Skip to main content

How to change visa status?

Boston, MA |

I am Brazilian and I lived in the U.S for 12 years, I have SS# and drivers license, but I don't have a Green Card and I never had any problem with the law in the U.S but I overstayed my visa Now I live in brazil and I met an American Girl and we are planning to get married here. what I have to do to change my status? Can we file all the paper work from brazil? so we can move back to USA.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5


If you've maintained valid nonimmigrant status in the US for all these 12 years, then the simplest (and fastest) way is for your fiancee to sponsor you for a K-1 fiancé visa. I however, doubt you did, and for so long (even a Swiss national couldn't have managed that for 12 long years.. let alone a Brazilian..)

In that case the only way will be for your girl friend to come to visit you in Brazil, marry you there, then return to the US and file a petition to immigrate you as her spouse. It won't be easy (or short) if prior to departing the US you accumulated more than 1 year worth of "unlawful presence" (easy to do in 12 long years) and thus triggered the 10 "bar" (not where you drink, but "prohibition"), rendering you inadmissible to the US for 10 years from the date you departed. In that case your spouse will need to file "extreme hardship" waiver(s) on your behalf. No easy task. Best for GF to consult with a local immigration lawyer prior to deciding to embark on her Brazilian odyssey, to see if it's going to be something you both could stomach.. Best wishes.

Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


All depends on how long you overstayed and how long you are out of the USA. Talk to an immigration Lawyer.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


I agree with Atty Behar.

Please click the link at the very bottom for additional information.

Carl Shusterman, Esq.
Former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board Certified Immigration Attorney (1986 - Present)
Schedule a Legal Consultation - Telephonic, Skype or In-Person
600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 394-4554 x0
Web: (English) (Spanish)

(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


It sounds like you overstayed your visa and are barred from returning to the U.S. for 10 years. If the 10 years have already passed, your US spouse can simply file an immigrant visa petition for you and you can return to the U.S. as an immigrant. If not, you will need to get special permission, called a "waiver" to return to the U.S., based on extreme hardship to your spouse.

The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


You may face a bar to admission into the US of 3 or 10 years, depending on how long you previously overstayed your visa in the US.