Many people who go to the United States on a tourist visa feel like making the country their home. But is it possible to change the status from a visitor visa to a green card? Yes, it is quite possible however you should keep in mind a few things for making this shift in status legally.
Apply for Green Card Before Your Visitor Visa Expires
It is possible to shift from a visitor visa to a green card. However, it can be done only if you apply for a green card before your tourist visa expires. In the case you apply after the expiry of your tourist visa then your stay in America becomes illegal. You can also extend your tourist visa beforehand if you are planning to stay more in the US or get a green card status. Interestingly, spilling beans on your intention to acquire a green card while fulfilling the tourist visa formalities can land you in trouble.
It is quite possible that the immigration authorities may not grant you the tourist visa if you candidly reveal your intentions. The good thing is that after you have applied for the green card you can continue to stay in the US since it will be considered a period required for adjusting status which is quite legal.
Also Read- How to get Marriage based Green Card
B-1 or B-2 Tourist Visa-Which Visa Can Be Changed into a Green Card?
Both B-1 or B-2 tourist visas have a validity of six months each and can be extended for another period of six months. It is possible to change either of these visitor visas into green cards. You can also apply for EB-1 green card during your stay in the US if you have extraordinary talent, are an outstanding researcher or professor, or a manager/executive of a multinational company.
Another way to apply for a green card is through family sponsorship. It is possible if you have a family member who is already a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Interestingly, you can also get married on a tourist visa only if your partner is a permanent resident or citizen of the US. In that case, you do not even have to go back to your country.
Who Can Be Eligible For Filing Petition for Green Card?
You can file for a petition to get a green card in the US if :
- You have been offered a job from an employer in the US who is also willing to sponsor you
- At least one of your family member is a citizen or permanent resident of America
- You are an expert in the field of art, engineering, business, education, or sciences
- You are a medical practitioner who can work in clinics/hospitals in different areas of treatment
- You have been given a refugee or asylum status at least a year before filing for the petition
- You want to invest in the US business or economy
- You have worked in Afghanistan or Iraq for the U.S. government as a translator, are a religious worker or an international broadcaster, or a part of an international organization
- You became the victim of a crime like abuse or human trafficking
Changing status from a visitor visa to a green card currently costs $725 inclusive of the Form N-400 fee and charges for biometric information. For applicants from low-income groups, the government can cut down the fee charges and they may become eligible by paying a total fee of $405. Around 8 to 14 months may be required for adjusting the status from visitor visa to green card.
However, certain conditions or situations like the current corona pandemic can delay the process further.