I entered the U.S. on Visa Waiver Program. I am now married to a U.S. citizen, can I get a green card?
Individuals who entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or ESTA from another country, do have a legal entry because they are issued an arrival and departure card as evidence of their lawful entry into the United States. However, ESTA visa was created by Congress and heavily restricted in terms of changing status and adjustment of status for a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Not sure what the Visa Waiver Program is? Read more on our section about it here.
This article will discuss the possibility of a foreign national obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen. Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers offer a free consultation by phone if you have additional questions about obtaining a green card.
How can I apply for a Green Card if I entered the U.S. on VWP?
Normally, when a foreign national enters the U.S. on an ESTA visa, his or her status cannot be changed to other statuses such as student or H1-B work status. Applying the same rule to green card applications, USCIS and courts have consistently refused to allow foreign spouses to apply for a green card in the United States after entering on a visa waiver.
This policy is consistent with Congressional intent to prohibit foreign spouses from bypassing the fiancee visa (K-1 Visa) or the Spouse visa (IR, CR), which has long waiting time by entering the U.S. under ESTA visa and apply for the green card.
Read about Green Card options for same-sex married couples here.
Los Angeles USCIS Approves Green Cards for ESTA Spouses
The Los Angeles District Still Approves Green Card Applications Filed by Spouses who entered on ESTA Visa Waiver
The Los Angeles district is known to approve green card applications from spouses who entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. To be eligible, both spouses must reside in the Los Angeles district jurisdiction and should apply for the green card before the ESTA 90 day period expires.
For more information about obtaining a green card through your spouse, please contact our office for a free consultation with our immigration lawyers now.