I have tons of practical experience working with most nonimmigrant visa classifications, including those that you probably didn’t know existed. To simplify the visa evaluation and selection process for my clients, I have followed in the footsteps of the Great Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev who is credited as the creator of the first version of the Periodic Table of Elements. Inspired by Mendeleyev’s example, and to atone for flunking Chemistry in high school and college, I have created a Periodic Table of U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas. In my table, all existing visas are classified by categories and sub-categories on the basis of their purpose (Travel, Work, Study/Exchange, or Special) and their relation to the counterintuitive doctrine of Dual-Intent, which allows selected classes of non-immigrants to contemplate remaining in the U.S. both permanently and temporarily while not allowing the same benefit for other non-immigrants. When clicked on, all individual visa classifications reveal references to the applicable sections of the Immigration & Nationality Act, Code of Federal Regulations, or other applicable statutes and regulations. For additional information about selected visa classifications, you may click on links appearing in the Selected Visa Classification Description display window.
It was not possible for me to make the table without making certain choices and taking firm positions on certain unsettled and debated immigration law issues. For example, Visa Waiver program entrants, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and different classes of parolees (humanitarian parolees and others) are not included in my table because, in my opinion, their exclusion is justified by the very definitions of their non-visa-status. Dual-Intent visas in the table include not only those which are expressly defined as such in the applicable statutes and regulations, but also those which expressly do not require the alien to maintain a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning, as well as those where dual-intent is clearly implied, though it may not be expressly stated, by the applicable statute or regulations. (Although some of these visas require the intent to return to one’s home country at the end of temporary stay in the U.S., these same visas expressly allow the pursuit of all permanent residence options short of seeking adjustment of status to permanent resident at the time of a nonimmigrant visa application or admission into the U.S.). The Limited Dual-Intent concept doesn’t exist either in statutes or regulations. I took the liberty of introducing it in my table in order to properly classify the remaining sub-category of visas. On the one hand, these Limited Dual-Intent visas expressly require nonimmigrants to maintain a foreign residence without the intention of abandoning it. On the other hand, the approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing or approval of an immigrant petition will not prevent these visa holders from entering into the U.S., changing status, or maintaining nonimmigrant status.
Selected Visa Classification