It may happen that you are staying in the United States as a tourist, meet a U.S. citizen and decide to get married to cement your citizenship and help you stay together with your partner. Getting married on a tourist visa is not impossible, but you have to go through certain bureaucratic processes if you want to stay.
How A Tourist Visa Works
With a tourist visa, visitors to the United States are allowed to stay for six months before having to leave for their home countries. They may visit again on a tourist visa, but they are not allowed to hold jobs or establish residence. Visitors seeking to make their new homes in the United States after getting married on a tourist visa need to file for an adjustment of visa status.
Proof Of Good Faith
The main difficulty in the way of getting married on a tourist visa is proving to immigration staff that you didn’t come to the United States as a tourist with the express intent to get married. Proof of intent will be determined through interviews as well as examination of your behavior as a tourist. Elements of proof include:
- Good faith marriage
- Marriage not immediately following entry into the U.S.
- Application for change of visa status more than 60 days after entry into U.S.
Proving that you weren’t entering the country simply to marry someone will include your initial pass through immigration and customs. For instance, if you say you are simply traveling as a tourist but a search of your luggage reveals a wedding dress, you may be questioned on intent to commit visa fraud.
The goal is to convince the immigration official that it was only your intent to visit the United States for a short time and that you had no desire to stay. If this is not true, you will be committing visa fraud and may be subject to a permanent ban on entering the country.
Be Prepared To Stay In The United States
The process of getting your immigration status changed from tourist to spouse may take up to a year. While in process, you will be granted a temporary ability to stay in the U.S., and you should take that opportunity. You will not be allowed to leave the United States until you receive advance parole or your marriage-based green card. This is why many people prefer to go back home and then apply for a fiancee or spousal visa, because it gives them time to get their affairs in order while the application is being approved.