You may have heard of individuals who came to the U.S. on a tourist visa or a visa waiver, got married and were able to adjust their status to permanent resident. So, is that allowed and can that person stay in the U.S. after marriage?
Can You Get Married on a Tourist Visa?
The short answer is yes, however, there are other things to consider in the process. For the purpose of adjusting status to permanent resident, coming to the U.S. on a tourist visa with the sole intention of getting married is deemed to be visa fraud and is not perceived well with the immigration officers.
However, it is possible to come to the U.S. on a tourist visa, get married and then adjust your status. The only thing to keep in mind is that the applicant will then have to show that she or he came to the U.S. with an honest visitor intention and then the decision to get married and adjust status came after the entry into the U.S. Proving that part may be a challenge for some, but should not be impossible.
Top 8 Things to Consider
Good Faith Marriage
As soon as you begin the application process of adjusting status, it is important to show that a) you came to the U.S. not with the intention of getting married, but solely as visitor; b) decision to get married was made after entry to the U.S.; and c) marriage was entered into in a good faith and not only for purpose of gaining immigration benefits.
You and your spouse will be required to attend an interview during which you will be questioned by immigration officials on your relationship to establish its legitimacy. It is important to show that it was a good faith marriage and not solely for the intent of adjusting status in the U.S. If your and your spouse’s stories and answers do not add up, applicant is at risk of getting his or her application denied and/or getting deported.
The 30/60 Rule
This rule was created to help consular officers determine if someone is committing visa fraud. It is risky to apply for any change in nonimmigrant status within 30 or even 60 days after entry into the U.S. Applying within 60 days is risky and can result in denial, as there is no presumption of misrepresentation, however it is on the applicant to prove so. Applying within 30 days of arriving can be very harmful as it is presumed to be a misrepresentation of intentions at the visa interview, and it will more likely than not, be perceived as visa fraud, resulting in deportation and ban from entering the U.S.
Timing the Wedding
Even if you hold off for 60 days before filing for adjustment of status, but you got married very quickly after entering U.S. it can still raise red flags, making it more difficult to adjust status once you decide to file the application.
Possibility of Adjustment of Status Denial
There is always a possibility that the application will be denied for various reasons. Visa fraud is not the only reason why USCIS can deny your application. Other reasons include person’s health, criminal history, sanctions or other immigration history.
Keep in mind that if your application is denied for reasons other than fraudulent marriage you do have the option of applying for immigrant visa through a consulate in your home country.
Returning Home After Wedding
If you get married quickly after entering the U.S. but return to your home country, the timing of the wedding is irrelevant.
Staying In the U.S. Immediately After Marriage
While it is okay to get married quickly after entering the U.S. and then returning to your home country soon after that, this scenario assumes that you did not apply for adjustment of status. If you do apply for it after getting married, you will not be able to leave U.S. until you receive your Advance Parole or Green Card.
If you end up leaving U.S. before receiving one of those two documents, it will be determined that you have abandoned your application, which will be denied, and you will need to start the process all over, while staying in your home country. You will not be able to re-enter the U.S.
Crossing the Border
When coming to the U.S. on your tourist visa, remember that inspection officers at the borders can question and inspect you to find out the purpose for traveling. If you say you are only visiting but they find a wedding dress in your luggage, you will most likely have to answer many questions and may be denied entry.
We Can Help
Have more questions on your immigration options? Call Sobon Law, LLC at (216) 586-4246 today.