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Tourist marrying a US Citizen

Sacramento, CA |

I am a tourist here in the US and has recently married a US Citizen whom I met accidentally during my stay here. What are the next steps we need to take so I can acquire permanently residency and be able to spend my life with my husband.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The form filed to adjust status is Form I-485. All immigration forms and instructions are available for free at www.uscis.gov .

    You may want to consult an attorney to review your facts and options. While the immigration petitions and applications ask very straightforward information, the consequence of supplying the wrong answer can be severe.

    If you will not consult an attorney, you likely will want to research the law thoroughly before filing. USCIS does publish many informative articles regarding immigration procedures.


  2. You will need to file an I-130 and an I-485 concurrently. You should consult with an immigration attorney as there is required initial evidence for both forms and several collateral forms that need to be submitted as well. That attorney can also advise you regarding the duties under Section 216 of the INA and of the issues surrounding the Stokes interview you will likely attend.


  3. In order to adjust your status in the U.S., you will need to retain a competent immigration attorney to assist you. One of the legal issues you will face is the question of immigration fraud. There is a rebuttable presumption that you committed immigration fraud if you marry a U.S. citizen within 60 days of entry while on a tourist visa. I do not know how long you were in the U.S. before you married. I also do not know the details involving your meeting and relationship prior to marriage. I assume that you did not know each other prior to your coming on this trip into the U.S. as you have stated. Due to your just having just met in the U.S., you will have a heavier burden to demonstrate to USCIS that your marriage is bona fide (based upon love) and not a marriage of convenience in order for you to get your 'green card'. This can be done by providing substantial documentation in support of your bona fide meeting and relationship in the U.S. An experienced family based immigration lawyer can assist you in preparing a strong 'marriage validity package' that should be filed contemporaneously with your I-130 and I-485 and supporting documents.

    Another approach would be to leave the U.S. before your visa (I-94) expires and then have your husband petition for you through the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. He would likely use a K-3 visa application that would, if approved, allow for you to enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. You should explore this alternative option with your immigration attorney before you make a final decision.

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