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“Dual Intent” refers to specific types of nonimmigrant [temporary] visas which – while temporary like all nonimmigrant visas – also allow the visa holder to have the intention of eventually remaining in the US on a permanent basis. Most nonimmigrant visas require strict “nonimmigrant intent” – the intent to remain in the US only temporarily and then to return to a home in another country. Often B-1/B-2 visitor visas and F-1 Student visas are denied mostly because a consular post is unconvinced of the person’s intent to return home at the end of their trip. Even a person already granted a nonimmigrant visa which is not dual intent and who has been admitted to the US may have trouble getting a replacement for that visa or be refused admission if they have since done something indicating an intent to remain permanently – such as having a permanent residence case filed on their behalf.

Legally, ONLY H-1B visas and L-1 visas are “dual intent,” allowing the person to use this visa to reenter the US even though they may have demonstrated an intention to apply for permanent residence. Sometimes, even an L-1A visa that is supposed to be “dual intent” isn’t treated that way by USCIS – when an L-1A is actually an owner of the underlying business, USCIS will insist on an intent to return abroad at the conclusion of a limited-term “assignment” with the US entity.

Not officially. But there are visas that are in something of a “grey area.” Both the E-1/E-2 category and the O-1 category – while not designated as “dual intent” visas – don’t require the visa holder to maintain a residence abroad in most cases.