What are Dual Intent Visas and Why Do They Matter?

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 United States 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 United States. 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 his or her work visa.

Download the Envoy Guide to Green Cards for everything you need to know about giving your employees opportunities to apply for permanent residency.

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