If you’re from a foreign country and visiting the United States on a tourist visa, you might be wondering if you’re allowed to get married on that tourist visa. There are many stories of people who have been married in the United States on a tourist visa who then apply to become a permanent resident of the United States. What exactly does the legal side of this marriage look like, and is it even possible?
Marriage on a Tourist Visa is Possible
You can get married in the United States if you’re on the visa waiver program or a B-1, B-2 tourist visa. There is no regulation or rule against getting married with a visa. Some people even apply for a tourist visa for the sole purpose of becoming married in the United States. If you’re on a visa and looking to get married with the intention of returning to your home country and not trying to obtain residency, you’re good to go. However, if you’re getting married in the United States to a U.S. citizen and want to stay or achieve residency permanently, there are a few other steps you should be aware of.
How Does It Work?
First, your marriage must be honest. If you come over to the United States on a tourist visa, get married, and apply for a visa, but it’s a fake marriage, you could get in some serious trouble. Immigration officers will not condone fraud, and acting in that manner can land you a permanent ban from the United States.
If you are filing to become a permanent resident with honest intentions, and the marriage is real, you can fill out a form requesting a status application change. During this process, you’ll need to prove that you came to the United States honestly and that the decision to get married was made after already being here. This may be difficult to prove, but not impossible.
Checklist Before Getting Married
Before you jump into getting married, there are a few things you want to consider if you plan to apply for your green card and want to stay in the United States permanently.
• You need to get legally married and not pretend to be married for a green card. The USCIS needs to make sure that it was a good faith marriage. If they suspect fraud, you will be denied or deported.
• Don’t plan to get married right after landing in the United States. This will raise red flags with USCIS that this was your intention all along. Instead, you should wait at least two months before getting married.
• Don’t apply for the adjustment of status before applying for your visa. You must first apply for your visa, get married, and then apply for adjustment of status. If you do it the wrong way, it could be considered fraud and misrepresentation of your intentions.
• Be prepared for any outcome. You may end up being denied and have to return to your home country. If that does happen, you may be able to apply for an immigrant visa through your home country.
If you’re planning to get married in the U.S. on a tourist visa to then apply for a permanent green card, consider chatting with an experienced immigration lawyer to make sure you understand the right way to go about it. You don’t want to make any mistakes that could cost you potential residency.
FOR YOUR FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH THE IMMIGRATION GUY, CALL (760) 280-7900.
Rick Sterger is a licensed attorney practicing immigration law throughout the United States. His practice, located in San Diego, California represents client before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Executive Office of Immigration Review (Immigration Court), Board of Immigration Appeals, and Circuit Courts of Appeals. Rick proudly maintains the practice of providing his initial client consultation for FREE. To schedule a consultation, call (760) 280-7900 today.