The 90-Day Rule What You Need to Know

The 90-Day Rule What You Need to Know

2 Min. Read
Share :

The 90-Day Rule disallows an alien on a nonimmigrant visa to participate or engage in any activity that is inconsistent with his/her official nonimmigrant status.

This rule simply implies that you cannot do anything contrary to your stated purpose of visit, while you are on a nonimmigrant visa like B1 business visa or B2 tourism visa. People with dual intent visa such as H1B temporary workers or L1A intracompany transferees, however, need not worry about the 90-Day Rule, as they are free to conduct themselves lawfully.

Any “misrepresentation” of the official and on-record intent of your nonimmigrant status during the first 90 days, can lead to or impact your ability to obtain a future visa, or even your admission into the United States. Thus, it is essential to understand the 90-day Rule, if you're planning to visit the United States on a non-immigrant status.

What Exactly is the 90-Day Rule?

The 90-day Rule is a guideline used by U.S. immigration officials to determine whether a non-immigrant visitor has violated their status by engaging in unauthorized activities during their stay in the United States.

Essentially, it states that if a non-immigrant visitor participates in any unauthorized activities within 90 days of entering the United States, their actions will be presumed to have been preconceived and contrary to the “representations” made at the time of their admission.

Understanding “Misrepresentation”

“Misrepresentation” under the immigration law is any information that is provided with the intention to deceive. Or any action that renders the provided information (material representation) contrary to what is being done on the visit. So, if you have any other intention of visiting U.S. contrary to the stated purpose of the visa, it will be considered as “misrepresentation” on your behalf.

Many visitors commit the act of misrepresentation intentionally or unintentionally. For example, people go on a nonimmigrant tourist visa (B2) often assume or intend that they can marry once they enter in the U.S. The stated purpose of B2 visa is a tourist visit, but when the visitor use it for marrying after entering the U.S., it will be presumed as misrepresentation.

How Does The 90-Day Rule Work?

The U.S. Department of State introduced the 90-Day Rule in 2007. The guideline underlaid the concept of misrepresentation or violation of the status purpose of the nonimmigrant visa.

Under the guideline, if a non-immigrant visitor engages in activities that are not consistent with their stated purpose for entering the United States within the first 90 days of their stay, their actions will be presumed to be preconceived, premeditated, and contrary to the representations made at the time of their admission.

So, suppose you entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa, such as a B1 or B2, and then engaged in activities that are outside of the scope of the purpose of your visa, such as- working, getting married, or studying in the US within 90 days of your entry, you may be deemed to have violated your status.

It's important to note that the 90-Day Rule is not a law or regulation but rather a guideline used by immigration officials to determine a non-immigrant visitor's admissibility. This means that there are no stringent measures as to what constitutes a violation of the guideline, and each case is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of activities that may violate the 90-Day limit include:

  • Engaging in unauthorized employment or working in the US without the appropriate work authorization
  • Enrolling in a course of study without the appropriate student visa or changing your course of study after entering the United States on a visitor visa
  • Getting married in the US or filing for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident
  • Engaging, without an approval, in any activity that requires an adjustment or change of status

It's important to note that engaging in these activities after the first 90 days of your stay may not be considered a violation of the 90-Day guideline but could still be deemed a violation of your status.

"Single intent" visas allow only non-immigrant intent. So, if you apply for a Green Card, the officer reviewing your documents may assume that you came with a single intent to become permanent in the U.S.

With "dual intent," you have conditional authorization to apply for permanent resident status after entering the U.S. as a non-immigrant. Dual intent visas, such as H-1B work visa or L-1 intracompany transfer visa, allow holders to be in the U.S. on a visa while also planning to move to the U.S. permanently.

What are the Consequences of Violating The 90-Day Rule?

If you violate the 90-Day limit, you may be deemed to have misrepresented your intentions at the time of your admission. This can have serious consequences.

In some cases, violating the 90-Day guideline can result in the denial of a future visa application or even the revocation of your current visa.

If you are deemed to have violated the guideline, it may be challenging to overcome the presumption of misrepresentation. The onus and the burden of proving the presumption wrong lies on the nonimmigrant.

If you can demonstrate that your actions were not preconceived and were not contrary to your representations at the time of admission, in that case, you can overcome the presumption. The process of challenging the presumptions can be tricky, so we recommend you take a legal and experienced immigration advisor as your guide.

How Can You Comply with the 90-Day Guideline?

To comply with the 90-Day guideline, you should be mindful of your activities during your stay in the United States. For example, suppose you are still determining whether a particular activity is allowed under your visa. In that case, it's best to consult an immigration attorney or contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for guidance.

Some tips for complying with the 90-Day guideline as follow.

Understand The Terms of Your Visa

Before you enter the United States, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your visa. Familiarize yourself with the activities that are allowed and those not permitted under your particular visa category.

Plan Your Activities Carefully

If you plan to engage in activities not allowed under your visa, such as attending a conference or taking a short course, make sure you do so after the first 90 days of your stay. This will help you avoid any potential violations.

Keep a Record of Your Activities

It's a good idea to keep a record of your activities during your stay in the United States. This can include receipts, itineraries, and any other documentation showing your visit's purpose.

Consult With an Immigration Attorney

If you have any doubts or questions about the activities you can engage in under your visa, it's best to consult with an immigration attorney. They can provide guidance and advice on how to comply with the 90-Day limit.

In conclusion, the 90-Day Rule is an important guideline to keep in mind if you are planning to visit the United States on a non-immigrant status. It's crucial to understand the activities allowed under your status and avoid engaging in any unauthorized activities within the first 90 days (about three months) of your stay.

If you have any questions or concerns about the 90-Day guideline or your status, it's best to consult with an immigration attorney. With careful planning and adherence to the terms of your status, you can ensure a smooth and successful visit to the United States.

How can Grape Law Help You?

At Grape Law, we specialize in helping non-immigrant visitors comply with the 90-Day guideline and other visa requirements. We mentor our clients with clear guidelines on what they can or cannot do during the first 90 days of their visit.

Our experienced attorneys would help avoid any intentional or unintentional pitfalls that can lead to any potential violations.

We can also assist with visa applications and other immigration-related matters. So, if you need assistance with your visa application or compliance with the 90-Day Rule, get an appointment now to talk to one of our experienced immigration attorneys.


Your American Dream Is One Click Away

Start Your Journey