Ask the Consul - If I have an Immigrant Visa (IV) pending, can I qualify for a Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) to visit, work, or study in the United States?
Yes, you can apply for an NIV even if you have a pending IV petition. Because there is a long wait for the majority of IV categories, many people want to travel to the United States while their IV is in process. However, it is important to remember that qualifying for an NIV rests on your ability to show strong ties to your country of residence. These ties may include employment, property, or family. By having an immigrant visa petition, it is evident that you eventually want to live permanently in the United States. Therefore, you must have very strong evidence to demonstrate that you intend return to your country after a temporary stay. This could be prior travel to the United States, or a good job, for example. If the officer is convinced that the applicant will return after their trip, they may receive the visa, even with an open immigrant visa petition.
Applying for an NIV while your IV petition is pending will not hurt your IV case unless you misrepresent yourself or present false documents during your interview. Such actions could result in permanent ineligibilities and prevent the issuance of your immigrant visa, even if your interview is years after your NIV application. If you do receive an NIV, it is very important that you use the visa correctly. If you overstay or otherwise violate the terms of your visa, you could jeopardize your IV case and possibly be found permanently ineligible to immigrate. If you honor the terms of your visa and travel well, it will not negatively affect your immigrant visa petition.
For general information about visas or other Consular and travel topics can be found on the Department of State’s Consular Affairs Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/travelgov or http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html. You can email BridgetownNIV@state.gov directly with specific questions about non-immigrant visas or BridgetownIV@state.gov for questions about non-immigrant visas.