The legal term "dual intent" refers to the concept that an alien can have the intent to enter the United States for a temporary visit under an existing non immigrant visa and also have the intent to immigrate to the United States.
These two intents appear to be complete opposites of each other. It is logical to think that having non immigration intent and also having immigration intent are mutually exclusive of each other. In reality both intents can coexist. It is possible that an alien can have the intent to enter the United States as a non immigrant for specific purposes and also plan to immigrate to the United States.
Congress has determined that certain non immigrant visa holders (even within the class of visa itself) are more likely to possess dual intent and have permitted these visa holders the capacity to enter on that non immigrant visa when there also exists evidence that the alien has immigration intentions.
The issue of dual intent is examined by the agent at the port of entry. The alien requesting admission on a non immigrant visa has to state that she/he has the intent to temporarily stay in the US and leave upon completion of the allotted time for the visa. The issue arises as to being able to honestly state that she/he also has the intent to permanently remain in the US as an immigrant.
An alien who possesses a dual intent should contact an experienced immigration attorney who can examine the facts of her/his case and provide a legal opinion as to the specific use of the doctrine within the scope of that person desire to obtain immigration benefits.