Immigrant Visa Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Immigrant Visa, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Immigrant Visa?

Document required in order to receive a Green Card that enables someone to permanently live and work in the United States. Several different types of immigrant visas exist.

History and Meaning of Immigrant Visa

An immigrant visa is a document needed to obtain a Green Card. This card allows someone to live and work permanently in the United States. They are categorized into several different types, each with its own requirements, qualifications, and waiting periods. The U.S. immigration law allows for a certain number of people to receive an immigrant visa annually from each country. The immigrant visa holder’s spouse and minor children can join them, but other family members may face more stringent guidelines.

Immigrant visas are granted after a thorough application process, which includes obtaining a sponsor, passing a medical examination, attending an interview, and meeting other requirements, among them valid proof of employment, education or marriage, proof of financial stability and no criminal record.

Examples of Immigrant Visa

Examples of immigrant visas include the family-sponsored immigrant visa, employment-based immigrant visa, Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, and asylum-based immigration visa. For instance, an H-1B is a visa that allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to work in the U.S. for up to six years. Suppose a foreigner is a victim of persecution in their home country. In that case, they can apply for an asylum-based immigration visa, which allows them to remain and work in the U.S. while they wait for their asylum-status approval.

Legal Terms Similar to Immigrant Visa

Similar legal terms include nonimmigrant visa, which grants temporary authorization to work or study in the United States for specific purposes and time periods. Another term is Green Card, which confers lawful permanent residency for an unlimited period, with the potential to apply for U.S. citizenship. Lastly, a Dual Citizenship is allowed by some countries, allowing its citizens to hold the citizenship of two nations.