I am a US citizen. I work in Kuwait contracting with a company working on military vehicles. I married a phillipine girl. I have a visitors visa for her to the US. She has been to the US once before. Can I bring her to the US on the visitors visa and have her stay in the US while the immigrant visa is being worked on.
Your wife could enter the US on a visitor visa and remain in the US while her I-485/immigrant visa is being processed because she entered the US legally. The primary issue with this strategy is that she would be using a non-immigrant visa for immigration purposes which could result in your wife being questioned regarding her immigration intent if any petition/application is filed within 60 days of her arrival in the US. If she were to apply for an immigration visa within 30 days, there would be a presumption of bad faith. Is she were to apply within the 30 day and 60 day period, she could still be questioned regarding her intent. After 60 days, there would be a presumption of good faith and USCIS would not likely question her regarding her intent.
It is generally not worth the risk for a person for a person to use the tourist visa to enter the US with a plan to file for an immigration visa after arriving in the US. To that extent, the two preferred options are outlined briefly below:
Immediate Relative petition- You would file the I-130 in the US and the approved I-130 would be forwarded to a US Consulate in the Phillipines for processing. Your wife would complete the application, have an interview, and if approved, she would enter the US as a lawful permanent resident.
K-3 Non-immigrant Petition-You would file the I-130 in the US and once you receive the receipt that the I-130 has been received, you would then include the receipt with the I-129-F-Petition for Alien Fiance/Spouse to be sent to a US Consulate in the Phillipines.
As of February 10, 2010, the K-3 application is closed if both the I-130 and I-129 are approved at the same time and the application converts to an immediate relative petition.
The K-3 would allow your wife to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident in the US and she would have up to two years from her entry into the US to adjust status.
The K-3 visa is a multiple entry visa which would allow her to travel back and forth between the Phillipines and the US for a two year period if she desired.
The processing of the K-3 visa, if it is not converted to a immediate relative petition is 6 to 12 months whereas the immediate relative visa is normally processed in about a year
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