Many people call anyone from another country who comes to the United States an immigrant. In the realm of Immigration Law, there is a distinction between an immigrant and a nonimmigrant.
An immigrant is an individual, who is foreign-born, but has ties to the United States, in that they have become a Permanent Resident and possess a green card. This means the individual has been given permission by the US government to live and work here. An individual may become an immigrant through a family based immigrant visa, certain employment based visas, an investment based visa, or some type of special immigrant visa status. Once immigrant status has been attained, as long as the individual is law abiding, there is no problem with them living here indefinitely. Another aspect of immigrant status is one must adhere to is making their home here in the United States and not outside of the country.
An individual, who is considered a non-immigrant is someone who comes to the United States legally, but only to stay for a short amount of time. Visitors, students, temporary workers, and ambassadors from other countries are considered non-immigrants. This means their stay here is limited. The non-immigrant must adhere to that time, otherwise there could be consequences to overstaying the designated amount of time given.
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