Panama City Beach, FL asked in Immigration Law for Florida

Q: Can my fiancé(Japanese) enter the US witba tourist/visa waiver or does she need fiancé visa?

I am a US citizen and we are planning to get married soon. She is Japanese and will be. Oming to visit in July, we talked about the viability of getting married while she’s here but we want to know if she specifically needs a fiance visa to enter and get married. We’re planning a trip back to japan after the wedding, so she will leave the country before reentering. Will entering as a visa waiver hurt her chances to get a green card? How soon after getting married should we apply?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Nadine C. Atkinson-Flowers
Nadine C. Atkinson-Flowers
Answered
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA

A: Hello. You run the risk of her being accused of entering with the sole intent of getting married when you petition for her. The customs and border officer will ask her the purpose of her visit when she comes on the tourist visa/visa waiver. The answer will be recorded and stored. The fiance visa is specifically for the other person to come to the US to marry the US citizen. Good luck.

Kevin D. Slattery Esq.
Kevin D. Slattery Esq.
Answered
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Fiance(s) visas are intended for those who following their entry to the United States plan to marry here and pursue adjustment of status from within the United States. In your case, it appears that your fiancée intends on departing after marriage (and hopefully before the expiration of her authorized period of stay as a visitor). Although it is true that a port-of-entry customs officer might be skeptical of your fiancée's intention (as to whether she intends to pursue adjustment of status), which could pose problems in terms of that officer letting her enter, there is nothing illegal about her using visitor status to marry in the United States and depart thereafter. In fact, in the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Affairs Manual, at 9 FAM 402.2-4(B)(1), the following appears in relevant part: "The fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) may . . . be classified as a . . . visitor if you are satisfied that the fiancé(e) intends to return to a residence abroad soon after the marriage." Note that if she decides to enter, marry and then depart, you would not be able to pursue a fiancé(e) case, rather you would need to pursue a petition for relative case followed by an immigrant visa case. If your goal is to get her here as quickly as possible, the two of you may wish to consult with an immigration attorney as to which process might be quicker. She may wish to forgo marrying you on this upcoming trip, and the two of you might want to pursue a fiancée case rather than a petition for relative/immigrant visa case. Many firms, like mine, offer online video consultations. So, even while she is abroad now, you might be able to have a 3-way video call that includes her. Good luck to you both!

Agnes Jury agrees with this answer

Kyndra L Mulder
PREMIUM
Kyndra L Mulder
Answered
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Entering the USA on a non immigrant visa with the intent of immigrating is visa fraud. I strongly suggest you speak with an immigration attorney in private so that the alternatives and procedure can be explained to you.

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