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Q. When must I marry and file for Adjustment of Status under the Visa Waiver Program?

A. According to Section 245(c)(4) of the Immigration Nationality Act, foreign citizens admitted into the U.S. under the visa waiver program are not allowed to adjust status to that of a person admitted for permanent residence. However, there is an exception for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e. spouse of a U.S. citizen. Thus, an individual admitted under the Visa Waiver program who gets married to a U.S. Citizen is able to file for adjustment of status even after the Visa Waiver Program period has expired. (90 days).

However note that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has authority to order the removal of a Visa Waiver Program overstay, including an immediate relative, under INA section 217(b) of the Immigration Nationality Act and 8 CFR 217.4(b).

It is best to wait for 60 day to get married and then to file for Adjustment of status before the expiration of the 90 days on the Visa Waiver Program as if you file for Adjustment of Status after 90 days, you are at risk of getting deported by ICE.

Q. Getting Married Abroad?

A. If you are a U.S. Citizen and would like to get married abroad to a foreign spouse, you should be mindful of the marital requirements of other countries. Procedures vary from country to country, and some require lengthy preparation. Some of the requirements that you might encounter include:

  • Residency requirements (some nations require you reside within the country for a specified duration of time prior to marriage)
  • Blood tests.
  • Age requirements (minimum age of marriage differs from country to country)
  • Parental/Guardian consent (some countries mandate a parent/guardian accept your and your fiancé(e)’s union)
  • Prior relationship documents (i.e. divorce, death certificates) translated into the local language, and authenticated.
  • Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry: An affidavit may be requested in some countries to demonstrate legal capacity and ability to enter into a marriage contract. The United States government does not issue these affidavits. They must be executed at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Affidavits notarized by a U.S. Consulate officer will generally suffice to support your marriage status.

For country specific requirements, visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html.

After you are married, feel free to contact us at http://www.avlawoffice.com/contact-us/ regarding the next steps on helping your spouse immigrate to the United States.

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