Can B-1/B-2 Visa Holders obtain Marriage-Based Green Cards?
B-1/B-2 visa holders need to consider the time restrictions of their temporary visa before applying for Green Cards. The marriage-based Green Card processes are similar to other nonimmigrant marriage-based Green Card application processes but there is an important factor to check, the 90-Day Rule. Read this article and figure out the best way for B-1/B-2 visa holders to apply for Green Cards, either the consular processing or the adjustment of status.
I. What is a B-1/B-2 Visa?
A B-1 visa is reserved for nonimmigrants who participate in business activities of either commercial or professional nature. In general, it is referred to by the USCIS as a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor.
A B-2 visa is reserved for nonimmigrants who are visiting the United States for tourism or pleasure.
In general, a B-1/B-2 visa is for nonimmigrants who have a combination of business and tourism purposes.
II. Where can a B-1/B-2 Visa holder apply for a Marriage-Based Green Card?
Depending on the residence situation of the B-1/B-2 visa nonimmigrant’s, the nonimmigrant may be able to apply for a marriage-based Green Card from within the United States. The B-1/B-2 visa nonimmigrant may choose to apply from its home country through consular processing, but may also choose to apply for adjustment of status while residing within the United States. However, due to the U.S. Department of State’s 90-Day Rule, when choosing to apply while within the U.S., the nonimmigrant’s application for a marriage-based Green Card will be strictly reviewed.
III. What is the U.S. Department of State’s 90-Day Rule?
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) developed its 90-Day Rule in order to determine whether a nonimmigrant willfully misrepresented his or her intents when applying for their visa application. The 90-day rule indicates that if a nonimmigrant engages in conduct that violates his or her immigration status or made misrepresentation of their intent to enter the United States on a temporary visa, these actions will raise concern with the USCIS. Specifically, if it becomes apparent that a nonimmigrant temporary visa holder entered the United States with the false intent to permanently reside within the United States, and engages in prohibited actions, such as obtaining a marriage-based Green Card, it is highly likely that the Green Card application will be denied, along with the revocation of any current temporary visa. As a result, should a nonimmigrant temporary visa holder file for a marriage-based Green Card application within 90-days of arrival to the United States, it will be presumed that they willfully made misrepresentations about their intentions when entering the United States using a temporary visa. Although life situations can be unforeseeable and unexpected, it is highly recommended that a marriage-based Green Card application waits beyond the 90-day window to avoid any suspicions or having the need to convince USCIS officers that no misrepresentations were made.
IV. How can a B-1/B-2 Visa holder apply for a Marriage-Based Green Card?
As with other nonimmigrants, a B-1/B-2 can apply for a marriage-based Green Card when they marry either a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Green Card holder. Although the processes might be similar, there are differences with each process that must be explored.
V. What are the steps when a B-1/B-2 Visa holder marries a U.S. Citizen?
When a B-1/B-2 visa holder marries a U.S. citizen, he or she will follow the same procedure as other nonimmigrant spouses that marry a U.S. citizen. The U.S. citizen spouse sponsor will complete and file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), and the B-1/B-2 visa holder will complete and file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) as the marriage-Green Card applicant. As mentioned above, whether the B-1/B-2 visa holder chooses to complete the application while within the United States or back home through consular processing is dependent on a case by case situation.
VI. How long does it take to obtain a marriage-based Green Card when married to a U.S. Citizen?
Depending on the processing time of local field offices, when a nonimmigrant married to a U.S. citizen applies for a marriage-based Green Card, the estimated approval time is 10 to 13 months.
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VII. What are the steps when a B-1/B-2 Visa holder marries a U.S. Green Card Holder?
When a B-1/B-2 visa holder marries a U.S. Green Card holder, he or she will follow the same procedure as other nonimmigrant spouses that marry a U.S. Green Card holder. The main difference between marrying a U.S. citizen and a U.S. Green Card holder is as follows:
- U.S. Green Card holder spouse will still file a Form I-130
- B-1/B-2 visa holder will have to wait for a visa number before filing Form I-485
B-1/B-2 visa, the temporary visa holder must return to their home country to finish filing Form I-485 through consular processing
- If you do not receive your visa number before the expiration of the
VIII. How long does it take to obtain a marriage-based Green Card when married to a U.S. Green Card holder?
Depending on the processing time of local field offices, when a nonimmigrant married to a U.S. Green Card holder applies for a marriage-based Green Card, the estimated approval time is 29 to 39 months while residing within the United States, and 23 to 32 months if applying through consular processing.
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