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Understanding the 30-60-90 Immigration Rule

When Department of State officials grant visas to enter the United States, they do not usually expect that the foreign visitor will want to change his or her status. In a perfect and non-eventful world, visa recipients would not think about adjusting their status from tourist to immigrant or the other way around. In the real world, however, things are bound to happen and life situations can suddenly change. Click here for information about adjustments of status and consulate processing in San Diego and continue reading for more information about the 30-60-90 immigration rule.Let’s say, for example, that a German man visiting California unexpectedly meets and falls in love with a United States citizen. If this couple wishes to marry and live in California, the German man will more than likely wish to adjust his status and get a green card by virtue of marrying a U.S. citizen. He may run into trouble when he files his application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), even if he does not intend to overstay his visa.

German passport holders do not have to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. as tourists, but their status is similar to that of B2 visa holders. The problem is that going from a B2 tourist to an immigrant married to a U.S. national is not a situation that USCIS officers are obligated to grant. In fact, they are directed to exercise their own discretion as provided by the 30-60-90 adjustment of status (AOS) rule.

The 30-60-90 AOS rule is based on a presumption. Essentially, USCIS believes that foreigners who file for AOS within 30 days of their arrival are presumed to be “corner cutters” who do not want to follow the lengthy process of applying for immigrant status from their countries of origin. This is a presumption of bad faith, which should not apply to the German newlywed we used as an example. When the AOS application is made after 30 days but before 60 days of arrival, the bad faith presumption is downgraded to a suspicion, which could still be a denial.

There is no provision for 90 days; that is just a spoken recommendation made to some AOS filers so that they do not raise suspicions. Want to know how the 30-60-90 day rule applies to your particular situation? Visit for all your immigration needs or contact a professional San Diego immigration attorney directly at 858-874-0711 for a free consultation.

May 2024