What is the 90-Day Rule in U.S. immigration?
The 90-Day Rule in U.S. immigration refers to a guideline that is applied to individuals who enter the United States on a non-immigrant visa, particularly those who enter on a B-1 or B-2 tourist visa. The rule pertains to individuals who later decide to marry a U.S. citizen and seek to adjust their immigration status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
Under the 90-Day Rule, if an individual marries a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, it can raise suspicions that the individual had preconceived immigrant intent when entering the country as a tourist. This could potentially lead to issues during the adjustment of status process. U.S. immigration authorities may question whether the individual misrepresented their true intentions when entering the country on a non-immigrant visa, as these visas are typically meant for temporary visits and not for the purpose of immigrating.
It’s important to note that the 90-Day Rule is not a formal law or regulation but rather a guideline that immigration officers may consider when evaluating adjustment of status applications. Individuals who marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering the U.S. should be prepared to provide evidence that their marriage and intentions are genuine and not an attempt to circumvent the immigration system.
Navigating the 90-Day Rule can be complex, and individuals in this situation are advised to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that they understand the implications and requirements for their specific case.
How does the 90-Day rule affect an Adjustment of Status application?
The 90-Day Rule can potentially affect an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application in the context of individuals who enter the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, such as a B-1 or B-2 tourist visa, and then marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days of their entry. While it’s not a formal law, it’s a guideline that immigration officers use to evaluate whether an individual had preconceived immigrant intent when entering the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa.
Here’s how the 90-Day Rule can impact an AOS application:
- Scrutiny of Intent: If an individual marries a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, immigration officers may scrutinize the AOS application more closely. They could question whether the individual’s original intent was to marry a U.S. citizen and adjust their status rather than visit temporarily.
- Misrepresentation Concerns: If immigration officers suspect that an individual misrepresented their intentions when entering the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, it could lead to issues during the AOS process. Misrepresenting the purpose of a visit on a non-immigrant visa application could have consequences for the AOS application.
- Burden of Proof: Individuals subject to the 90-Day Rule may need to provide additional evidence to establish the genuineness of their marriage and their intent at the time of entry. This could include documents like photographs, joint financial records, affidavits from family and friends, and other evidence demonstrating the legitimacy of the marriage.
- Request for Further Documentation: The AOS application process may include a request for additional documentation or an interview to determine the authenticity of the marriage and the intentions of the applicant. Officers may want to ensure that the marriage was not entered into solely for immigration benefits.
- Increased Scrutiny on Timing: While marrying a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entry is not prohibited, it can trigger increased scrutiny. Individuals in this situation should be prepared to provide a clear and compelling explanation for the timing of their marriage in relation to their entry.
It’s important to emphasize that the 90-Day Rule is not an absolute barrier to AOS, and many individuals who marry U.S. citizens within 90 days of entry successfully navigate the process. However, due to the potential complexities and challenges, individuals in this situation are strongly advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. An attorney can guide them through the process, help them gather the necessary documentation, and present a strong case to immigration authorities, ultimately increasing the likelihood of a successful AOS application.
How to ensure that I comply with the 90-Day Rule when I file my green card application?
Complying with the 90-Day Rule when filing your green card application (Adjustment of Status) requires careful planning and preparation to demonstrate the legitimacy of your marriage and your intentions at the time of entry. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you ensure compliance:
- Understand the Rule: Familiarize yourself with the 90-Day Rule and its implications. Understand that while it’s not a strict law, it can impact the evaluation of your green card application if you married a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering on a non-immigrant visa.
- Gather Strong Evidence: Collect substantial evidence that supports the authenticity of your marriage and the genuineness of your intentions. This evidence can include joint financial records, shared utility bills, lease agreements, joint tax returns, photographs together, correspondence, and affidavits from friends and family attesting to the validity of your relationship.
- Maintain Consistency: Ensure that your statements, both on your entry documents and your green card application, remain consistent. Any discrepancies could raise concerns about your intent.
- Prepare a Detailed Cover Letter: Include a cover letter with your green card application that provides a clear and detailed explanation of your relationship timeline, including how you met, the development of your relationship, and the reasons for marrying within the 90-day period. Address any potential questions or concerns proactively.
- Explain Timing: In your cover letter, explain the reasons behind the timing of your marriage in relation to your entry. Be transparent about your genuine intentions and any factors that contributed to your decision.
- Obtain Sworn Affidavits: Ask friends and family members who are aware of your relationship to provide sworn affidavits attesting to the authenticity of your marriage and your intentions. These affidavits can carry significant weight in demonstrating the legitimacy of your case.
- Compile Financial Documentation: Gather documentation showing joint financial responsibilities, such as shared bank accounts, joint credit cards, or shared expenses. This can help prove the bona fide nature of your marriage.
- Be Prepared for an Interview: Be ready for the possibility of an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials. Practice answering questions about your relationship, marriage, and intentions. Honesty and consistency are crucial.
- Seek Legal Counsel: Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can help you understand the nuances of your specific case, guide you through the process, and ensure that you present a strong application that addresses potential concerns.
- Submit a Comprehensive Application: Compile all necessary forms, documentation, and evidence as required by USCIS. Follow the application guidelines carefully to ensure that your submission is complete and accurate.
Remember that the goal is to provide a clear and compelling case that demonstrates the legitimacy of your marriage and your genuine intentions, addressing any potential concerns about the 90-Day Rule. Working with an immigration attorney can greatly improve your chances of a successful green card application under these circumstances.