How can a tourist change his status in the USA in order to stay in America
Moving to America is a dream of many people, but not everyone understands how this process goes, what needs to be done, and how to fulfill your dream legally if you only have a tourist visa and want to stay. Edition MC.today figured out how to do everything right and what are the ways to become an official resident of the United States.
Imagine you got US tourist visa, arrived and realized that this is exactly yours, what to do next. There are several legal options stay in the USA.
The first option to legally extend your stay in the United States is to complete I-539 Forms (application for renewal/change of non-immigrant status).
It is important to understand that if you stay in the country after your legally authorized time has expiredBy not applying to renew your status, you are violating immigration laws. You can find out when your legal stay in the United States ends. here.
In most cases, when a person arrives in the United States, the passport is stamped for a period of stay of 6 months. Visa experts advise filing Form I-539 no later than 45 days prior to the expiration date of the I-94 (arrival/departure record).
Obtaining student status
It is never too late to study, especially if this study will help you stay in the USA. You can change your travel status to student. To do this, you do not have to go to university, you can start studying at a college or even enroll in a language course.
After you do this, submit Form I-539 and additional documents - Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status for Student) issued by your school; account statements for the last three months; confirmation of intentions to return home after graduation. This could be, for example, booking a return flight or a letter from the employer stating that your job has been saved for the duration of the training.
On the subject: Immigration interview: do's and don'ts when speaking with a USCIS agent
If the immigration office approves your application, a new Form I-94 is sent to you. It indicates your new period of legal stay, as well as your new legal residence status in the United States.
Marriage with a US citizen
If during an evening walk in the park you met your soul mate, then marriage to a US citizen gives you the opportunity to get a green card. Such green card for 2 years after marriage. After this period, you can extend it and subsequently remove the conditionality.
Also after fulfillment of certain conditions, among which: living with spouses for at least 18 months and staying in the United States for more than six months in a row - you can go for naturalization and become a full-fledged US citizen.
However, do not forget that fake marriages are illegal, and immigration officers are very quick to uncover such scams. On the immigration interview couples are asked questions that will easily reveal the sham marriage.
At the interview, you need to take with you documents confirming that your marriage is real and that you really live together. These are general bank statements, mortgage or apartment rentals, tickets for joint trips, wedding photos and birth certificates of children.
Another option for obtaining a legal right to stay in the United States is to apply for work visa. To do this, you need to find an employer who will prove that he is ready to hire you. He must make sure that you highly qualified specialist, which he did not find in the United States and therefore invites you to work.
The first thing to do after you have been offered a job in the US is to ask the employer to help collect all the necessary documents and submit a petition to the USCIS service, which must be approved there. Once approved, the employer will receive a Form I-797 (Notice of Approval) notice, which is the evidence that the petition has been approved.
In addition to the invitation form filled out by the employer and the approval form, the future employee will need to submit the following package of documents:
- documents confirming professional qualifications, including diplomas of higher education;
- original certificates or a work book from the current and past places of work indicating the position, nature of the work performed and the duration of the period of employment in this organization;
- pay slips from the current or last place of work;
- surnames, names and telephone numbers of the heads of personnel services of the current and previous places of work;
- international passport;
- a photo.
The most popular H1B work visas. After 3 years, they are renewed for the same period, and after that you have the right to apply for a green card.
The easiest way to immigrate to the US is to have close relatives there. In this case, if you decide to stay, you can submit a form for family reunification. Of course, this process takes a long period of time - up to several years, and sometimes more than 10.
To start this process, you needfor a US citizen or resident to file an immigration petition with USCIS. If the office approves everything, then the documents are sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for their consideration.
Currently, it is possible to complete the DS-260 form, pay fees and attach documents such as passports, birth certificates, sponsor documents, including an Affidavit of Support document that requires the applicant to help financially.
When all the documents are collected, NVC begin to consider your case, and after approval, they transfer the documents to the US Embassy and set the date for the interview. The process is complex and requires a lot of time and patience.
By the given date it is necessary undergo a medical examination and come to the interview already with the results. After successfully passing the interview, a visa is glued into the passport. It is issued for crossing the US border for a period of several months. Upon arrival in the United States, a green card is sent by mail.
Green Card Lottery
And of course, one cannot fail to mention the annual green card lottery.
Participation is free, and registration takes a few clicks. An important aspect that is often neglected by participants lotteries – high-quality photo, which is part of the application. Every year many people from different countries are "weeded out" due to wrong photo.
Registration for DV-2024 has closed this year, but don't interrupt, registration for DV-2023 will open in October 2025 and you can try your luck.