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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.

05/24/2016 [Day 0] Sent in I-130/I-485

05/26/2016 [Day 2] Package received at Chicago Office

06/01/2016 [Day 8] Received 2 acceptance notification emails

06/03/2016 [Day 10] Received NOA1, priority date 05/26/2016

06/18/2016 [Day 25] Received biometrics letter, 06/27/2016

06/27/2016 [Day 34] Went to Biometrics appointment

07/11/2016 [Day 49] RFIE issued

07/25/2016 [Day 49] Sent RFIE response (total 63 days since start, RFIE paused timer AFAIK)

07/28/2016 [Day 49] RFIE response arrived and signed for by M Sievers; Case updated to 'Response received' (total 66 days)

11/09/2016 [Day 153] Interview scheduled for 12/12/16!!! (total 170 days)

12/12/2016 [Day 186] Approved at the interview (total 203 days)

12/14/2016 [Day 188] Online status update to 'approved' for both I-130 and I-485 (total 205 days)

12/15/2016 [Day 189] Card was sent! (total 206 days)

12/17/2016 [Day 191] Received two I-797s for I-130/I-485 acceptance (total 208 days)

12/19/2016 [Day 193] Card received! (total 210 days)

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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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Moved from IR-1/CR-1 Process & Procedures to Adjustment of Status from Work, Student, & Tourist Visas forum.

Our journey:


September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*


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