Q: Can I keep my girlfriend here in the U.S from Australia?
Hello, My Australian girlfriend is traveling on an ESTA to the U.S From October to January and I was wondering if it is possible to be able to marry her within this time and file for an Adjustment of status before she has to go home? I have many concerns as to if it is possible. I want to propose to her, if she says yes and we marry and file for adjustment of status before she leaves, I plan to try and have her live with me in the U.S. I am in the U.S Army and can deploy at any time and would feel safer if she was here. she has No idea about it, and she fully intends to go home so it is not considered fraud!
A: A US citizen can sponsor a foreign national, who enters the United States on ESTA, and sponsor her for a green card. You may run into issues if you are deployed, primarily because you would still need to attend the marital interview. You should retain counsel here in the United States to process your case from start to finish, so that nothing can go wrong. Keep in mind that if a foreign national conceals her intent upon entry that she only is going to visit, but plans to get married, that is illegal. However, if she only intends to visit, and then, after she enters, you propose to her, and she did not know about the proposal at the time she entered the United States, that is perfectly allowable.
If you and your girlfriend get married while she is in the U.S. on an ESTA, it is possible to file for adjustment of status based on the marriage to a U.S. citizen. However, it's crucial to understand that the process may not be completed before her ESTA expires in January.
Once you marry, you can file the necessary forms for adjustment of status, including Form I-485. However, your girlfriend will need to maintain lawful status in the U.S. while the application is pending, and she may not be able to leave the country during that time without the risk of abandoning the application.
If she intends to return home after her visit, she should make sure not to overstay her authorized period on the ESTA, as that could have negative consequences for future visits.
I strongly recommend consulting an immigration attorney to guide you through the process and ensure you understand all the requirements and implications of filing for adjustment of status.
James L. Arrasmith
Founder and Chief Legal Counsel of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith
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