Immigrant intent or non-immigrant intent

What’s the difference between immigrant intent and non-immigrant intent, and why is that important in the immigration context? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in Saint Louis, Missouri. I was talking to a young man yesterday about a situation in which he was thinking about having his brother sponsor him for a green card. This young man is in the United States on an F1 student visa, and who was wondering what repercussions there would be of his brother filing that immigrant visa for him, and so I thought I’d  shoot this video to explain the difference between immigrant intent and non-immigrant intent and tell you why that’s really important in the immigration content.

One thing you have to understand is that there’s a big distinction in immigration between people who want to come and visit, or stay temporarily versus those who have said and declared that they want to stay and remain in the United States. That’s the difference between an immigrant visa and a non-immigrant visa. If you’re here on a non-immigrant visa, which is like a V1, V2, which can be a visitor visa, or an F1 student visa, or some of the other types of student visas including Ms and Js, in those situations, you’re telling the government that you’ll be here temporarily in the United States, and that at the end of your stay, at the end of your studies or whatever it is that brings you to the Unites States, that you will return home, to your home country.

Once that immigrant visa is filed, he has displayed what’s called immigrant intent. He has demonstrated that his intention over the long term is to stay and remain in the United States. This can make it very difficult to get that non-immigrant visa, that F1 visa stamped in his passport. The State department and the immigration office don’t like it when people try to jump from one status to another, or when they’ve demonstrated that immigrant intent, then the government is sort of believing and think that the person has demonstrated that they want to stay in the United States, and therefore they’re disinclined. They don’t want to give them that non-immigrant visa anymore. This can come up in lot’s of different ways. One other way that it comes up is when someone applies in an embassy for a non-immigrant visa, like a V1, V2 to come and visit. If they have any kind of pending immigrant visa, if someone has filed an immigrant visa for them a long time ago, or if it’s pending, or if they just don’t even have enough evidence that they intend to return home, then this can come back to haunt them and they probably won’t get the visit visa.

When thinking about coming to the United States, when thinking about what you’re doing with the immigration service and with the state department, you really need to think it through, you can’t just file things willy nilly. This guy was very smart in asking me, “Should I wait to have my brother file this for me, or should I just go ahead and file it?” I said, “Well, what’s your long term plan?” Right now, brother and sister visa cases are taking 13 years. He wisely saw that he wanted to finish up his studies to make it clear that he did intend to return home, and that if his brother still wants to file for him, and if he wants to come, to do that after he’s completed this non-immigrant visa that he’s here on now. If you have any questions about this, if you’re worried about how you may have displayed immigrant intent, how you may have harmed your chances to get a visit visa or anything like that, give us a call (314)-961-8200, or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.