Transitioning From Visitor Visa to Green Card

Many visitors have the goal of eventually transitioning from their temporary visa status into permanent residence. The process is legal, but varies by the type of visitor and can be complicated.

It is essential to work with an experienced attorney to navigate the adjustment of status process without falling out of status. Funding options, such as personal loans, are available to cover costs associated with the immigration process. Learn more about Visitor Visa to Green Card Transition.

Business Visitor

If you are in the United States on a Business Visitors Visa (B-1 or B-2) you can change status to a green card after a specified period of time. We can help you determine the proper timeline for your circumstances during a consultation.

We can advise you how long it will take to meet the 90-day rule by taking into account your previous visit dates, the date on your I-94 record, and any employment or other nonimmigrant status changes you have made. We will also consider whether your spouse has already begun the process of obtaining their green card through the Marriage Based Category or Employment-Based Categories such as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

The first step in changing your status is proving that you did not intend to apply for a green card when you applied for the exchange visitor visa. This can be difficult and requires extensive documentation. We can assist you in preparing and filing this form.

Student Visitor

If you participated in an exchange program sponsored by the Department of State and are currently on a J visa, it may be possible for you to transition to your marriage-based green card. In order to do so, you will need to obtain a waiver from the two-year foreign residency requirement. To do this, you must submit the required supporting documentation to the Department of State and pay the applicable fee.

You can also use the online J Visa Waiver Service to submit your application and supporting documentation. This will provide you with DS-3035s that you can print.

It is important to remember that B-1 and B-2 nonimmigrants are not allowed to enroll in a course of study leading to a U.S. degree or academic certificate. Therefore, if you plan to continue your education, you must file an adjustment of status or change to a student (F or M) visa category before your current visitor visa expires.

Tourist Visitor

The B-2 visa allows passport holders of certain countries to enter the United States for tourism purposes or for medical treatment. This is a non-immigrant visa, so those who hold one cannot work. They can only stay in the United States for a limited time.

Visitors who participate in the J-1 exchange visitor program have a legal obligation to return to their home countries after their programs are complete. If the J-1 visa holder wants to seek permanent residence, they must show that their desire to remain in the United States is based on unforeseen circumstances.

A J-1 visa holder who wants to transition to the marriage-based green card process must secure an advance parole travel document from USCIS to be able to travel outside the United States without jeopardizing their adjustment of status application. They must also provide their spouses with a visa number through Form I-130. If the spouse does not already have a green card, she will need to complete the green card process through consular visa processing.

Medical Visitor

Some J-1 visa holders must satisfy a two-year home residency requirement before they can get any work-based green card. This is a rule that applies to foreign medical graduates who have participated in exchange programs sponsored by the United States government or international organizations.

These people are unable to apply for an advance parole travel document or adjust their status while they wait for their home country visas. If they are married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, they can still pursue a green card through consular processing.

However, they would have to provide the Department of State with a detailed explanation and extensive supporting documents about why they want to stay in the United States after their visa expires. They could also choose to file for a waiver of the home residency requirement based on extreme hardship on their families back in their home countries. This requires additional forms and fees.

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