Dual Intent Visas by Nick Misiti Attorney at Law
Dual intent visas allow visa holders to enter the U.S. while pursing lawful permanent resident status (green card status). Not all visas allow for dual intent; in fact the list of those that do is very short. Individuals that are allowed dual intent are those with H-1B visas (foreign workers in specialty occupations including their spouses and minor children with H-4 visas), K visas (fiancées/foreign spouses of U.S. citizens and their minor children), L visas (corporate transferees, their spouses and minor children), and V visas (spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents). Federal regulations also appear to recognize dual intent for O visas (for workers who have extraordinary ability, their spouses and minor children), P visas (for athletes, artists or entertainers, their spouses and minor children), and E visas (for treaty traders or treaty investors, their spouses and minor children).
Foreigners can jeopardize your lawful status in the US if they apply for permanent residence while on a temporary visa that does not allow for dual intent. If a consular official determines that a person is seeking to enter the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa but intend to stay permanently, their visa application can be refused, they can be denied entry to the US or even deported. Even more severely, a foreigner seeking entry into the U.S. can be permanently barred for visa fraud if a border or consular official thinks that they are intentionally misrepresenting themselves.
The consequences of being found to have dual intent without the appropriate visa can be severe and have lasting effects. If you are on a visa that does not recognize dual intent and you want to stay in the US permanently, you may want to consult with an immigration attorney before trying to acquire permanent resident status.
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