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Julia ST

Status adjustment for ESTA visa

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My French husband recently entered the United States under a visa waiver (ESTA). He had a return ticket to France, and in fact we both planned to return to Europe while I was applying for jobs (worldwide) as I was finishing my PhD program. However, three weeks after entering the United States I was offered a job, which I accepted.


My question is whether my husband can apply to adjust his status from the ESTA visa to an immigrant visa (CR1)? I have read online that this can cause some problems, if the authorities believe that we entered the United States with the intent to immigrant. However, when we entered the country I was still in the process of applying for jobs and I only received the job offer 3 weeks and 1 day after entering the country. Therefore I'm hopeful that we can prove that his intent was not to immigrate.


Any advise on the matter would be appreciated, especially the difficulty/danger of applying for an adjustment of visa status (from ESTA to CR1)...especially as the CR1 could take some time, and may mean that we have to live separately for many months.


Thank you!

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If he's in the country, wouldn't you do AOS instead? CR-1 visa is for people to enter the U.S. from another country based on marriage. (correct me if I'm wrong!)


If he does AOS, he can't leave the country unless he has AP in hand and that could take ~3 months or more. Is he prepared to buckle down with you, or have business at home to wrap up such as job/house/car, etc? If he has to be in France to do so, CR-1 once he's in France would be the way to go.

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Yes, your husband can apply to change his status. He will not be filing to change visa status (a visa is only useful to enter a country). Instead, he will be filing to change status to that of a permanent resident. He can remain in the US for the duration of the process (supposing you are a US citizen), so you will not need to be apart.


The process is pretty straightforward. You need not worry about having to prove his intent. Once admitted into the US, intent is then irrelevant.


The only difference between adjusting off a visa waiver rather than a visa is that you have no right to appeal. But this will most likely be only a theoretical difference.


Good luck! This forum (especially the guides above) has a wealth of information to guide you through the process.


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Thank you all for your advice. I didn't realize that adjustment of status was the way to go, and while I have evidence to prove that I was offered a job after our entrance to the United States, it's even better if I don't have to prove intent as you say. Will look into the guides. Thank you again!

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