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semmle

We want to marry in the US but no green card - yet!

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Hello everyone,

I am a German and my fiancée American. We plan to get married in May 2014 and start the whole K1 visa process right now.

Our plan is to stay in the US (after the wedding) for three more months and then move (at least for 6 months) back to Germany. We might want to have the option of moving back to America later. However we don't think it makes sense for me to apply for AOS and pay that much money if I'm not even gonna stay there yet. So my questions:

1) Can I legally stay in the US for this three more months after the wedding without applying for AOS or anything else?

2) Will I be able to travel back and forth the US on VWP after the wedding?

2.1) Can we leave the country for our honeymoon right after the wedding and come back to the states for 2.5 more months? I would travel as a tourist on VWP since without an AOS application I guess I can't apply for advance parole (plus the application takes up to 90 days).

3) Is it possible to apply for AOS maybe 1-2 years later from Germany?

Thank you so much for your help in advance!

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Hey, welcome!

1. When you enter on the K1 you have 90 days in which to get married. If you don't get married in the 90 days, you have to leave. You can choose to get married on the 89th day if you want, you're OK to be there the entire 90 days. You should apply for AOS as soon as possible, as you'll become out of status every day after the 90 days. If you have no intentions of AOSing, you should leave before 90s of your US entry (not 90 days from the marriage).

2. You can travel after the wedding once you have filed AOS and your Advanced Parole (AP). AP is needed to allow you to leave the US without abandoning your status. If you leave the US before you get AP, you'll be deemed to have abandoned your AOS and have to start all over again with a new I-130 for CR-1 visa, filed remotely (which'll take you another 8 - 12 months). You won't be able to do multiple entries on your K1. The K1 is good for 1 entry only. You cannot leave before you file AOS and AP. I can't stress this enough.

2.1 No. You can't leave the country for a honeymoon abroad. If you want to honeymoon immediately, do so in the US or in a US territory. Or wait until you have your AP.

3. No. You must AOS while you're inside the country on the K1. If you don't want to AOS, but you do marry then leave, you must file the I-130 for CR-1 visa (or IR-1 if you file after 2 years of marriage).

It sounds like you don't want to move to the US after you marry. In which case, the K1 is somewhat a waste of time. You can marry legally NOW on VWP, so long as you leave the country afterwards when your VWP stay expires. Then you'd file the I-130 for CR-1/IR-1 visa when you're ready to actually move to the US permanently.

The K1 path is really for those with the intention to marry and immigrate. You don't want to immigrate yet, so you don't need to get the K1.

You can go to the US in May, marry, leave within your allotted time on VWP. Then, a year or so later when you want to move to the USA, you follow this guide: http://www.visajourney.com/content/i130guide1

What you may have read is people being warned not to marry and adjust their status without the K1. Entering the US on a tourist visa with INTENT TO STAY after marriage is visa fraud. Simply entering the USA to marry and then leave is not.

Edited by lost_at_sea

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Lost at seas's answers are great for someone who plans on adjusting status right after marriage in the US.

Clearly you do not, I suggest you go over on the VWP and adjust your expectations. Marry on the VWP, make sure not to overstay and then file for an immigrant visa when you are ready to move to the US.

But no, you cannot adjust status from Germany 1-2 years after your K-1

Good luck

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Lost at seas's answers are great for someone who plans on adjusting status right after marriage in the US.

Clearly you do not, I suggest you go over on the VWP and adjust your expectations. Marry on the VWP, make sure not to overstay and then file for an immigrant visa when you are ready to move to the US.

But no, you cannot adjust status from Germany 1-2 years after your K-1

Good luck

Maybe you didn't see my edit? I recommended they do just that (marry on VWP)! :)

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Thanks for the answers! I just read multiple times it is not wanted to get married without a K1 visa. But you say that's ok in case I don't want to stay longer?

That is great news! And makes it a little complicated as well. Because I was planning on staying 6 months and doing an internship ( I'm still a student) during that time. Do you think I can then apply for a student visa and get married while I am a student?

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Thanks for the answers! I just read multiple times it is not wanted to get married without a K1 visa. But you say that's ok in case I don't want to stay longer?

That is great news! And makes it a little complicated as well. Because I was planning on staying 6 months and doing an internship ( I'm still a student) during that time. Do you think I can then apply for a student visa and get married while I am a student?

Yeah. That's actually probably easier. Get married, leave when your student visa is up... then when you want to come back do the I-130 for CR-1/IR-1.

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I want to stay 3 months after the wedding. But I was planning on coming to the States a couple months before our wedding.

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I want to stay 3 months after the wedding. But I was planning on coming to the States a couple months before our wedding.

I think under the VWP, you can only stay in the US up to 90 days per visit so perhaps you might want to reconsider your initial plan to stay up to 5 months (2 months before wedding + 3 months after).

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I already got an internship position there and wanted to combine my stay with doing an internship for 5-6 months.

So are you all positive I can get married on a J1 visa (as an intern)? Do you have any reference for that?

The whole K1 process would seem a little pointless to me if you could just get married on a normal visa and do the CR1/IR1 process later.

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I already got an internship position there and wanted to combine my stay with doing an internship for 5-6 months.

So are you all positive I can get married on a J1 visa (as an intern)? Do you have any reference for that?

The whole K1 process would seem a little pointless to me if you could just get married on a normal visa and do the CR1/IR1 process later.

The k1 is for people who want to marry and not be separated, I guess. A lot of people aren't happy with living apart from their husband or wife during the i130 wait (it's several months, often a year or more of separation). Or, they may find it difficult to visit one another - some countries make it very difficult to obtain tourism visas, for example. The K1 gives a way for people to enter the US legally with immigrant intent.

Also, the K1 is supposedly faster to obtain, so the separation period would be shorter.

Edited by lost_at_sea

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OK. I just want to be sure in case I want the green card later there won't be a problem if I got married on a student visa.

By the way: We are both gonna go to Germany for that time. We definitely don't want to be separate! ;)

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OK. I just want to be sure in case I want the green card later there won't be a problem if I got married on a student visa.

By the way: We are both gonna go to Germany for that time. We definitely don't want to be separate! wink.png

Oh, well. Then you should look into doing DCF (like we did, as we both live in the UK). If your then-husband is in Germany, you and he can file directly with the embassy in Frankfurt. It'll take considerably less time than the traditional I-130 for CR/IR1.

There's some folks over here doing it right now: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/436253-dcf-in-frankfurt-2013/

DCF explained: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/304-direct-consular-filing-explained/

P.S. Yes, marrying as a student is fine. Marrying in any state of visa-ness is fine. What's questionable is always what you want to do after you marry, but you want to do something very simple and straight-forward. :)

Edited by lost_at_sea

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