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Marriage to a US Citizen – Timing Is Everything!

Marriage to a U.S. citizen, with all the love in the world, can still result in a denial of a green card application. Everything depends on when you decide to get married to the U.S. citizen of your dreams.

If a couple is engaged and definitely intend getting married in the USA, then it is not possible to enter the country on a Tourist Visa or a Visa Waiver. It is necessary to obtain Fiancé Visa and this can be lengthy procedure.

If, however, the couple has not agreed to get married and one of the parties is merely visiting the United States with a clear intention to return home, but the couple decides to get married during the visit, then it is possible to file for a Green Card in the USA. This is a far quicker process.

This all hinges on the intention of the parties, especially the foreign visitor, when entering the United States.

Presumptions in Marriages to U.S. Citizens

There is a presumption that if the marriage to a U.S. citizen occurs within one month of the foreign citizen arriving in the U.S.A. that there was a fraudulent entry, because the parties are presumed to have intended to get married. Instead of obtaining a fiancé visa, the foreign visitor stated that he/she was coming to visit the United States and had no intention of leaving at the end of the visit..

What is a presumption?

The best known legal presumption is that a person is innocent, unless proven guilty. So in the case of marriage within 30 days of arriving, the parties may be able to prove that the intention, when entering the USA was for a visit and not to get married to the U.S. citizen. This can be difficult to prove if the marriage occurred very soon after arrival.

If the marriage to the U.S. citizen took place between the 30-60 day period after the non-US citizen arrived, then there is no presumption that the entry was fraudulent. This does not stop the Immigration Service from proving from other evidence that there was an intention to get married to the U.S. citizen, if the person arrived on a tourist visa.

If the marriage to a U.S. citizen is consecrated 60 or more days after the non-US citizen spouse arrived, there is a presumption in law that says that the entry was not fraudulent.

If it is clear that the parties definitely intend getting married in the USA and the one partner is outside the country, then it is appropriate to apply for a Fiancé Visa so that he/she may enter the United States for that purpose.

Someone arriving on a Fiancé Visa must get married within 90 days to the U.S. citizen, who petitioned for the Fiancé.

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