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Strategic Planning: Making the Most of the 90-Day Rule for Adjustment of Status

Applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS) within the first 90 days after entering the U.S. on a single intent nonimmigrant visa may raise concerns. 

Single-intent visas, such as tourist visas, are typically for temporary stays, and applying for AOS shortly after entry might be seen as inconsistent with the original intent of the visa.

U.S. immigration authorities may scrutinize such cases more closely and may question the individual’s true intentions at the time of entry. 

It’s crucial to adhere to the terms and conditions of the visa and to avoid actions that may be perceived as an attempt to circumvent the intended purpose of the visa.

If you entered the US on a nonimmigrant visa such as B-1/B-2 or student F-1 visa, you must comply with the 90-day rule.

What is the 90-Day Rule?

The 90-day rule in the context of U.S. immigration typically refers to a guideline used by U.S. consular officers and immigration officials to assess the intent of individuals entering the United States on a nonimmigrant visa.


 This rule is particularly associated with B1/B2 tourist visas but may apply to other nonimmigrant visas as well.


The basic idea behind the 90-day rule is that if an individual engages in activities inconsistent with the stated purpose of their visa within the first 90 days of entry. 


It may be presumed that they had a preconceived intent to engage in those activities when applying for the visa.


For example, if someone enters the U.S. on a tourist visa (B1/B2) and, within the first 90 days, applies for Adjustment of Status (AOS) to become a permanent resident, immigration authorities may question whether the individual had misrepresented their intentions when obtaining the tourist visa.


It’s important to note that the 90-day rule is not a strict legal rule but rather a guideline that officers may use to evaluate cases. Each case is considered on its own merits, and various factors are taken into account. 


If an individual’s circumstances change after entry, it is advisable to seek legal counsel to understand the implications and potential immigration consequences. You can find more information on the 90-day rule in this guide.


How to correctly apply for Adjustment of Status

Applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States is a complex legal process, and it’s crucial to follow the correct steps to ensure a smooth application. 


Below is a general overview of the process, but keep in mind that immigration laws can change, and it’s always advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for up-to-date and personalized guidance:



Ensure you are eligible for AOS. Common eligibility categories include family-sponsored petitions, employment-based petitions, refugee/asylee status, and other special programs.

File the Immigrant Petition:

Someone must file an immigrant petition on your behalf. This could be a family member, employer, or, in some cases, you may self-petition. USCIS must approve this petition before you can proceed with AOS.

Check Visa Availability:

For family-sponsored categories, check the Visa Bulletin to ensure that a visa number is available for your category and country of chargeability. File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:


Submit the Form I-485 with the required supporting documents to USCIS. Pay the necessary filing fees.

Biometrics Appointment:

Attend a biometrics appointment where your fingerprints, photo, and signature will be taken.

Request for Evidence (RFE) or Interview:


USCIS may issue an RFE if additional documentation is needed. In some cases, an interview may be required to assess your eligibility.

Medical Examination:

Undergo a medical examination by an approved civil surgeon and submit the required Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

Affidavit of Support:

If required, provide an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) from the sponsoring family member or employer.


Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP):

You may file Form I-765 for an EAD and Form I-131 for AP concurrently with Form I-485 to receive work authorization and travel permission while your AOS application is pending.

Wait for USCIS Decision:


USCIS will review your application, conduct background checks, and make a decision. You may be required to attend an in-person interview.

Receive Green Card:

If approved, you will receive your Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) by mail.

It’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the AOS process successfully. 


The information provided here is a general guide and may not cover all individual circumstances or recent changes in immigration policies.

Learn more about the Adjustment of Status process.

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