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Getting Married To A US Citizen While On A Visitor Visa

Getting Married To A US Citizen While On A Visitor Visa

Getting married in the U.S. on a tourist visa is not illegal or subject to penalties. The problem arises in these three situations. 

  1. First, you and your fiance entered the U.S. with the intent of getting married and then not returning home. This shows what officers call “immigrant intent” and is a misuse of the visitor visa.
  2. Second, your fiance misrepresented or omitted facts on their visitor visa application. This can be construed as a misrepresentation and you may have to file form I-601 asking for a waiver of that misrepresentation.
  3. Finally, your fiance exceeds the visitor visa’s time limits. Generally, for an adjustment of status, you are supposed to be in legal status or on an authorized stay. There are exceptions for spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens who entered legally.

If you are currently residing in the U.S. on a visitor visa and marry a U.S. citizen, you may qualify to receive a green card if your spouse files an I-130 petition on your behalf and you file an application to adjust your status at the same time. This adjustment of status from visitor to green card holder is complicated and has very specific requirements.

Marrying A U.S. Citizen While On A Visitor Visa

Foreign spouses of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives and do not have to wait for a visa number to become available to them. Because of this, they can file both an immigrant visa application and an application to adjust status I-485 (Application for Lawful Permanent Residence) at the same time. If they meet admissibility criteria and the foreign spouse satisfies all the necessary conditions to transition from a tourist visa to becoming a green card holder, they may receive an adjustment of status to a green card holder.

Conditions To Adjust Status From Tourist to Green Card Holder

  • Lawfully in the United States.
    You must maintain lawful status in the United States. There are some exceptions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens such as spouses. Spouses of green card holders must remain in legal status the entire time.  
  • Being physically present in the U.S.
    If you are not currently living in the U.S., you may file for a petition to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident through consular processing. We can assist with this process.
  • Visa number available. A visa number must be available immediately at the time of filing. A visa number is always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. 

If you file a family-based petition as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you may file an adjustment of status application along with the immigration petition that has been filed on your behalf. An adjustment of status application can also be filed with an I-140 employment-based petition assuming there is a visa number available to you.

  • Properly filed application
    The adjustment of status application must be properly filed at the time of filing. That means correct filing fees, correct location, and all proper signatures.
  • Entered the U.S. legally
    You must have been inspected and lawfully admitted to the U.S. The visa stamp in your passport or your I-94 arrival-departure form frequently serves as proof of lawful admittance.

What Is Adjustment Of Status?

Adjustment of status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a green Card) when you are present in the United States. This means that you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.

Do You Want A Green Card For Your Spouse?
Talk To An Experienced Green Card Lawyer

It’s crucial to seek professional guidance from immigration attorneys before attempting to change your visa status within the U.S from visitor to green card holder. They can assess your specific situation, advise you on the best options for your immigration case and help navigate the complexities of the immigration legal process.

Mario Godoy and the experienced immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office can assess your immigration application status. With experience in many different types of immigration cases and an understanding of the impact of new and changing immigration regulations, it can be beneficial for you to contact an immigration lawyer today. Please call 630-345-4164.

AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office Immigration Lawyers helps clients in all 50 states and has 3 offices in the Chicago, Illinois area.

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