What are Dual Intent Visas and Why Do They Matter?

Last Updated on November 29, 2023


Dual intent visas allow foreign nationals to apply for green card status in the U.S. while still classified under a temporary work visa. The “dual” intent is first, the intent to work in the U.S. with the help of a work visa, and second, the intent to apply for permanent residency. Some of the most popular dual intent visas include the H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visas.

What are the Benefits of Sponsoring Dual Intent Visas?

Sponsoring employees with dual intent visas can help enhance your talent recruiting power since the ability to stay in the United States while applying for a green card is a significant perk for many foreign nationals.

It’s also a great way to emphasize longevity with the organization. By providing a simpler way to apply for permanent residency, you’re able to keep retention numbers higher for foreign national employees.

A dual intent visa is also going to be an attractive visa option for someone who is looking to remain in the U.S. for a longer period of time than most work visas allow, and if your retention strategies are performing well, that could help you attract loyal, dedicated talent to your workforce.

Common Misconceptions

Often, visas that are not classified as dual intent are wrongly assumed to prevent foreign nationals from applying for their green card. But, your employees can have the chance to apply for permanent residency, even if they’re in the U.S. on non-dual intent visas.

The stipulation for most employee-based work visas that are non-dual intent is that the foreign national must show the intent to leave the U.S. This is often proven through the intent to travel out of the U.S. after the work visa duration is up or restrictions preventing the return into the U.S. while a green card application is being processed. A condition called “preconceived intent” requires that a foreign national employee must not have a purpose different than what’s stated on their work visa.

Want to learn more? Check out our updated guide: The ABCs of Immigration: The HR Guide to Employment-Based U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas and Green Cards.

Envoy is pleased to provide you with this information, which was prepared in Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., a U.S. law firm who provides services through the Envoy Platform (the “U.S. Law Firm”).  

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Envoy is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice. If you would like guidance on how this information may impact your particular situation and you are a client of the U.S. Law Firm, consult your attorney. If you are not a client of the U.S. Law Firm working with Envoy, consult another qualified professional. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship with the U.S. Law Firm.