Getting Married on a Tourist Visa in the U.S.
Do you want to get married in the U.S. while you are on a tourist visa? It is possible, but you have to meet certain requirements and follow certain steps. In this article, we’ll explain how to get married in the United States with a tourist visa.
Table of Contents
- Understanding the legal requirements for getting married in the United States
- Applying for a tourist visa
- Choosing a wedding venue
- Obtaining a marriage license
- Finding an officiant
- Planning your wedding ceremony
- Hiring a photographer
- Inviting guests
- Applying for adjustment of status
- Understanding the consequences of marrying on a tourist visa
- Common misconceptions about getting married on a tourist visa
- Frequently asked questions
How to Know What the Law Says About Getting Married in the U.S.
Before you start making plans for your wedding, you should know what the law says about getting married in the United States. You must be able to do the following:
Both of the people involved must be at least 18 years old.
Both people can’t be related by blood.
Both people must be able to get married legally (not currently married to someone else)
Each partner must have a valid form of ID, like a passport.
Both people must agree to get married.
How to Get a Tourist Visa
If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you will need to apply for a tourist visa to visit the country. Depending on where you are from, the process may be different, but in general, you will need to give the following documents:
A valid passport
A visa application form that is filled out
Proof of being able to pay
A letter from your partner or the wedding venue
A ticket to get you back to your home country
How to Choose a Wedding Site
Choosing a place for your wedding is an important part of planning it. You can choose from many options, such as:
A place of worship
When choosing a wedding venue, you should think about how many people will be there, how much money you have, and what you like.
Getting a licence to get married
You need to get a marriage licence from the state where you will get married before you can get married. Different states have different rules about what you need to do to get a marriage licence, but in general, you will need to provide:
A valid form of ID, like a passport or driver’s licence
Birth certificate or other proof of age
Proof of where you live, like a utility bill or lease
A number from the Social Security Administration
Finding a Ceremony Leader
The person who will lead your wedding ceremony is called the officiant. You can have a religious or nonreligious ceremony, and you can hire a professional officiant or ask a friend or family member to do it for you.
Getting Ready for Your Wedding
Your wedding ceremony should be a reflection of you and what you like. You can have a traditional or nontraditional ceremony, and you can include special readings, songs, or rituals.
When to Hire a Photographer
Hiring a photographer is a wonderful way to remember your wedding day. Make sure to choose a photographer who has done wedding photography before and whose style matches your own.
Having People Over
The process of inviting people to your wedding can be fun and exciting. Make sure to send out invitations early and give all the important details, like the date, time, and place of the wedding, to your guests.
Requesting a Change of Status
After you get married, you will need to fill out a form to change your status so that you can stay in the United States permanently. The process involves sending in a number of forms and documents, such as:
Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)
Proof that they are married, like a marriage certificate
Information that is unique to you, like your fingerprints
The process can take several months, and you may have to meet with an immigration officer from the U.S.
What Happens When You Get Married on a Tourist Visa?
Getting married on a tourist visa can cause problems with the law and with immigration. If you are caught breaking the rules of your visa, like working or staying in the U.S. longer than the length of your visa, you could be deported or told you can’t come back to the U.S. in the future.
Also, if you come to the U.S. with the plan to get married and then apply to change your status, immigration officials may look at you closely because they may think you are trying to cheat your visa.
People often have the wrong ideas about getting married on a tourist visa.
You should be aware of some false beliefs about getting married on a tourist visa, such as:
You automatically get a green card if you get married on a tourist visa. Getting married on a tourist visa is just the first step in a long and complicated immigration process. To get a green card, you will have to meet more requirements and provide a lot of paperwork.
You can get married on a tourist visa and then go back to your home country. If you want to stay in the United States after getting married, you will need to fill out a “adjustment of status” form. If you leave the country before your application to change your status is approved, you might not be able to come back.
Questions People Usually Ask
I have a tourist visa. Can I get married and then apply for a green card?
Yes, you can get married on a tourist visa and then apply for a green card by changing your status.
How long does it take to make a change in status?
The process of changing your status can take a few months or even a few years, depending on things like how many people have already applied and how complicated your case is.
Can I work while my application to change my status is being looked at?
You might be able to get a work permit while your application to change your status is being processed.
Can I leave the United States while my application to change my status is being looked at?
You might be able to leave the United States while your application to change your status is being processed, but you will need a travel document and meet other requirements.
What happens if my application to change my status is turned down?
If your application to change your status is turned down, you may be able to appeal or look into other ways to stay in the United States.
Getting married in the United States on a tourist visa can be a complicated and hard process, but it is possible to have a successful wedding and get permanent residency if you plan and prepare well. Make sure to follow all the rules, and if you have any questions or concerns, talk to an immigration lawyer.