Q: Hello, I’m an American citizen and my girlfriend is a Canadian citizen.
My Canadian girlfriend was able to fly into the US amidst the border closure. We are unsure of when it will be that the border opens again and she has been here two months as we’re trying to spend as much time together as possible during these troubling times. We recently decided to look into marriage to ensure that we will not be separated again due to covid-19 . We’ve read online that the 90 day rule basically means you’re going to get denied if you apply for an adjustment in status within 90 days. But she’s now planning on being here for 4 months so we will be way past that 90 days. We are wondering if after that first 90 days is up, would we would be able to get married and then apply for the adjust of status and not come across any issues? How strict are they after that initial 90 day Entry period is over? Thank you in advance!
A: By using your rights as a Canadian for quick entry, you are telling U.S. immigration officials that your intention in the U.S. is to be a tourist, and to leave, typically within 90 days; though the maximum is six months. That's true even if you get waved through without an interview by an officer at the U.S. border, and never actually say to anyone "I'm coming here as a tourist." (It's even worse if you do get interviewed at the border and actually tell the officer your intentions were to be a tourist, and then soon after, you get married.)
If you get married after arriving in this way, and apply for a green card, USCIS will take a look at your U.S. entry to see whether you misused your entry rights. The agency will look especially hard if you got married within three months of your U.S. entry. With any luck, you'll be able to convince it that you were only considering getting married when you entered the U.S., and made your decision and plans to marry after your U.S. entry.
Or you might be able to apply for a waiver of your fraud, but that's hard to get approved.
If all of that fails, you will be found inadmissible and denied the U.S. green card. It’s a risk that you must decide to take. Either way work with counsel to make sure the case is handled competently.
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