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Immigrant Visas I

This lesson will address the annual ceiling, the per-country quota, the preferences given to certain immigrants, and the long waiting times that many applicants for immigrant visas face in the immigration queue.


There are four primary types of legal authorization to enter the United States—immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, parole, and asylum. The vast majority of noncitizens who enter lawfully do so pursuant to an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. 

I. Immigrant Versus Nonimmigrant Visas

It’s important to distinguish between immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. Although people commonly speak of all noncitizens who arrive in the United States as “immigrants,” immigration law draws a distinction...