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Citizens of certain specified countries are not required to obtain B visas to visit the U.S. if the period of stay does not exceed 90 days from the date of entry. Such person must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business. Find the list of countries which qualify under the visa waiver program here.

A person who has entered the U.S. on a Visa Waiver Program cannot change his or her status while still in the U.S. unless they need to change it to U visas or granted refugee, and asylum. They have to go back to their home country and apply for a visa through the Consular Processing at a Consulate or Embassy in their home country. Similarly, a person cannot adjust status to an immigrant visa while in the U.S. on Visa Waiver Program.

However, the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immediate-relative petition can file for an adjustment of status application within the 90-day authorized period. That means that if you are in the U.S. based only on the VWP, then you can file for a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, or being the child of a U.S. citizen (under 21 years old and unmarried), or being the parent of a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen child who petitions for you must be 21 years or older (these three bases together is called the “immediate relatives” category).

We, at the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC can help you in applying for change of status/ extension/adjustment of status to a different visa. To schedule your appointment contact us at 201-518-6642201-518-6642 (Jersey City Office), 732-750-1269 (Woodbridge Office). You can also email us at info@surtilaw.com.