’30/60 Day Rule for Immigration’
As a general rule, a person cannot have preconceived intent to enter the U.S. for a purpose different from that permitted under his/her non-immigrant visa. The U.S. Department of State created the 30/60-day rule and published it in their Foreign Affairs Manual. USCIS adopted the 30/60-day guidelines and use them to help USCIS officers evaluate the likelihood of visa fraud.
30 Days or Less
If you file your adjustment of status application within 30 days of entering the United States, USCIS officers are trained to presume that you are trying to avoid longer procedures. Specifically, they will assume that you had the “preconceived intent” to adjust status before you even arrived in the U.S. Therefore, they’ll say, you obtained a visa fraudulently to evade the normal screening process abroad for the non-immigrant visa you really wanted.
It’s not likely that someone would fall in love and get married within 30 days of arriving in the United States. However, it is possible. If you are a rare exception, many immigration attorneys will recommend that you wait to get married and file your adjustment of status application.
If you file the adjustment of status application more than 30 days but less than 60 days of entering the United States, there continues to be significant risk. There is no presumption that you entered in bad faith, but there’s still a strong suspicion that you entered with preconceived intent. In this scenario, you can counter the USCIS officer’s questions with evidence to show a change of circumstances. But it is generally risky to change status within 60 days of entering the U.S.
Over 60 Days
After 60 days, the suspicion that you entered with preconceived intent lessens, but it doesn’t go away. “Intent” is still the keyword. If USCIS uncovers evidence that you had preconceived intent to come to the United States for the purposes of obtaining a green card, they still have the ability to deny the application. An interview or another form that you filed with USCIS could potentially reveal evidence of the preconceived intent.