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Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background

A. Purpose

A nonimmigrant is an alien who is admitted to the United States for a specific temporary period of time. Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) lists most categories of nonimmigrants; additionally, nonimmigrant categories may be authorized in legislation other than the INA.[1] In order to be admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant, an alien must generally have a permanent residence abroad and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought.

B. Background

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues nonimmigrant visas at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Background and history specific to each nonimmigrant visa is discussed in the category-specific parts of the Policy Manual.

C. Legal Authorities

Footnote


[^ 1] For example, certain professional nonimmigrants are authorized under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and implementing legislation and regulations. See 8 CFR 214.6.

Appendices

Appendix: Summary of Nonimmigrant Categories Subject to Public Benefits Condition

Updates

POLICY ALERT - Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with the Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This guidance becomes effective October 2, 2020. For information regarding implementation, see our litigation summary.

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Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].