We recently received the approval of a green card (US Permanent Residency) for the spouse of a US Citizen who entered the USA under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Read more about going from ESTA to a green card through marriage to a US Citizen below.
What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. ESTA approval authorizes travel to the United States under the VWP.
Can I go from ESTA to a green card through marriage to a US Citizen?
When you use ESTA to enter the United States you enter as a nonimmigrant with the intent to depart after a temporary stay. However, it is possible to change your intent while inside the United States and go from ESTA to a green card through marriage to a US citizen. However, as ESTA is a nonimmigrant entry you need to make sure the process is done correctly and within the proper timelines. Filing incorrectly can lead to a denial.
How long does it take to go from ESTA to green card?
The length of time it takes to get a green card while on ESTA depends on your local processing times. In general, this process can take anywhere from 6 months to 24 months.
Additional Outside Resources
- CBP: ESTA
- USCIS: Form I-485 Application for Permanent Residence
- USCIS: Form I-130 Petition for a Spouse
We Can Help!
The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping people live and work in the United States. Contact us today for a free assessment of your legal situation.