The USCIS 90-Day Rule Explained

Understanding the 90-Day Rule is important for anyone navigating the complex landscape of U.S. immigration, especially for couples where one partner may be in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa. This rule plays a critical role in determining the intent of persons entering the U.S. and affects decisions related to changing one’s immigration status.

The 90-Day Rule is a guideline used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to infer the intentions of non-immigrant visa holders. If someone enters the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa—such as a tourist visa—and acts in a way that suggests they intended to immigrate (like marrying a U.S. citizen and applying for adjustment of status) within 90 days of entry, USCIS may presume that the person misrepresented their intentions upon entering.


Historical Context and Evolution

Originally, the guideline was the 30/60/90 Day Rule, which was less stringent and more of a sliding scale of suspicion regarding immigrant intent. Before 2017, actions taken within 30 days of entry were heavily scrutinized, actions within 60 days raised questions, and those after 90 days were less suspect. However, since 2017, the simplified 90-Day Rule provides that any significant act towards changing immigration status within 90 days of entry could be deemed as misrepresentation.

Implications for Couples

For couples, particularly those where one partner is on a tourist visa, the implications of this rule are significant. Engaging in activities like marriage or filing for adjustment of status within 90 days of entering the U.S. on a tourist visa could lead to allegations of visa fraud. This can have long-lasting repercussions on future immigration applications and eligibility for U.S. residency. It is crucial for couples and individuals to plan their actions according to this rule. Consulting with an immigration attorney before taking any steps towards marriage or residency adjustment is advisable to ensure compliance with immigration laws and to avoid any potential legal pitfalls.

Staying Informed and Compliant

The 90-Day Rule underscores the importance of understanding and respecting U.S. immigration laws. For couples navigating this process, being informed and cautious can make a significant difference in achieving their long-term goals without facing legal complications. If you are unsure about how to proceed with your plans in light of the 90-Day Rule, reach out to us. Our expert team is ready to provide guidance and support to ensure your journey toward residency is smooth and compliant.