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Ask Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. Your Own...
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 108013
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I am a British citizen, and am in a relationship with an American

Customer Question

I am a British citizen, and am in a relationship with an American citizen. Question is do I have to apply for a visa to get married or I can get married whilst I am there on a ESTA?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 13 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help. That's a dangerous situation. Will you be leaving the U.S. after you get married and will wait outside for processing and if so, how will you prove that if asked?
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I do not know why you are not responding, but you are not charged per question, per response, nor per answer. So after I give you my answer, you can continue to ask me questions without additional charge until you are satisfied. I apologize if it is a site issue that you posted and the post did not go through. I am just trying to help keep you out of trouble. If you travel on an ESTA and your intent is to marry and stay, one of three things could happen: a) They will allow you to withdraw your request to enter the U.S. and you can go home, no penalty.b) They will not allow you to withdraw your request to enter the U.S. and will order you excluded. This has a 5 year penalty that you cannot come back unless you get a very hard to get waiver.c) They will not allow you to withdraw your request to enter the U.S. and they catch you in a lie and they exclude you with a permanent bar due to fraud and/or misrepresentation and with that charge you cannot come back unless you get a very hard to get waiver. Granted, most people are just waived on through without many significant questions, but I still have to inform you of what could happen because if I don't, then I'm the jerk that didn't warn you if something goes wrong. If you want to do it the "correct" way, then there are three options, but none of them are quick: 1) The K-1 fiance visa takes 6 to 9 months, but you must have met before at least once during the last two years in order to process it. The I-129F will cost $340 plus a $350 fee for the visa processing fee. After you enter the U.S., then you have to marry and then you have to pay $1070 for the I-485 and you will have to wait about 5 to 7 months and get another interview that you attend with your new spouse so that you can get Residency. 2) The K-3 spouse visa takes 6 to 9 months, you must be married. The I-129F will cost $340 plus $420 for the I-130, and $350 for the visa processing fee. Then after you enter the U.S., you must still file the I-485 for $1070 and wait for the marriage interview about 5 to 7 months later. 3) The CR-1 visa (or IR-1 if your marriage is more than 2 years old) takes about 1 year or so. You must be married. The fees are $420 for the I-130, $330 for the visa processing fee, $88 for an Affidavit of Support fee. But once you enter the U.S., you enter as a Resident and you do not have to file (or pay for) an I-485 nor do you have to attend an additional interview. You just get your green card in the mail a few weeks later. So the K-1 and K-3 are faster but generally more expensive. The CR-1 (and IR-1) are slower, but generally cheaper. And no, there is no middle-visa that you can use to enter the U.S. while that process is pending. You will most likely have to wait outside.Here is a link to all three:http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/family/fiance.html and another link: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Resources%20for%20Congress/Congressional%20Reports/I-129F%20Petition%20for%20Alien%20Fiance%28e%29.pdfI know you do not want to wait. I know it is very inconvenient. I know you want to be together sooner rather than later, but I have this same conversation two or three times per day on this website. No one ever likes it and believe me, if there was an easier or faster way, I would tell you. I know you will probably say, “but what about this...?” or “but what about that...?” But I will most likely continue to have bad news for you. I am truly sorry. The problem is that the U.S. concerns over security and fraud in this area are more important than a 6 to 9 months inconvenience to you. The way they see it is that if it truly is a real relationship, it will survive that length of time apart. Again, I am truly sorry. I wish I had a faster and easier way to tell you about. If you still want to take the risk and you use the ESTA and make it in, then make sure that you do not marry or apply until at least 60 days go by or you could be slapped with visa fraud. After you marry, you will need to file an adjustment package. This includes the following forms: I-130 (Petition for family member), I-485 (application for Lawful Permanent Residency), I-765 (Application for work permit), I-131 (Application for Advance Parole), G-325a (Biographic data - one for each of you), I-693 (Medical exam that a certified doctor must fill out), and I-864 (Affidavit of support). You will need to file each form with supporting evidence and appropriate filing fees. You can find these forms at www.uscis.gov/forms. The supporting evidence that you would file would be birth certificates, marriage certificate, divorce certificates if either of you have been married previously, proof of your spouse's U.S. Citizenship, proof of your legal entry into the U.S., and financial documents of your spouse to prove their income over the last year at least. In about 3 to 5 months after filing, you should get a work permit and Advance Parole. About 5 to 7 months after filing you should get a marriage interview (though now it is taking longer, so maybe closer to 7 to 9 months). If all goes well, a few weeks later you should get a Residency status (green card). My recommendation is still that you do it the correct way and not use the ESTA, but if you are like most people and don't have the patience, at least I have given you fair warning. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can even ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.