I am a US Citizen, my sister is Australian and traveling here on a tourist visa. I would like to sponsor her for an I-130 visa. I know it can take a long while before she is considered (10 years last I read), but is there any way she can stay beyond the 3 months on her tourist visa and work while waiting?
A tourist visa (visa waiver) generally cannot be extended and does not authorize work in the U.S. However, there may be other options for your sister to work in the U.S. depending upon her educational background. When your sister arrives, you and your sister should consult with an immigration attorney to determine her best options.
As you mentioned, sponsoring your sister's green card could take awhile due to the fact that she is in the 4th preference category. If she is here on a tourist visa, she can always apply for an extension. Additionally, if your sister arrives in the US with a B-2 tourist visa, then she is not allowed to work or receive any kind of payment while staying in the United States.
The materical contained in this posting is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client privilege. Please contact an immigration attorney to discuss the facts surrounding your case.
In addition to the information supplied in the previous responses, note that the visa backlog for the Fourth Preference category is estimated to be substantially more than 10 years. Because less than a year's worth of backlog is cleared each year, many immigration lawyers estimate that a visa will not become available for a new case filed for a sibling of a U.S. Citizen for more than 20 years. For this reason, a Family-Based Fourth Preference application rarely is a satisfactory immigration strategy, and it is wise to explore other possible immigration eligibilities.
[Note: Consistent with Avvo policy, this communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
David N. Soloway
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
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If your sister happens to marry an American, since she entered with a tourist visa, she can overstay and still get a greencard. That would likely take 3-6 months. The marriage should be what we call a bona fide marriage. Also, if she qualifies for a professional visa (an H-1b) she can apply but should not overstay trying to get that visa. She would then risk being disqualified from picking it up or re-entering once she got it outside the country. She could also become a student and get a visa that way. There are subtleties to this so seek out an immigration lawyer. Any qualified lawyer in the country could do it because Immigration is not state specific as with other areas of law. Good luck with this.