If you are in the United States (USA) as a tourist and you are considering getting married, but you have doubts about whether you can really do it, don’t worry, because the answer is “yes”, it is possible to get married with a tourist visa in that country.
However, it is quite another thing to be able to stay in the country legally and get a residence card by marriage. Here are some tips for getting married with a tourist visa in the United States.
IMMIGRATION ISSUES AND PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN
In theory, when an alien who is in the U.S. as a tourist and a U.S. citizen gets married, the alien spouse should leave the country before his or her authorization to stay legally expires.
Then, if they so desire, the citizen would petition for their spouse through a consular process and while waiting outside the United States for the time of the consulate interview and the immigrant visa.
However, the truth is that in practice in many cases this does not happen and the foreign spouse decides to stay in the United States while the papers are being processed. To avoid very serious immigration problems, it is advisable to take into account
Avoid problems related to intent. When a person enters the United States as a tourist, he must necessarily have that intention: to walk around the country and before his visa or period of legal stay runs out, he must return to his country. And he must never enter the country with the intention of getting married.
A very different thing that can be admitted is that two people decide in an instant to get married. That is to say, when the foreigner arrived in the USA he did not have that idea, but love made him change his mind. But how can you avoid problems and be in a position to prove that the intention to marry did not exist before entering the country?
By following the 30/60 rule, a State Department rule that USCIS usually applies in cases of marriages between foreigners and American citizens. And that is to be understood:
When an adjustment of status by marriage is requested within 30 days of the alien’s arrival, it is presumed that he is acting in bad faith. In other words, that his intention was always to get married and that, therefore, the petition for adjustment of status should not be granted.
When the application is made between the 31st and 60th day there is a strong suspicion that there may have been an intention to marry from the beginning. In these cases one must expect a very thorough examination of the marriage and its intentions.
Be clear about the process of residency by marriage and all the requirements. The processing costs basically two parts. On the one hand, the petition per se and on the other hand the adjustment of status. But before starting, make sure that basic requirements are met, such as minimum income for sponsorship.
It is very important to take into account that while this process is taking place, the stay of the foreign spouse will probably be for several months not covered from an immigration point of view by a visa or by the ESTA. This is why you should not leave the United States.
It is recommended that you remain in the country either until you receive a green card or a permit known as an “advance parole.
If you leave before or without that authorization, you risk being barred from entering the U.S. at the border when you want to return. It is even advisable to consult an attorney if you should leave even with an advance parole.
Keep in mind that we are talking about marriage to an American citizen and never the case of a couple formed by foreign tourists and permanent residents.
These cases are very different, because if the tourist does not have the legal protection of the visa or the ESTA because he stays in the country longer than allowed, he will not be able to adjust his status and therefore will not be able to obtain residency within the United States. This is a big difference from an immigration standpoint.
Keep in mind that we always talk about tourists who entered with a visa or with ESTA. Nothing in this article applies to migrants who arrived in the United States without passing through immigration control, i.e., illegals. They can never adjust their status by marriage.
Problems can start in immigration control. It is perfectly possible that the immigration officer at the U.S. border (port, airport or land border) will prohibit the entry of a foreigner with a tourist visa when he suspects that his intention is to come to the country to get married.
The immigration officer always has a conversation with the person being processed (and it is recommended not to lie) and may conclude that they are coming to get married. In addition, they may open the luggage and discover suspicious things like the wedding dress, gifts, etc.
In these cases, Immigration has the right to prohibit the entry of the foreigner, no matter how many visas they have. It is very important to understand that in order to obtain the approval of a non-immigrant visa, such as a tourist visa, or its renewal, or the guarantee of being admitted when arriving at an immigration control of the United States, it is necessary to be, at all times, eligible for the visa and admissible to enter the USA.