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Doctrine of 'Dual Intent'

United States consulates automatically assume that most nonimmigrants (students, exchange visitors, etc.) who apply for a visa have “immigrant intent.” In other words, it is assumed that once a nonimmigrant is admitted to the United States, he/she is likely to remain in the United States permanently. Before most non-immigrants can obtain a visa, they must present sufficient evidence (ownership of property/business, family relationships, etc.) of their intent to return to the home country.

Inherent in the H-1B nonimmigrant classification is the “dual intent” concept. This allows an H-1B worker to be admitted to the United States for “temporary” employment purposes but also gives him/her the option to apply for U.S. permanent residence at some point in the future. As a result, H-1B workers who travel to their home country for purposes of visa renewal don’t have to be concerned about proving nonimmigrant intent. Additionally, H-1B employees who have applied for permanent residence and need to extend their period of authorized stay can do so without a problem.