Visas are a way for foreign nationals to travel to the United States for a temporary period of time. Some visas offer a pathway to permanent resident status, whereas others require the visa holder to leave the United States before the visa’s expiration. Two common visas are the tourist visa and fiancé visa. Although they are very different, many foreign nationals struggle to decide which one they should choose, particularly those who are engaged to a U.S. citizen.

Tourist And Fiancé Visa: The Basics

A tourist visa is a way to tour the United States temporarily, whereas a fiancé visa is provided to the fiancé of a U.S. citizen. This allows them to travel to the United States to have their wedding and seek permanent residency. You can get married with both a tourist visa and a fiancé visa. However, it is not advisable to get married with a tourist visa, or at least that should not be your intention when applying for one. While on both a tourist visa and fiancé visa, the visa holder is not allowed to work or go to school, and they cannot stay past the deadline unless they receive an adjustment of status or are in the process of doing so.

What Is A Tourist Visa?

A tourist visa, also called a B visa, is a temporary visa provided to non-immigrants who intend to return to their home country before the visa expires. The visa allows the non-immigrant to travel to the United States for tourism purposes, and it does not provide a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. Visitors here on a tourist visa cannot seek employment or study full time.

What Is A Fiancé Visa?

A fiancé visa, also called a K-1 visa, is granted to non-immigrants who are engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen. This visa allows the recipient to travel to the United States for the purpose of marrying their fiancé. The visa holder has 90 days to get married while in the U.S. on a K-1 visa. Otherwise, they must return home. After marriage, the K-1 visa holder can apply for adjustment of status and start the process to become a permanent resident.

Should I Choose A Tourist Or Fiancé Visa?

In order to receive an adjustment of status after marriage while on a tourist visa, you must prove that marriage was not your initial intention when coming here, which is often hard to prove. Subsequently, it is best to obtain a fiancé visa if your intention is to marry your fiancé who is a U.S. citizen.

On the other hand, if you simply desire to travel to the United States for tourism purposes, then you can obtain a tourist visa. It is very important to understand the restrictions while on a tourist visa to avoid consequences for violating the visa terms, such as not being allowed to receive future visas. When in doubt as to which visa is right for you, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney.

The Risks Of Getting Married While On A Tourist Visa

It is legal to get married in the United States while on a tourist visa, but it is often incredibly risky to do so. It is particularly risky if your intention is to obtain a tourist visa with the intention to marry when you arrive, which is not allowed and the visa holder could still face deportation even after they are married if they are on a tourist visa.

What Is The Marriage Process With A Fiancé Visa?

One of the reasons some try to marry their fiancé through a tourist visa is because the fiancé visa process is much more extensive. The applicant must prove that their relationship with their fiancé is legitimate and not an attempt at obtaining a green card via marriage. To apply and receive a fiancé visa, the applicant and their fiancé should follow this process with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process can take months to complete, and the visa holder has up to 90 days to get married and apply for an adjustment of status after the wedding. From there, they should be on the path to permanent resident status.

Contact The Immigration Attorneys At Pride Immigration

If you are considering a visit to the United States either to visit for a temporary period of time and return to your home country or to get married to your fiancé who is a U.S. citizen, then contact our law team at Pride Immigration by phone or message today. We can schedule a consultation and assist you through the decision-making process to obtain the proper visa based on your specific interests and needs.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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