The answer to this is yes, you can get married to a US citizen on a B2 visa or on a visa waiver program. There are no regulations prohibiting a tourist from getting married in the US. In fact, you can also visit the US with the sole purpose of getting hitched, but it isn’t recommended to do so on a visit visa as it would be counted as dual intent and misleading the authorities.
Problems arise when a person enters the US on a B2 visa with the intention of getting married and staying in the country permanently. If you first get married to a US national and then file for adjustment of status, it is considered visa fraud. In case you want to apply for citizenship after your wedding, you will need to convince the USCIS that you did not have a preconceived intent to obtain US citizenship through the marriage.
Around 5% to 30% of all marriages between Americans and foreign nationals were considered fraudulent, says a 2008 study by the Centre for Immigration Studies. Such fraud can lead to severe punishment for the involved individuals.
So, before you apply for adjustment of status associated with marriage to a US citizen, here are a few things to consider.
The Marriage Should be Genuine
You need to be able to prove to the USCIS that the marriage was entered into in good faith. If, by any chance, the USCIS determines that it was only for the purposes of gaining access to the benefits of immigration, the application will be denied. This can lead to the initiation of deportation proceedings against you too.
Be Careful of the 30/60 Day Rule
The Department of State uses this rule to help consular officers detect visa fraud. Here are the conditions underlying the 30/60 Day Rule.
- If you file for a change or adjustment of status within 30 days of your entry, you will be assumed to have misrepresented your intentions during the visa interview.
- In case the application is filed between 30 to 60 days after entry, there will be no presumption of any kind of misrepresentation. But it is your responsibility to prove there was no misrepresentation of intent in any case.
- If you apply for adjustment of status after 60 days of entry, there is no presumption of misrepresentation and no burden on you to prove the same.
Timing is Key
If you get married too soon after arrival, it could raise red flags for the USCIS. In such cases, it might be assumed that there was preconceived intent, even if you file for the adjustment of status after 60 days.
What if Adjustment of Status is Denied?
If your application for adjustment of status is turned down, the USCIS could begin the process of deportation by referring you to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Remember that if you entered the country under a Visa Waiver program, you don’t have the right to put your case in front of an immigration judge.
Other Reasons for Denial of Application
Apart from the lack of evidence suggesting that the marriage is genuine, there may be other reasons for your application being denied. These could include your health, previous sanctions or any past criminal history.