I am writing an article on immigration laws in California

An alien is a citizen of any country other than the United States. A person who comes here to stay permanently is called an immigrant. Someone who intends to return to his or her country of origin is called a nonimmigrant, even if he or she intends to stay for a substantial period of time. For example, a student might stay in the United States many years to complete an education and still be considered a nonimmigrant. The distinction between immigrant and nonimmigrant is crucial. Permission to enter as a nonimmigrant often is easier to get than permission to enter as an immigrant, so some people are tempted to claim they intend to return to their home country in order to enter this country. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is aware of this temptation and often will deny a nonimmigrant visa application to anyone suspected of wanting to remain permanently. Also, being granted a nonimmigrant visa sometimes can make it more difficult to get an immigrant visa later. A permanent resident is an alien who has been given permission to live permanently in the United States.

In a dispute with the INS over an applicant's true intent, the applicant always bears the burden of proving intent to remain here temporarily. For some people, this burden is nearly impossible to meet. For example, the spouse of a permanent resident normally must wait over two years for an available immigrant visa. If he or she claims to want to visit only temporarily, he or she must overcome the presumption that a married person would want to remain permanently with his or her spouse.