Can I Propose to my girlfriend while she is here in the US on a Tourist Visa or ESTA?

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Marriage and the thought of marriage can be exciting. You have to decide if a courthouse wedding would be enough, or if a church wedding is preferred. You have to consider who to invite and can family attend. When a US Citizen is considering proposing to their girlfriend who is a foreign national, you have to consider what happens next . . . the immigration filing.

Adjustment of Status (AOS): What are the Common Eligibility Requirements?

Adjustment of Status, also commonly referred to as AOS, is the Immigration filing that occurs when someone is in the United States. In order to qualify for AOS, the following basic requirements are needed:

  1. Marriage for love
  2. Marriage between the Visa Holder and a US Citizen
  3. US Citizen is financially responsible and has sufficient income to support the Immigrant Spouse
  4. Legal, unrestricted entry into the United States (e.g. Visa or Visa Waiver)

Using a Non-Immigrant Visa for purposes of Immigration is illegal. Risks of denial, fines, and deportation exist.

Carefully consider the risks of Immigrating through a Non-Immigrant Visa like Tourist Visa or ESTA

How someone arrived in the United States is important.

  • A Tourist Visa or ESTA is a “non-immigrant” item used to enter the United States. If plans for marriage are occurring, using a K-1 Fiance Visa is best.
  • If someone enters the US with the intent to stay forever and immigrate, then an Immigrant Visa is required. The K-1 Visa is an immigrant visa.

Misusing a visa can run the risk of visa fraud. Immigration has a policy/guideline called the 30/60 Day Rule (also known as the 30/60/90 Day Rule) and the 90 Day Rule. If misuse or immigrant intent is found within the first 30, 60, or 90 days after entry, the use of the non-immigrant visa would be punishable by fine and deportation is possible.

Common Exceptions that could permit Immigration on the Tourist Visa or ESTA

Immigration may permit an adjustment of status when no fraud occurred, and life just happened.

  1. Spouses Met in the US for the first time after the foreign spouse entered the US
  2. Boyfriend and Girlfriend meet in the US, and US Citizen surprised the other with a marriage proposal during the middle or end of the trip
  3. The Visa or Visa Waiver Holder became pregnant and now the couple wants to stay together
  4. The Visa or Visa Waiver Holder became ill and unable to travel

If you have any concerns, you should speak with a local Immigration Attorney, or you may contact our office, Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C., to schedule a Consultation.


Related Blog Posts:

Virtual Utah Marriage: Alternative to a Proxy Marriage for Immigration Purposes

How to apply for a marriage license as an immigrant in North Carolina?

Tourist Visa and ESTA/VWP: Consular Processing Versus Adjustment of Status

Immigration’s 90 Day Rule: A new change making harsher consequences

Internet Dating and The Fiancé Visa



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