Navigating the Immigration Journey: Mastering the 90-Day Rule and Adjustment of Status

What is the 90-Day Rule in US immigration?

The 90-Day Rule in U.S. immigration refers to a guideline that applies to individuals who enter the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, specifically the B-1/B-2 tourist or business visitor visa. The rule is not a formal regulation but rather a common practice followed by U.S. immigration officials when assessing certain immigration-related situations.

Under the 90-Day Rule, if a person enters the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa with the intention of engaging in certain activities that could lead to immigrant intent (such as getting married to a U.S. citizen or applying for permanent residency), and they engage in those activities within 90 days of entering the country, it could potentially raise concerns about misrepresentation or fraud.

For instance, if someone enters the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa and then gets married to a U.S. citizen or applies for a green card through marriage within 90 days of their arrival, it might lead immigration officials to question whether the individual had truly intended to engage in tourist activities as initially stated on their visa application.

It’s important to note that the 90-Day Rule is not a hard-and-fast rule, and individual circumstances can vary. Adhering to the principle of honesty and transparency with immigration authorities is crucial. If someone has genuine reasons for changing their plans after entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, it’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure compliance with immigration regulations and avoid any unintended consequences.

What are the consequences of the 90-Day Rule?

The consequences of the 90-Day Rule in U.S. immigration can vary based on the specific circumstances and actions taken by the individual. While the 90-Day Rule is not an official regulation, U.S. immigration authorities may consider certain actions within the first 90 days of entry on a nonimmigrant visa as potential indicators of misrepresentation or fraud. Here are some potential consequences and scenarios associated with the 90-Day Rule:

  • Denial of Change of Status or Adjustment of Status: If someone enters the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and applies for a change of status (e.g., from B-2 tourist to F-1 student) or an adjustment of status (e.g., from B-2 tourist to permanent resident through marriage), immigration officials may scrutinize whether the individual’s actions are consistent with their original stated intent on the visa application. If they find that the individual misrepresented their intent, it could lead to denial of the application and potentially jeopardize future immigration applications.
  • Visa Revocation: If immigration authorities determine that a person misrepresented their intent or provided false information on their visa application, they could revoke the person’s visa. This could affect the individual’s ability to enter the U.S. in the future.
  • Deportation or Removal Proceedings: In cases where it’s determined that a person deliberately misrepresented their intentions or committed fraud by entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and then taking actions contrary to their stated purpose, they could be placed in deportation or removal proceedings.
  • Barred from Reentry: If immigration authorities find evidence of willful misrepresentation or fraud, the individual could be barred from reentering the U.S. for a specified period of time, depending on the severity of the violation.
  • Impact on Future Immigration Applications: Even if an individual’s actions within the first 90 days don’t lead to immediate consequences, they could still impact future immigration applications. U.S. immigration officials may view a history of inconsistent actions or misrepresentation negatively when evaluating future visa or immigration petitions.
  • Legal and Financial Consequences: Engaging in activities that violate immigration laws could have legal and financial implications, including legal fees, potential fines, and other penalties associated with immigration violations.

It’s important to emphasize that each case is unique, and not all actions taken within the first 90 days will lead to negative consequences. If someone’s plans change after entering the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, they should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand the best course of action and ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. As immigration policies can change, it’s advisable to seek advice from up-to-date and reliable sources or legal professionals.

How does the 90-Day rule affect the Adjustment of Status application?

The 90-Day Rule can have implications for the Adjustment of Status (AOS) application when someone enters the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and then seeks to adjust their status to become a permanent resident, usually through marriage to a U.S. citizen. Here’s how the 90-Day Rule can affect the AOS application process:

  • Intent and Timing: The 90-Day Rule revolves around the concept of intent. If an individual enters the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist visa (B-2), and then takes actions that indicate an intent to stay permanently within 90 days of entry (e.g., marrying a U.S. citizen and filing an AOS application), it might raise concerns that they misrepresented their original intent on the visa application.
  • Potential Scrutiny: Immigration officials might closely examine the circumstances surrounding the AOS application filed within the first 90 days. If they find evidence that the individual’s intentions at the time of visa application were different from the actions taken after entry, it could lead to suspicion of misrepresentation or fraud.
  • Evidence and Documentation: To mitigate concerns arising from the 90-Day Rule, applicants need to provide clear and convincing evidence that their intent genuinely changed after entry, rather than being preplanned. This could involve demonstrating a legitimate change in circumstances, such as a genuine decision to marry a U.S. citizen based on developments that occurred after arrival.
  • Consulting an Attorney: Given the complexity of immigration law and the potential consequences of violating the 90-Day Rule, individuals considering filing an AOS application within the first 90 days should consult an experienced immigration attorney. An attorney can provide guidance on how to navigate the process, gather appropriate documentation, and ensure compliance with immigration regulations.
  • Transparency and Honesty: Regardless of the 90-Day Rule, transparency and honesty are essential throughout the AOS application process. If an applicant’s circumstances genuinely change and they wish to pursue permanent residency, it’s important to provide accurate information and explain any changes in circumstances that led to the decision.
  • Adjudication: Each AOS application is evaluated on its individual merits. If immigration officials determine that an AOS applicant genuinely had a change of intent after entry and followed the appropriate legal procedures, the AOS application could be approved. However, if officials find evidence of preplanned intent to adjust status upon entry, it could lead to denial and potential consequences.