Navigating the Gray Area: Understanding the 90-Day Rule and Mastering Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration

The 90-Day Rule is a concept related to the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process for certain visa holders in the United States. The Adjustment of Status is the process through which certain non-immigrant visa holders can apply to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) without leaving the United States.

The 90-Day Rule primarily impacts individuals who enter the US on non-immigrant visas, such as B-1/B-2 visitor visas or visa waiver program (VWP) status, but then decide to marry a US citizen or permanent resident and pursue the Adjustment of Status process. This rule is intended to prevent visa fraud and misuse of non-immigrant visas for the purpose of immigrating to the US while circumventing the proper immigrant visa application process. Please click here for more information: lithuanian citizenship by descent

The basic idea of the 90-Day Rule is as follows: If an individual enters the US on a non-immigrant visa and then marries a US citizen or permanent resident within 90 days of entry, the immigration authorities might view this as a violation of the terms of the original non-immigrant visa. They may suspect that the individual had preconceived intentions to immigrate when entering the US on a non-immigrant visa, which could potentially lead to denial of the Adjustment of Status application.

In other words, if someone marries a US citizen or permanent resident within 90 days of entering the US on a non-immigrant visa and then applies for Adjustment of Status, the immigration authorities might scrutinize the case more closely to determine whether the marriage is genuine and whether the individual’s intent at the time of entry was consistent with the terms of their non-immigrant visa.

It’s important to note that the 90-Day Rule is not an automatic bar to Adjustment of Status. Individuals who marry US citizens or permanent residents within 90 days of entry can still apply for Adjustment of Status, but they should be prepared for the possibility of additional scrutiny and the need to provide strong evidence of the legitimacy of their marriage and their original intent when entering the US.

If you or someone you know is considering the Adjustment of Status process, it’s recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or to refer to the most recent official information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to understand the current status of the 90-Day Rule and its implications.

What is the difference between dual intent and single intent visas in the U.S.?

In the context of U.S. immigration law, the concepts of “dual intent” and “single intent” visas refer to the intention of a non-immigrant visa holder when entering the United States and their potential path towards immigration or permanent residency. These concepts help distinguish between visas that allow both temporary visits and potential future immigration, and those that are strictly meant for temporary visits without the intent to immigrate.

  • Dual Intent Visas: Dual intent visas allow individuals to have both the intent to temporarily visit the U.S. for a specific purpose (such as work, study, or tourism) and the intent to potentially immigrate and seek permanent residency in the future. Holders of dual intent visas can apply for adjustment of status to become permanent residents without violating the terms of their visa.

Examples of dual intent visas include the H-1B visa for skilled workers, the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees, and the O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities. These visas recognize that individuals with valuable skills or expertise might come to the U.S. for temporary work purposes but may decide to settle and apply for permanent residency if the opportunity arises.

  • Single Intent Visas: Single intent visas are meant strictly for temporary visits, and individuals applying for these visas are generally required to demonstrate their non-immigrant intent. This means that they need to show strong ties to their home country and a clear intention to return once their authorized stay in the U.S. ends. Expressing the intent to immigrate or apply for permanent residency while on a single intent visa can lead to visa denial or other complications.

Examples of single intent visas include the B-1/B-2 visitor visas for business and tourism purposes, the F-1 student visa, and the J-1 exchange visitor visa. Individuals on these visas are expected to leave the U.S. after their authorized stay ends and are not supposed to apply for adjustment of status within the U.S.

It’s important to note that even with dual intent visas, the intention of the visa holder is taken into consideration during the visa application process and any subsequent immigration proceedings. Having a dual intent visa does not guarantee approval for permanent residency, and applicants must still meet the eligibility requirements for the specific immigration benefit they are seeking.

U.S. immigration laws and regulations can be complex and subject to change. If you are considering entering the U.S. on a specific visa and have questions about the intent associated with that visa or the potential paths to immigration, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or refer to official information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

What visas are dual intent visas?

Several visas in the United States are considered dual intent visas. These visas allow individuals to have both the intention to temporarily visit the U.S. for a specific purpose and the intention to potentially immigrate and seek permanent residency in the future. Keep in mind that immigration policies can change, so it’s important to verify the current status of these visas with official sources. Here are some examples of dual intent visas:

  • H-1B Visa: The H-1B visa is for foreign workers in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Holders of H-1B visas can pursue permanent residency while in the U.S.
  • L-1 Visa: The L-1 visa is for intracompany transferees, allowing multinational companies to transfer employees from foreign offices to U.S. offices. L-1 visa holders can apply for permanent residency.
  • O-1 Visa: The O-1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in fields such as science, arts, education, business, or athletics. O-1 visa holders can pursue permanent residency.
  • E-1 and E-2 Visas: These visas are for treaty traders (E-1) and treaty investors (E-2) who engage in substantial trade or investment activities between the U.S. and their home country. While these visas are non-immigrant visas, they do not have strict prohibitions on pursuing permanent residency.
  • U Visa: The U visa is for victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement. U visa holders may eventually apply for permanent residency.
  • T Visa: The T visa is for victims of human trafficking who have been brought to the U.S. against their will. T visa holders can seek permanent residency.
  • K Visa (K-1 and K-3): The K-1 visa is for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, while the K-3 visa is for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Both K visas allow the holders to enter the U.S. to get married and apply for permanent residency.
  • V Visa (V-1 and V-2): The V-1 visa is for the spouse and the V-2 visa is for the child of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). These visas allow family members to live in the U.S. while waiting for their green card applications to be processed.

It’s important to remember that while these visas have dual intent provisions, the immigration process and requirements for obtaining permanent residency can still be rigorous. If you’re considering applying for a dual intent visa or pursuing permanent residency in the U.S., it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or refer to official information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information.

How to ensure that I comply with the 90-Day Rule when I file my Adjustment of Status application with USCIS?

Complying with the 90-Day Rule when filing an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) involves demonstrating that you did not have the intent to immigrate at the time you entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you comply with the 90-Day Rule and improve your chances of a successful AOS application:

  • Consult an Immigration Attorney: It’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances. They can help you understand how the 90-Day Rule applies to your case and how to prepare a strong AOS application.
  • Maintain Consistency: Ensure that your actions and intentions remain consistent with the type of non-immigrant visa you initially entered the U.S. on. For example, if you entered on a tourist visa, engage in activities that align with tourism rather than activities that suggest intent to stay permanently.
  • Gather Strong Evidence of Genuine Intent: Collect evidence that demonstrates your genuine intent when entering the U.S. This could include travel itineraries, hotel reservations, return flight tickets, and other documents that show your temporary visit plans.
  • Document Relationship: If you got married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident within 90 days of entry, provide strong evidence of the bona fide nature of your relationship. This can include photographs, joint financial documents, affidavits from friends and family, and any other proof of your genuine relationship.
  • Affidavit of Support: If your spouse or family member is sponsoring your AOS application, make sure they meet the financial requirements by submitting an accurate and complete Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support).
  • Explain Change in Circumstances: If your circumstances changed after entering the U.S. that led to your decision to pursue AOS, provide a clear and credible explanation for this change. This can help counter any suspicion of preconceived intent to immigrate.
  • Avoid Misrepresentation: Be honest and truthful throughout the entire application process. Providing false information or misrepresenting your intentions can have serious consequences for your immigration status.
  • Comprehensive AOS Application: Prepare a thorough and well-documented AOS application. Include all required forms, supporting documents, and fees as outlined by USCIS.
  • Attend Interviews: If requested by USCIS, attend any interviews related to your AOS application. Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship and your intent when entering the U.S.
  • Be Patient: The AOS process can take time. Be patient and follow any instructions or requests from USCIS during the application process.

Remember that complying with the 90-Day Rule does not guarantee approval of your AOS application, as USCIS considers multiple factors when reviewing applications. An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the process, helping you present your case in the best possible light and addressing any concerns related to the 90-Day Rule or other immigration matters.

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