Changing your status from a B-1/B-2 visitor visa to a Marriage Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) in the United States involves several steps and a thorough understanding of the process. Here’s a detailed guide:
1. Determine Eligibility: Before you proceed, make sure you are eligible for a Marriage Green Card. Generally, you must be married to a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder and meet other eligibility criteria, such as not having any immigration violations or criminal convictions that could make you ineligible.
2. Marriage: Ensure that you are legally married to a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder. A valid marriage certificate is a crucial document in this process.
3. Petition (Form I-130): The first step is for your U.S. citizen or Green Card holder spouse to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. This form establishes the familial relationship between you and your spouse.
4. Form I-485 Adjustment of Status: Once the I-130 is approved (which can take several months), you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is used to apply for your Marriage Green Card while you are in the United States. Along with this form, you will need to provide supporting documents like your marriage certificate, birth certificate, medical examination results, and other required evidence.
5. Biometrics Appointment: After submitting Form I-485, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for background checks.
6. Work and Travel Authorization (Optional): While your I-485 is pending, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) using Form I-765 if you want to work in the U.S. Additionally, you can apply for advance parole (Form I-131) to travel outside the U.S. while your Green Card application is being processed.
7. Attend Interviews: You and your spouse will be required to attend an interview at a local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. The interview is to verify the authenticity of your marriage and your eligibility for the Green Card. Bring all relevant documents and be prepared to answer questions about your relationship.
8. Conditional Green Card (if applicable): If your marriage is less than two years old when you are granted a Green Card, you will receive a Conditional Green Card. Before the two-year anniversary of receiving your Conditional Green Card, you’ll need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent Green Card.
9. Receive the Marriage Green Card: If your application is approved, you will receive your Marriage Green Card in the mail. This card serves as evidence of your legal permanent resident status in the U.S.
It’s important to note that immigration processes can be complex and subject to changes in regulations, so it’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or legal expert to ensure you navigate the process accurately and effectively. This guide provides a general overview, but individual cases may have unique circumstances that require personalized attention.
Does the 90-Day Rule apply to me if I am on a B-1/B-2 visa and want to apply for a marriage green card?
Yes, the 90-day rule can potentially apply to you if you are on a B-1/B-2 visa and are considering applying for a marriage-based Green Card. The 90-day rule refers to a guideline used by U.S. immigration authorities to determine whether a person’s actions are inconsistent with the stated purpose of their visa.
If you enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa with the intention of getting married and applying for a Green Card, and you take such actions within 90 days of entering the country, it could raise concerns that you misrepresented the true purpose of your visit when you entered as a visitor. This could result in a denial of your Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) application.
It’s important to note that the 90-day rule is not a formal law but rather a guideline used by immigration officers to assess cases. They will look at your actions and intentions during the first 90 days of your entry to determine whether you had a preconceived intent to immigrate when you entered as a visitor.
To navigate this situation carefully:
- Be Transparent: If you decide to get married and apply for a Green Card shortly after entering the U.S., it’s important to be transparent about your intentions when you enter the country. If you’re asked about your plans during your entry interview or at the border, be truthful.
- Consult an Immigration Attorney: Given the complexity of the situation and the potential implications, it’s highly advisable to consult with an immigration attorney before making any decisions. They can provide guidance on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.
- Document Your Intentions: If you had a change of plans after entering the U.S. and decided to pursue a marriage-based Green Card, it’s important to document your change of intent. This could include emails, text messages, or other evidence that show how your plans evolved.
- Consider Waiting: If you’re concerned about the 90-day rule, you might consider waiting until after the initial 90 days of your entry before getting married and applying for a Green Card. This can help mitigate any suspicion of preconceived intent.
Remember that each case is unique, and the decision to apply for a marriage-based Green Card while on a B-1/B-2 visa should be made after careful consideration of your circumstances and legal advice. Consulting an immigration attorney will provide you with the best understanding of how the 90-day rule could affect your situation and how to proceed in the most appropriate and lawful manner.
Tips on successful change of status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card
Successfully changing status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card requires careful planning, adherence to immigration regulations, and thorough documentation. Here are some tips to increase the chances of a successful transition:
- Plan Ahead: If you’re considering marriage and a Green Card application, start planning early. Understand the process, gather necessary documents, and consult an immigration attorney to navigate potential complexities.
- Be Transparent and Truthful: From your initial entry into the U.S., be transparent about your intentions. If questioned by immigration officers, provide truthful and consistent answers about your plans.
- Consult an Immigration Attorney: Enlist the help of an experienced immigration attorney. They can provide tailored advice based on your situation, guide you through paperwork, and help you avoid common pitfalls.
- Document Your Relationship: Provide ample evidence of your genuine relationship. This includes photos, joint financial records, communication history, and any other documents that establish the authenticity of your marriage.
- Compile Strong Evidence: Your Green Card application relies on convincing evidence of your marriage’s legitimacy. Bank statements, lease agreements, joint bills, insurance policies, and affidavits from friends and family can all strengthen your case.
- Maintain Legal Status: While your application is pending, ensure you maintain your legal status. If your B-1/B-2 status expires before your Green Card application is approved, you could face complications.
- Prepare for Interviews: Be well-prepared for the interviews that are part of the Green Card application process. Practice answering questions about your relationship to ensure consistency.
- Follow Instructions Carefully: USCIS provides detailed instructions for every form and process. Read and follow these instructions meticulously to avoid delays or denials.
- Submit Complete Forms: Ensure all required forms are complete, signed, and filed accurately. Any missing information could lead to a rejection.
- Stay Updated: Immigration laws and procedures can change. Stay informed about any updates or changes that could affect your case.
- Consider Legal Representation: Immigration law can be complex. Having a qualified attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of success.
- Be Patient: The process can take time due to USCIS processing times and potential backlogs. Patience is key.
- Keep Records: Maintain copies of all documents submitted and received. This includes application forms, supporting documents, receipts, and notices.
- Respond Promptly: If USCIS requests additional documentation or information, respond promptly to avoid processing delays.
- Maintain Open Communication: If you have an attorney representing you, keep them informed of any changes in your circumstances or contact information.
Remember, each case is unique, and success hinges on thorough preparation, honesty, and adherence to immigration regulations. Consulting with an immigration attorney is highly recommended to tailor a strategy to your specific situation and increase the likelihood of a successful change of status to a Marriage Green Card.