Sedalia, MO asked in Immigration Law for Missouri

Q: My fiancé is from Australia and I'm a US citizen. Can we marry on a tourist visa if she is going to travel back often?

She has traveled here twice since last July on a tourist visa and I have went there once. She is pregnant and due in September. We are wanting to get married in USA in July then she will travel back to Australia, she's currently there now, then in Oct we both come back here to USA. She is planning on going back to see her family often (3-4) times a year until we move there in 2-4 years. We only have tourist visas. Will we be able to continue with this visa type or should I get her a K1 visa?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Hector E. Quiroga
Hector E. Quiroga
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: That is a complicated question. A tourist is coming to the US for a short, temporary time period, but getting married when one is in the US as a tourist suggests that the person is going to do just the opposite. If she states to an immigration officer that she is going to marry a US citizen once she gets here, she might not be allowed in. If she wants to risk it, she should have plenty of evidence that she plans to return to Australia and not stay in the US.

Since Australia is a visa waiver country, the longest amount of time she can stay in the US without getting an actual tourist visa is 3 months; however, if she comes, say, every couple of months (you don’t say how long she’d be staying either in the US or Australia), immigration officers could give her less and less time in the US with each subsequent visa. They may suspect, too, that she is using her tourist status like an LPR would use a green card—to return to the US where she is actually living after visits abroad. She could come on a K-1 (though it probably wouldn’t be approved before July), or the next time she is here she could adjust status.

There are many variables in your question; unfortunately the law does not easily accommodate the sort of international relationship you and your fiancé have. We recommend you pay for an hour of an immigration attorney’s time and spell out in detail your plans so that s/he can advise you as accurately as possible.

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