How to Convert a Tourist Visa Into an Immigrant Visa

The non-immigrant visas are for the international travellers, entering US on a temporary basis. These travellers come to the United States for a plethora of reasons: tourism, medical treatment, and maybe even business. The kind of visa needed is dictated by the American immigration laws and it relates predominantly to one’s purpose for visiting the country. The whole process of gettign a visa entails interviews, collection, and cross-checking of multitudes of names in a very sophisticated database- so if you are thinking it is so easy to change the status of the visa or apply for the first time, be disabused of the notion. The whole name-checking steps are crucial to US’ security (and other) considerations.

Your tourist visa can indeed be upgraded to an immigrant visa, but don’t expect it to be easy. Still and all, difficult is not the same as impossible. One applying for the immigrant visa would want to reside in the country permanently- that is, whether he intends to get a job or not. Here are the steps in applying:

Step 1: The foreign citizen has to be sponsored by a citizen relative or a possible employer.

Step 2: Get the Affidavit of Support, this is required for many family-based parties and employment-based immigrants. Reason is to reveal that there is ample means of financial support while the applicant is in the country.

Step 3: You can check out the Diversity Visa Program, it gives a particular number of permanent resident visas yearly.

immigrant visa

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Other Hints You Should Remember

Theoretically speaking, you are not allowed to work or study while on a tourist visa. The consulates concerned however, could allow you to take part in a short-term company course, but only if the sponsoring entity would shoulder the costs.

The change of status is possible for (among others) : academic students holding a F1 visa, representatives of international organizations and the families, exchange visitors holding a J1 visa.

Changing the status of one’s visa entails a lot of work in terms of documentation and preparation, but the reward is worth all the efforts. Being granted a permanent residence visa could be a dream come true (in whatever perspective).

related questions:

1. What are the different reasons for people go to the US?
2. Do you need to be employed when you’ve been granted an immigrant visa?
3. What is one requirement while applying for an immigrant visa?

related blog posts:

FAQ on Immigration – FAQs on Immigration law
Green Card – Work Visa and a Green Card
New Visa Form – About the DS-160 visa


  1. Be ready with the consequences of your choices. Because of the high rate of illegal immigrants, they are now implementing strict rules and regulations in allowing tourists visas. It is advisable to look for an employer first. We live in an era where everything is just a click away. Search on the internet for possible employers that could petition you for work. It may be difficult and time-consuming but it will be worth it in the end. You will find a guaranteed job (and income to support you) once you get to the US.

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