Visiting your fiancé(e) in the U.S. isn’t always a straightforward action.
If you are going to marry a U.S. citizen or a green card holder (lawful permanent residents), it’s essential to understand how your planned wedding could affect your future travel to the U.S.
Immigration rules state that once you’re married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, you can apply for a green card. Upon getting the approval of your petition, you’ll be able to travel in and outside the U.S. freely.
But, before this happens, there are some options that you can use to be allowed to see your fiancé(e) in the U.S. To come for a short visit, you can use a K-1 fiancé(e) visa.
What is K-1 fiancé(e) Visa?
K-1 fiancé(e) nonimmigrant visa entitles fiances from different countries to come to the U.S., get married, and stay while they wait for the green card application to be approved.
While you may travel on a fiance visa to visit your loved one, it is usually safer not to. The CBP official website states that such visitors may be subject to additional scrutiny and that traveling under another visa status or the waiver is not advised for K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants before the approval of their K-1 fiance visa. This is because those applicants have already indicated they intend to marry in the U.S.
Can U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services USCIS Deny My Application?
Coming for a temporary visit will bring you before USCIS official who will question you and, according to your answers, process your visitor visa. Additionally, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will inspects you at the border.
This is because, in practice, there are many cases when an alien fiancé(e) misuse their visas to enter the United States, so the U.S. government wants to make sure that you’re not planning on staying permanently yet.
How to Avoid Denied entry?
A foreign national has a task to provide evidence to the U.S. consular officer reviewing the application that he or she intends to return to the home country once the valid tourist visa expires. The officer will consider the pending application as a factor and may deny the visitors visa if the applicant isn’t convincing enough that he or she will return to the home country.
Even if you obtain a tourist visa, the immigration official at your port of entry can still deny your entry. This will be the case if the immigrant officer at the port of entry feels and assess you do not intend to leave (having far more luggage than an average tourist would have).
Can I Stay in the U.S. While Waiting For K1?
A foreign national cannot reside in the U.S. on a tourist visa or Visa Waiver while waiting for a K1 Fiance visa or K3 Spousal visa. However, you can use a B-2 tourist visa or the Visa Waiver Program for a temporary visit.
All visitors to the U.S. may be subject to the inspection at the port of entry by a U.S. immigration officer who has the right to deny admission if they believe a temporary visitor intends to stay.
Since the USCIS or a consular officer knows that a fiance visa applicant intends to marry in the U.S. and live permanently here, they may be subject to higher scrutiny. This is why you have to be ready to prove that you intend to leave the U.S. before your authorized period of stay expires.
You may conclude that the better alternative will be to visit your fiance during the pending wait period.
What is Nonimmigrant visa waiver program?
The Visa Waiver Program allows nationals of specific countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism, business, or while in transit. Most citizens of a participating country can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining visas.
Participating countries are:
- All fifty U.S. states
- The District of Columbia
- Puerto Rico
- The U.S. Virgin Islands
- Guam, and
- The Northern Mariana Islands
All these countries are generally regarded as developed countries with high-income economies and a very high Human Development Index.
There are other waivers for citizens of certain jurisdictions.
When Can I Visit My fiancé(e)?
Visiting Your fiancé(e) Before Filing a K-1 Petition
If you plan to use a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, you will need to file an I-129F Petition (note that a sponsoring fiancé(e) must file this form on behalf of the visa applicant).
If you haven’t already filed this petition, the U.S. government will have no record of your planned wedding. In other words, you shouldn’t have any trouble visiting the U.S. on a temporary visa.
It is still essential that you answer truthfully if a USCIS or CBP agent asks who you are visiting. Also, they may want to know whether your fiancee is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Note that it is important to stay hones because misrepresenting the situation could cause problems later when you apply for a fiancé(e) visa or marriage-based green card.
Visiting Your Fiancé(e) After Filing a K-1 Petition
If a U.S. citizen or a green card holder’s fiancé(e) has already filed an I-129F petition on the applicant’s behalf, things will be a bit complicated. The filed I-129F petition is the evidence that a foreigner intends to come to the U.S. and remain permanently. The USCIS or CBP officials are likely to carefully scrutinize the visitor’s situation before allowing entry.
The country that the visitor comes from can make a difference. The U.S. government officials are more likely to allow visitors from trusted countries, and those coming from the countries with high rate of immigration visa fraud, can be denied entry.
Visiting Your Fiancé(e) After Receiving a K-1 Visa
When a U.S. government agency approves your I-129F and you receive a K-1 Fiancé(e) visa, you can’t come to the U.S. for temporary visits. K-1 visa confirmed by USIS or consular officers can be used only for a single entry, so when you come to the U.S. on K-1, you’ll have to stay until you get married.
But, there’s one exception to this rule: you can use automatic visa revalidation for short trips from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, or certain neighboring islands. The requirement is also to return to the U.S. within 30 days. However, this option involves risks, so consult your immigration attorney to make sure you understand the visa process before you leave the U.S.
Can You Get Married On a Tourist Visa?
It is possible to come to the U.S. on a tourist visa and get married. However, it is a risky action. The USCIS officials who will handle your green card application will thoroughly assess if you misrepresented your intentions when you entered the U.S. If they decide you misled the U.S. government officials, they could deny you a green card.
How An Immigration Lawyer Can Help Me?
If you want to go through the immigrant visa application process, having an immigration lawyer to help you understand immigration laws that is constantly changing, and prepare different kind of immigration forms and required documents, or deal with different complex scenarios through immigration process can be a huge advantage.
Although there are blank immigration forms with written instructions available for free at the USCIS website, any mistake in your application and breach of immigration law can affect your petition and prevent you from getting a immigrant visa.
Herman Legal Group has over 26 years of experience with one of the most experienced immigration attorneys who offer quality immigration services.
You can require immigration attorney services from our law firm via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, or Facetime, or you can decide to visit our law firm to discuss your case. You can contact us via +1-800-808-4013 or +1-216-696-6170. If you prefer to speak with the immigration lawyer Richard Herman, you can also book your consultation online.