Important 90 Day Rule

Your attorney may have told you about the 90 day rule. The 90 day rule is stated in the U.S Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual. The 90 rule was implemented to create some level of consistency in the adjudication of immigration cases where the individual enters the United States as a nonimmigrant (with a limited, temporary visa), but then decides to apply for a benefit or change of status that is inconsistent with their stated nonimmigrant intent. For example, consider an individual who enters the United States with a B-1 visa but then gets married shortly thereafter and files for a Green Card. Another example would be an individual who enters the U.S with their B-1 and immediately applies to school.

Immigration Officers will use the 90 day rule as a guide when a foreign national has entered the United States as a visitor, B-2 visa holder and then proceeds to do any of the following:

  • engages in unauthorized employment;
  • enrolls in school before obtaining an F-1 Student Visa
  • marries and taking up residence; or
  • undertakes any other activity for which a change of status or adjustment of status would be required

If the immigration officer believes you violated your nonimmigrant status within 90 days of your entry into the United States, the officer has the legal right to conclude that you misrepresented your intentions when you entered the United States. This presumption can be used as the basis for a final denial of your immigration application. However, this presumption is  rebuttable. The officer can still presume that you misrepresented your intentions when you entered the United States, but it would be possible for you to provide compelling evidence to the contrary.

This is why when you're working with your immigration attorney, they will ask you when you entered the United States to make sure that if you file an application in the United States, it's not inconsistent with the basis of your entry.