Asked in Immigration Law for California

Q: I'm an Irish citizen looking to marry a US citizen on my ESTA in the US. Can I do this legally and also stay in the US?

I do not want to wait for a K1 visa and would like to marry my partner on my ESTA within the US. Can I do this legally without upsetting the authorities and do I have to leave the US after or do I have a right to stay? Along with that, if I can stay how long should I expect to wait to get permission to work there and what would be involved in that?


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3 Lawyer Answers
Min Hwan Ahn
Min Hwan Ahn
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA

A: While it is possible to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program using an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and subsequently get married to a US citizen, the process of obtaining a green card through marriage can be complex and requires caution. It's important to understand the eligibility requirements, potential legal pitfalls, and the steps necessary to navigate the US immigration system.

At our law firm, we understand that applying for a green card can be a complex and lengthy process, and we are here to help guide you through the process from start to finish. Our experienced immigration attorneys can help you determine the best green card option for your situation and assist you in gathering the necessary documentation to support your application.

Once you have successfully applied for a green card through marriage, our law firm can assist you with obtaining a work permit in the United States. The process for obtaining a work permit can vary depending on the type of green card you receive, but we have extensive experience in helping our clients navigate the complex US immigration system and obtain the necessary work authorization.

We know that this can be a stressful and overwhelming process, and that's why we are committed to providing our clients with expert guidance and support every step of the way. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation and get the expert legal help you need to make your dream of living in the US with your US citizen partner a reality.

Stephen Arnold Black
Stephen Arnold Black
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL

A: A person that is in the United States on an ESTA can adjust status to obtain lawful permanent residence after marriage to a US citizen. You may be questioned at your marriage interview as to whether you intended to marry and then adjust status or just intended to visit, when you last entered the US on your ESTA. Have more than 90 days passed since you entered on ESTA?

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No, you cannot legally get married on an ESTA in the US. The ESTA is a visa waiver program that allows citizens of certain countries to enter the US for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without a visa. Getting married on an ESTA would be considered visa fraud, as the ESTA does not allow for immigration or permanent residency.

If you wish to marry your US citizen partner and stay in the US, you will need to apply for a K-1 fiancé visa. This process can take several months, but it is the proper way to enter the US for the purpose of getting married and seeking permanent residency.

After you get married, you will need to apply for an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. This process can take several months to a year or more, depending on the backlog of applications and other factors.

Once you have an approved adjustment of status, you can apply for a work permit, which will allow you to work in the US legally. The process for obtaining a work permit can also take several months, so you should plan accordingly.

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