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Getting Married in the USA, Without Visa, as a Canadian

#1 Jay&Liana

Jay&Liana

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  • Joined: 12 Jul 2009
  • Country: Canada



Posted 12 July 2009 - 09:32 AM

Hello all, my name is Jay and my fiancee, Liana, and I have been planning to get married in August of this year. I am a Canadian citizen, and she is American. Our goal is for me to move there to be with her once married. I have not applied for any visas since the time that I proposed, because I was not aware that I needed one. However, after some extensive googling last night, I found a USCIS guide that explains how to go about applying for a K1 visa. It was alarming, to say the least, because of how many forms the process involves, and how long it can take.

As a result, I started to get worried that we may not be able to get married as soon as we had both hoped. After much research on this website, I have come to the conclusion that it is perfectly ok to marry an American in the United States as a visitor (and being Canadian, I do not require a visa to enter, only a passport). I am under the impression that it is illegal to remain in the US once married, and complete an AOS (Adjustment Of Status). We had previously thought that I could remain for at least 90 days while we apply for a spousal visa (although, at the time, neither of us knew about the distinction between K1, K3, etc., hence my recent confusion with K1, above). So, my first question is: how long can I remain in the United States as a Canadian citizen, without a visa, after getting married there as a visitor? Will I be denied entry if I tell a Customs agent that I am attending my wedding, even if I have a return flight, say, a week after said marriage, and once back in Canada, have my fiancee start the K3 visa process?

It is very clear to me that I must avoid showing any intent to immigrate when I fly down for my wedding. But would I not be doing everything legally if I were to tell the Customs agent that we plan to start the K3 process only once I'm back in Canada?

Thank you in advance for any help.

- Jay
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#2 Krikit

Krikit

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 09:50 AM

Good morning, and welcome to VJ, Jay. smile.gif

Yes, it is perfectly legal for you to enter the US to marry and then return to Canada. The problem will be proving to the CBP Officer that you're not intending to stay without going through the immigration process. Please see the visitation FAQ link in my signature for some tips on that.

Here is a link to the CBP site re length of stay for Canadians: CBP FAQ - Canadian Citizen

Also, you may want to take a look at obtaining a CR-1 visa as opposed to a K-3 visa as it is much more practical. But I'll let the experts weigh in on that one.

Please come and visit us in the Canada Forum. You'll find a lot of knowledgeable people there.

Moving this thread to the General Immigration Related Discussion thread.
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#3 Jay&Liana

Jay&Liana

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:01 AM

QUOTE (Krikit @ Jul 12 2009, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good morning, and welcome to VJ, Jay. smile.gif

Yes, it is perfectly legal for you to enter the US to marry and then return to Canada. The problem will be proving to the CBP Officer that you're not intending to stay without going through the immigration process. Please see the visitation FAQ link in my signature for some tips on that.

Here is a link to the CBP site re length of stay for Canadians: CBP FAQ - Canadian Citizen

Also, you may want to take a look at obtaining a CR-1 visa as opposed to a K-3 visa as it is much more practical. But I'll let the experts weigh in on that one.

Please come and visit us in the Canada Forum. You'll find a lot of knowledgeable people there.

Moving this thread to the General Immigration Related Discussion thread.


Thank you for the quick response, and I apologize for posting in the wrong forum. I tried to edit my message stating that, but it didn't work, and then the Edit button disappeared. ><

On the CBP FAQ, I notice that it says I can stay up to 6 months if I travel by land or sea... I assume "by air" is included in that? Also, would a return flight ticket not be proof enough for the agent? (along with a much shorter stay than 6 months, I was thinking only a week or two so that there is no concern of me spending more time in the US than in Canada).

I will look at the CR-1. This is all very overwhelming, learning the distinctions and determining the optimal route.
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#4 canadian_wife

canadian_wife

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:17 AM

A return ticket is not generally considered substantial ties to Canada since those can be easily cancelled. You may be asked for something like a lease or a letter from your job indicating when you are expected to return.

Others have not been asked for anything but others, like myself, had heaps of evidence yet still got denied entry twice. Go with lots of evidence, you probably won't be asked for any of it though.

Good luck on your journey
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#5 Jay&Liana

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:23 AM

QUOTE (canadian_wife @ Jul 12 2009, 09:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A return ticket is not generally considered substantial ties to Canada since those can be easily cancelled. You may be asked for something like a lease or a letter from your job indicating when you are expected to return.


I see your point. Problem is, I have not worked in 2 years - I saved enough for college, went for my first year, and am now back under my parents' roof. As you can probably guess, I don't lease from them. I'm not really sure what I can provide besides my ticket... My most significant ties are still my family at my age.
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#6 Krikit

Krikit

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  • Group: Members, Global Mod
  • Joined: 11 Apr 2006

Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:47 AM

QUOTE (Jay&Liana @ Jul 12 2009, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you for the quick response, and I apologize for posting in the wrong forum. I tried to edit my message stating that, but it didn't work, and then the Edit button disappeared. ><

Not to worry. It gives the organizers something to do. tongue_ss.gif You only have a few minutes to edit a message.


QUOTE (Jay&Liana @ Jul 12 2009, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On the CBP FAQ, I notice that it says I can stay up to 6 months if I travel by land or sea... I assume "by air" is included in that? Also, would a return flight ticket not be proof enough for the agent? (along with a much shorter stay than 6 months, I was thinking only a week or two so that there is no concern of me spending more time in the US than in Canada).

You're not quite reading it correctly. The regulations apply to any mode of travel.


QUOTE (Jay&Liana @ Jul 12 2009, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will look at the CR-1. This is all very overwhelming, learning the distinctions and determining the optimal route.

Check out the guides tab at the top of the board. Follow the link which says "Begin Here" and it will take you to the page which breaks down the pros and cons of each visa. Keep in mind that all 3 visas (K-1, K-3, CR-1) are running about the same timelines in Canada, give or take a few weeks.

Link to Guides


QUOTE (Jay&Liana @ Jul 12 2009, 11:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I see your point. Problem is, I have not worked in 2 years - I saved enough for college, went for my first year, and am now back under my parents' roof. As you can probably guess, I don't lease from them. I'm not really sure what I can provide besides my ticket... My most significant ties are still my family at my age.

Bring a letter from your parents, then, showing that you live with them and when they expect you back and what their expectations are (i.e., room/board, marriage plans, etc). Again, have a look around the Canada forum for some helpful advice. There have been quite a few people in similar circumstances as you are.

Edited by Krikit, 12 July 2009 - 10:48 AM.

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