What is the 90-day rule?
The “90-day rule” refers to a guideline that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses to determine whether certain actions taken by individuals applying for adjustment of status (green card) might indicate “preconceived intent” to remain in the United States permanently before obtaining a green card. This guideline is not an official regulation but is often used by USCIS officers to assess cases where an applicant’s intentions and actions are being examined closely.
The 90-day rule is typically applied in the context of nonimmigrant visa holders who enter the United States and then marry a U.S. citizen or file an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) within 90 days of their entry. If the marriage or adjustment of status application occurs within this 90-day period, USCIS may scrutinize the case more closely to determine if the individual had an intent to immigrate to the U.S. before they entered on a nonimmigrant visa.
If USCIS believes that the individual entered the U.S. with a preconceived intent to marry and apply for adjustment of status, they might conclude that the individual misrepresented their intentions when entering on a nonimmigrant visa. This could potentially lead to the denial of the adjustment of status application and other negative immigration consequences.
It’s important to note that the 90-day rule is a guideline and not a strict regulation. USCIS officers have some discretion in applying this rule. Additionally, the rule may not apply to all cases, and its application can vary based on individual circumstances.
If you are considering applying for adjustment of status within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, especially if you’ve recently married a U.S. citizen, it’s important to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative. They can provide guidance on how the 90-day rule might apply to your situation and help you navigate the adjustment of status process to avoid potential issues related to preconceived intent.
Can the 90-day rule negatively affect my green card application?
Yes, the 90-day rule can potentially affect your green card application if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that you entered the United States with a preconceived intent to stay permanently before obtaining a green card. This could lead to negative consequences, including the denial of your adjustment of status application (Form I-485) and potentially other immigration issues.
Here’s how the 90-day rule can impact your green card application:
- Misrepresentation of Intent: If USCIS believes that you entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa (such as a tourist visa) with the intention of marrying a U.S. citizen and applying for a green card shortly thereafter, they might view this as a misrepresentation of your intent when entering on a temporary visa.
- Possible Denial: USCIS might deny your adjustment of status application if they conclude that you had a preconceived intent to immigrate when you entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa. This can lead to delays, additional legal fees, and the need to address the issues in your application.
- Adverse Immigration Consequences: A denial based on the 90-day rule could potentially have other negative immigration consequences, such as future visa denials, difficulties reentering the U.S., and potential immigration violations.
- Scrutiny of Application: If you file for adjustment of status within the 90-day period after entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, USCIS officers might scrutinize your application more closely to assess your intentions and determine whether you had a genuine intention to maintain nonimmigrant status.
To mitigate the potential negative impact of the 90-day rule on your green card application, it’s important to:
- Consult with an Immigration Attorney: If you’re planning to marry a U.S. citizen and apply for adjustment of status within the 90-day window, consider consulting with an immigration attorney. They can help you navigate the process, gather necessary evidence, and avoid potential pitfalls.
- Demonstrate Genuine Intent: Make sure your actions and documentation reflect your genuine intentions. Keep evidence of your nonimmigrant intent when entering the U.S., such as proof of return tickets, ongoing ties to your home country, and a legitimate purpose for your initial visit.
- Be Prepared for Scrutiny: If you decide to marry and file for adjustment of status within the 90-day period, be prepared for USCIS to closely examine your case. Provide strong evidence of the bona fide nature of your marriage and your intention to comply with immigration regulations.
Remember that immigration laws and regulations can change, and individual cases can vary. It’s essential to stay informed and seek advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances.
How does the 90-day rule affect the Adjustment of Status?
The 90-day rule can affect the adjustment of status (green card) process by potentially raising concerns about an applicant’s intentions when filing for adjustment of status shortly after entering the United States on a nonimmigrant visa. While the 90-day rule is not an official regulation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers might use it as a guideline to evaluate whether an applicant had a preconceived intent to immigrate before entering the U.S. on a temporary visa.
Here’s how the 90-day rule can impact the adjustment of status process:
- Increased Scrutiny: If you marry a U.S. citizen and apply for adjustment of status within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa (such as a tourist visa), USCIS officers might view this as a “red flag” that prompts them to scrutinize your case more closely.
- Intent Consideration: USCIS will assess whether you entered the U.S. with a bona fide intent to engage in the activities permitted by your nonimmigrant visa (such as tourism or studying) or if you actually entered with the preconceived intent to marry and apply for a green card.
- Demonstrating Nonimmigrant Intent: If you intend to adjust status within the 90-day period, you’ll need to provide evidence that supports your nonimmigrant intent when you entered the U.S. This could include return tickets, proof of ties to your home country, and documentation showing that your original purpose for entering the U.S. was not to marry and stay permanently.
- Bona Fide Marriage Evidence: USCIS will carefully review the evidence of your marriage to ensure its authenticity and to determine if it was entered into in good faith rather than for immigration purposes.
- Potential Request for Additional Evidence: USCIS might request additional evidence to establish the legitimacy of your marriage and your intentions. This could include documents showing shared financial responsibilities, joint property ownership, and evidence of a genuine marital relationship.
- Possible Denial: If USCIS determines that you entered the U.S. with a preconceived intent to marry and adjust status, your application could be denied. This could lead to the need to reapply, delays, and potential immigration consequences.
To navigate the adjustment of status process successfully and mitigate the potential impact of the 90-day rule:
- Consult an Immigration Attorney: If you’re planning to marry and apply for a green card within the 90-day window, it’s advisable to consult an immigration attorney. They can help you gather strong evidence, prepare your application, and address any potential issues.
- Be Transparent: Be truthful and transparent throughout the process. Provide accurate information and demonstrate the genuine nature of your marriage.
- Document Your Intentions: If you have a legitimate reason for entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and subsequently adjusting status, make sure to document your intentions and maintain evidence that supports your original intent.
Remember that immigration rules can be complex and subject to change. Seeking advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney is a valuable step to ensure that you navigate the adjustment of status process successfully and comply with all relevant regulations.