The U.S. government uses the term "nonimmigrant" to refer to foreign nationals who are admitted into the United States temporarily for a specific purpose.
F-1 students are considered nonimmigrants because the sole purpose of their entry is to complete a program of study -- a degree -- at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school and possibly pursue practical training opportunities, both of which have set start and end dates.
Once an international student fulfills their purpose for coming to the United States, they need to either change their immigration status or depart the country.
Non-Immigrant visas are therefore considered temporary visas. Most non-immigration visas also have a maximum allotted timeframe.
Non-Immigrant Visa Information
H-1B visas are standard professional work visas. This non-immigrant classification applies to people performing services in a specialty occupation and/or services of exceptional merit and ability.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa category was created for the purpose of cultural and educational exchange. This visa category is used for exchange visitors engaged in study, research and teaching. It is not appropriate for tenure-track faculty. For more information, visit our J-1 Visa page as well as USCIS.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level. For more information, visit our TN-1 Visa page or USCIS.