tourists getting married to stay in America

tourists getting married to stay in America

If you were a tourist and after your entry you somehow immediately found the love of your life and decided to get married and stay in America permanently, you need to be careful about when you do apply for the green card. The reason? If you try to adjust your status too soon by applying for a green card shortly after entering America, your application WILL be denied. Why? Because you entered on a tourist visa, you shouldn’t have had intentions to abandon your life back in your home country and begin a new life here on such a hastily made decision. Therefore, it is important that you wait significant time before applying for green card, no matter how urgent you feel you need to start.

The worst case for B-2 tourist visas to apply for green card is within 30 days of entry. This is a guaranteed denial because it makes no sense to the USCIS that someone who had original intentions of visiting America temporarily all of a sudden decided to immigrate permanently to the USA. The B-2 tourist would be classified as having preconceived immigration intentions on entering America on a tourist visa and therefore will be his/her green card application will be ultimately denied.

What about within 60 days? Well, if you try to adjust status to green card within 60 days, you will be classified with strong suspicion of preconceived immigration intentions and it is up to the USCIS officer’s discretion on whether or not to approve or deny your green card application based on your specific situation. This is a 50/50 chance and you can try if you feel lucky and also urgent that you MUST get your green card now. But most likely you should not risk this because applying for a green card is costly and also a denial will count against you for future immigration applications.

For some reason, the magic number is after 90 days. After 90 days in America, it seems that USCIS is satisfied that you have thought it through and that America is so attractive as a place to live that you slowly had the intention of immigrating permanently to the USA. This shouldn’t be hard either because a B-2 visa entry is valid for 6 months or 180 days. Of course if you entered on a visa waiver program, you will be overstaying on your tourist visa, which is actually OK because if you filed, you will be in a limbo Adjustment of Status pending status, which is actually a legal status to remain in America. Not only that, during the pending status, you can also receive a EAD card to work in America. Overstaying is not so bad, check out my article about this very topic. Generally USCIS is forigiving on marriage based green cards if the immigrating alien had overstayed on their visa, provided they did not do anything terribly illegal.


Therefore, remember, before you file that I-130, I-485 and other forms, makes sure you count your days since your entry. Filing too early will not only cause your application to be denied, you will lose thousands of dollars on application fees and the worst consequence is that this denial will look unfavorably on your future immigration applications. You will have to disclose that you had a denial and they will look at your application carefully and suspect every part of your application. Don’t even think about hiding a previous denial as they WILL find out. Love takes time, so should your immigration application. Wait 90 or more days before applying for AOS!

10 thoughts on “The 90 day rule for B-2 tourists applying for marriage based green cards

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  5. Jen

    I had a quick question related to this 30/60 rule..

    I am not on a tourist visa, but an F1 OPT visa. I applied for this visa in Feb 2014, got engaged to a USC in March 2014, and went back to my home country when my F1 visa was up in May 2014. I re-entered the US end of May on my F1 OPT with a job starting in June. Problem is, my then-fiance and I decided to get married end of June (22 days after I entered the country) because we had just moved in together. Now we are wanting to apply for AOS for me, but my visa does not allow immigration intent and we got married shortly after I entered on this visa. If we wait 90 days to file I-130 and I-485 is that okay? I’m not sure if our sudden marriage would be seen as dual intent and visa fraud. Although, the intent for marriage was there (fiance), I did not exactly have intent to apply for AOS. We still are not sure if we will live in the US or Canada when my visa is up, it depends where I get a job offer (I will look in both places). But we’ve discussed it recently and now think it is best for me to apply for AOS to keep more options open.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. admin Post author


      I think in your scenario, just wait to apply for AOS after 90 days would be ok because you were in USA on an F-1 visa before for a few years I assume. Getting married and immigrating is 2 different things. You can get married anytime, but if you apply for AOS you should observe the 90 day rule so that it makes sense that you “thought” about immigration for a while and decided to do it (as opposed to coming to immigrate immediately). Good Luck.

  6. Tenesson

    Hi, I got a quick question. So I entered in December on a waiver visa from Europe to visit my financee and her family. We had am impromptu marriage within 2 weeks of my arrival after which I left the US. After 6 months of marriage, I entered the US again via a visa waiver and now after careful deliberations with my wife, I have decided to stay and apply for an AOS. What are the chances of this being considered a visa fraud?? Anybody please…

    1. admin Post author

      Just apply for AOS after 90 days of your entry and you would be ok.

  7. Temmy

    Hi, I’ve got some question. I entered into the US late August this year on a B2 visa and just got married to my wife 2days ago. I have intention of applying for AOS sometimes first week in December. By the time I’ll be applying for the AOS, I would have exceeded the 90 days rule.
    At the same time, I have an F1 visa that I have not yet activated but have intention of doing so sometimes late December after I must have submitted my document to USCIS for AOS in early December.

    I’ll like to know if it is right for me to still travel out of the US to activate my F1 after I must have filed for AOS. Anybody please…….

    1. admin Post author

      After filing AOS, make sure you file I-131 Advanced Parole which would allow you to leave the country and return without abandoning your AOS application. However, it is unlikely that you will be admitted under the F-1 visa because you filed AOS already. I am afraid you probably cannot begin your studies until you receive your green card. F-1 is for non-immigrant students; you are clearly becoming an immigrant to live and work permanently in America.

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