If you are planning a visit to the United States to marry an American citizen, think again.
The U.S. has had strict rules on travelers who get married while visiting the U.S on a tourist or student visa. Attempting to get a green card by marrying during your visit for another stated reason could render you inadmissible by consular officers.
New guidelines from the Department of State have tightened the rules, and the change could put some travelers on the wrong side of the law. You must now wait at least 90 days before marrying a U.S. citizen, if you wish to be admissible for a green card.
A key element of DOS policy concerns “willful misrepresentation” by a foreign traveler. The old rules allowed some chance to appeal, after 30 or even 60 days, but that is no longer the case.
The new change not only expands the rule to 90 days, but it eliminates the 30- and 60-day thresholds, leaving only the 90-day rule. Travelers here on tourist or student visas who get married before 90 days in the U.S. may soon be presumed guilty of fraud without an appeal.
The new rule means there are no exceptions within 90 days, and that marrying someone after arriving for other stated reasons “violates or engages in conduct inconsistent with his or her nonimmigrant status.”
The rule has been expanded to 90 days, meaning that if you are here as a student or tourist, you cannot undertake any other activity that would require a change to your traveler status.
The rule is not limited to marriage. There are other ways to violate the 90-day rule:
- Actively engaging in unauthorized employment
- Enrolling in a course of academic study, if such study is not authorized for that nonimmigrant classification (i.e. B status)
- Marrying a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and taking up residence in the United States within 90 days of arriving as a nonimmigrant in B or F status
- Undertaking any other activity for which a change of status or an adjustment of status would be required, without making a change or adjustment
If you are coming here on a tourist or student visa, and then getting married or do anything else outside of your visa’s purpose, do not do so before 90 days have passed. Regardless of your plans, it is best to make your plans with an experienced immigration attorney.
Our Lim Law team has 19 years of experience with marriage visas, including the K-3 Visa, CR-1 Visa, and IR-1 Visa Read More About Marriage Visas.
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