Changing your status from a B-1/B-2 tourist visa to a marriage-based green card is a significant step toward establishing permanent residency in the United States. This process allows you to remain in the country legally and build a life with your spouse. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to navigate this transition:
- Understand the Process: Before initiating the process, familiarize yourself with the requirements and steps involved in changing your status. This will help you plan and prepare accordingly.
- Marry a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident: To be eligible for a marriage-based green card, you must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder). If you’re not married yet, you’ll need to tie the knot before proceeding.
- Choose the Right Application Path: There are two main application paths: Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) and Consular Processing (DS-260). Adjustment of Status is for those who are already in the U.S., while Consular Processing is for applicants outside the country. Determine which path suits your situation.
- File the Petition: The U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. This petition establishes the relationship and initiates the process.
- Submit Supporting Documents: Compile and submit necessary documents such as marriage certificates, passports, proof of legal entry on B-1/B-2 status, financial records, and affidavits of support. These documents validate your eligibility and relationship.
- Complete Medical Examination: Undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician. This ensures you meet the health requirements for immigration.
- Attend Biometrics Appointment: After submitting your application, you’ll be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. This involves providing fingerprints, photographs, and signature for background checks.
- Attend Interviews: Both you and your spouse (petitioner) will need to attend an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is a crucial step to assess the authenticity of your marriage and intentions.
- Demonstrate Genuine Marriage: During the interview, be prepared to answer questions about your relationship history, shared experiences, living arrangements, and future plans. USCIS officers aim to determine the legitimacy of your marriage.
- Await Approval: After the interview, USCIS will review your case and make a decision. If approved, you will receive your conditional green card, valid for two years.
- Remove Conditions: Within the 90-day period before your conditional green card expires, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This application is to remove the conditions on your green card and obtain a permanent (10-year) green card.
- Embrace Permanent Residency: Once you have your permanent green card, you’re a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. You’ll have the freedom to live, work, and study in the country, and you’ll be on the path to eventual citizenship if you choose.
Remember that the process can be complex, and the requirements may change. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or use the official resources provided by USCIS to ensure accurate and up-to-date information throughout your application journey.
Does the 90-Day Rule apply to change of status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card?
Yes, the 90-day rule does apply to changing your status from a B-1/B-2 tourist visa to a marriage-based green card. The 90-day rule refers to a policy implemented by the U.S. government to scrutinize cases where individuals marry U.S. citizens or green card holders shortly after entering the U.S. on non-immigrant visas, such as B-1/B-2 visas, and then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (green card) based on that marriage.
Under this rule, if you marry a U.S. citizen or green card holder and apply for adjustment of status within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa, there is a presumption that you had preconceived immigrant intent when you entered on the tourist visa. This means that you may encounter more stringent scrutiny during the green card application process, as officials may suspect that you entered the U.S. with the intention of staying permanently from the outset, rather than for temporary tourism.
It’s important to note that while the 90-day rule creates a presumption of preconceived intent, it doesn’t automatically render your application invalid or ineligible. You will still have the opportunity to provide evidence and explanations to demonstrate the legitimacy of your marriage and your intentions at the time of entry.
To navigate this potential issue successfully, make sure you:
- Be Honest and Transparent: Provide accurate information about your circumstances and intentions. Do not misrepresent your intentions or try to hide the fact that you married shortly after entering the U.S.
- Provide Strong Evidence: Furnish substantial evidence of the authenticity of your marriage, including documents that demonstrate your shared life, experiences, and future plans together.
- Explain Your Situation: If your decision to marry and apply for a green card within 90 days was based on unexpected changes or events, be prepared to provide a clear and credible explanation for the timeline.
- Consult an Immigration Attorney: Given the potential complexities of the situation, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the process, help you prepare a strong case, and navigate any potential challenges.
Ultimately, while the 90-day rule adds an additional layer of consideration to your application, it does not automatically disqualify you from obtaining a marriage-based green card. Your ability to provide compelling evidence of the legitimacy of your marriage and your intentions will play a crucial role in the success of your application.
What immigration forms must be filed to change status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card?
To change your status from a B-1/B-2 tourist visa to a marriage green card, you’ll need to file several immigration forms. The specific forms you need to file will depend on your situation, such as whether you’re already in the U.S. or outside the country. Here are the main forms typically involved in the process:
If You Are Inside the U.S. (Adjustment of Status):
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: This form is filed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse to establish the familial relationship between you and the petitioner.
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: This form is used to apply for the adjustment of your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) while you’re already in the U.S.
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: If you want to work in the U.S. while your green card application is being processed, you can file this form to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document: If you need to travel outside the U.S. while your green card application is pending, you can file this form to request a travel permit, also known as Advance Parole.
If You Are Outside the U.S. (Consular Processing):
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: Similar to the above process, your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse files this form to establish the familial relationship.
- Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application: This form is submitted to the U.S. Department of State and is required for consular processing. It collects information about you and your intended immigration to the U.S.
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support: This form is filed by your spouse to demonstrate that they have the financial means to support you and prevent you from becoming a public charge.
In both cases, you’ll need to provide supporting documentation such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, passport copies, evidence of legal entry into the U.S., financial records, and other relevant documents.
It’s important to note that immigration processes can be complex and may change over time. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to visit the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure you have the most up-to-date information and accurate guidance for your specific situation.