O-3 Dependents (spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age) of O-1 visa beneficiaries
  • K-1 Fiancé(e)s
  • K-2 Dependents (unmarried children under 21 years old) of K-1 visa beneficiaries
  • K-3 Foreign spouses of U.S. citizen
  • K-4 Dependents (unmarried children under 21 years old) of K-3 visa holders
  • V-Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21) of U.S. lawful permanent residents

This means that people holding any of these visas above decide to apply for a U.S. green card may have a chance to do so. Seek advice from a local immigration attorney.

Regular U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas That Do Not Permit Dual Intent

Given the differences between dual intent and single intent visas, it is also essential to know which nonimmigrant visa categories do not allow dual intent:

  • B-1/B-2 Business or Tourism visitor’s visa
  • TN NAFTA professional visa
  • H-1B1 Temporary workers in a specialty occupation from Chile or Singapore
  • H-2A Temporary agricultural workers
  • H-2B Temporary non-agricultural workers
  • H-3 Trainee or special education exchange visitors
  • E-1 Treaty trader
  • E-2 Treaty Investor
  • E-3 Certain specialty occupation professionals from Australia
  • F-1 Academic Students
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors
  • M-1 Vocational Students

Individuals who enter the U.S. in any of these visa categories will be expected to return to their home country as planned at the end of their stay in the U.S.

Visit With An Immigration Lawyer

Whether or not you want to apply for a dual intent visa talk with an immigration attorney. With the help of a lawyer you might have a better chance at obtaining U.S. lawful permanent residence and you might be able to weigh out your options and which visa to apply for. Call Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 for an appointment today.