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I entered the USA on the Visa Waiver Program - can I get married and ask for an adjustment to my status?

Berwyn, IL |
Filed under: Immigrant visas

I have been with my boyfriend who is a US citizen for three years. I travel back and forth from the UK several times a year to see him amd he also travels to the UK to be with me. I am here on the Visa Waiver Program and we have just learnt that I am pregnant. We are very happy but concerned with what will happen to our child if he/she is born out of wedlock. We think it may cause problems for us in the longterm, i.e establishing paternity, citizenship etc. So, we have decided to get married. If we are able to, I would still wish to return home and continue as we have, traveling back and forth to each other's country until we decide in which country we will live. Will I be allowed leave to do this or will I have to remain in the US indefinitely until I am granted stay?

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

Because you entered under the Visa Waiver Program, you gave up many important rights, including the right to change status in the US. Whether you would be allowed to adjust your status in the US would therefore depend on the policies in effect at the office that would adjudicate the Adjustment of Status. Some offices allow it, some will deport you.

Additionally, once you are married, you will not be able to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.

The proper way to do this is to either:

1) Apply for a fiancee visa. Enter the US with that visa. Get married within 90 days of entry. Then apply for adjustment of status.

2) Get married and file the I-130. Leave the US and process for an immigrant visa in the UK after the I-130 has been approved.

You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts and advise you accordingly.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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