Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background
A nonimmigrant is a noncitizen 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. In order to be admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant, the noncitizen must generally have a permanent residence abroad and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought.
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.
INA 101(a)(15) – Nonimmigrant classifications