Getting a U.S. Green Card is at best a complicated process. One should always retain the services of an experienced attorney in an effort to navigate complex and often confusing laws and regulations. You can use the evidence in your P-1 approval as part of the groundwork to apply for your U.S. Green Card but you cannot use your P-1 to get your U.S. Green Card. Having a U.S. Green Card can open up a wide variety of opportunities for you. You would then be eligible for benefits such as an Un-Restricted State issued Driver’s License, Travel in and out of the U.S. with greater ease, qualify for social security benefits, and to work for an employer of your choice, to name a few.
CAUTION: A P-1 Visa is not a Dual Intent Visa
You must tread carefully because if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) believes that you entered the country with the intention of staying permanently, you can face serious repercussions. This could include charges of immigration fraud or having you stripped of your P-1 status. It is very difficult to get USCIS to understand that life plans change and that there may be good cause for you to want to stay in the U.S. on a permanent basis. It is important to understand that the P-1 visa is not considered a dual intent visa. Dual intent visas are those with which the USCIS allows you to come to the United States in a Nonimmigrant status, such as K-1, L-1, O-1 and H-1B; and have the potential to adjust your status to that of a Green Card holder without any negative consequences.
You should seek the advice of an experienced Immigration Attorney if you plan to attempt to adjust status while a P-1.
The issue that emerges for a nonimmigrant without a dual intent visa is that by filing Form I-485, it brings into question whether or not the applicant had a “preconceived intent” at the time he or she was granted the nonimmigrant visa. It is plausible that the immigrant entered the U.S. with the intent to return to his home country but changed his intentions. But an immigrant cannot have the preconceived intent to enter the U.S. for a purpose different from that permitted under his/her nonimmigrant visa.
As a general rule, USCIS will assume that a person entered with a “preconceived intent” to remain in the U.S. if that person files an immigrant petition or adjustment of status application within 90 days of entering the United States. However, the assumption may be disproved by the applicant with evidence to show a change of circumstances that led to the desire to obtain a green card.
It is extremely important that you stay in lawful status while in the United States. If you fail to maintain your status you may not be able to obtain your Green Card without leaving the U.S. and attempting to re-enter. It is important that you discuss your situation with an experienced Immigration Attorney as you may be eligible for a waiver.
Green Cards under the EB-1 and EB-2 Visas
EB-1 for Athletes with Extraordinary Ability
If you are among your sports elite, you may be able to self-petition for a green card using an EB-1 visa. However, this is a high standard to meet. The EB-1 visa is available to people with an extraordinary ability in certain fields (which includes athletics). In regards to athletics, extraordinary ability amounts to obtaining “once in a lifetime” international recognition. For example, medaling in the Olympics or being inducted into your sports hall of fame. If you can establish (1) that you have an extraordinary ability in athletics, (2) that you intend to work in the area which you have your extraordinary ability, and (3) that your work will benefit the United States, then you may be able to adjust status under the EB-1 program.
EB-2 for Athletes with Exceptional Abilities
If you have a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor your petition, then you may be able to obtain an EB-2 visa as an athlete with exceptional ability in your field. Put another way, if you are unable to apply for the EB-1 visa, you may find some success in applying for the EB-2 preference instead. This visa preference could be especially helpful to individuals who are well-known in their field, but may not have that “once in a lifetime” achievement we mentioned earlier.
Consult Experienced Attorney’s at Johnson & Masumi
To ensure the most favorable result, speak to a Johnson & Masumi attorney for the guidance you need to get a green card. Our experienced team specializes in assisting clients with complex immigration cases.