Can I marry on a tourist visa while in the U.S.?

You may have heard your family or friend being able to visit their loved one in the U.S., marry, and successfully adjust status.  Does this mean you could do the same as well? The short answer. It depends.

When your spouse comes to visit you on a tourist visa, their intent at the time of entry into the U.S. must be temporary “non-immigrant” intent meaning they intend to travel back to their home country upon the conclusion of their authorized period of stay.  This is typically shown by presenting a return ticket, ties to their home country (lease agreement, employment, bank account records), and explanation of purpose of and length of their trip to the U.S.  The problem that can arise is if your loved one comes in with the intent to also marry and potentially stay permanently in the U.S. which would be considered “immigrant” intent, an immigration officer may suspect your loved one has “dual” intent. Under immigration law, “dual” intent means a person seeking admission into the U.S. has both temporary intent to stay and also a permanent intent to reside in the U.S.  This is not allowed for applicants seeking to come into the U.S. on a visitor visa.

If your loved one visits without permanent intent to stay, and eventually you both decide to marry and adjust status, that would be permitted under current regulations. However, the Department of State updated its rules to have heightened scrutiny on applicants for adjustment of status seeking green cards when they have married within 90 days of entry into the U.S. on a visitor visa and/or subsequently filed for adjustment of status.  In such cases, preconceived intent to stay may be assumed by an adjudicating officer.

If you have questions regarding the best route to take when sponsoring your loved one for a green card, it is best to speak with our Immigration Lawyer to help you make an informed decision. Feel free to schedule a consultation with us or call us at (866)691-9894.