If your spouse is living in the U.S. while you’re waiting overseas for your green card, it is only natural to want to visit. Is it possible? Will it hurt your prospects of receiving your green card quickly? Like so many issues connected with U.S. immigration law, the answers depend on your circumstances.
The safest course of action would be to ask your immigration lawyer because your attorney will be familiar with your situation. However, we can offer some general information about visiting a spouse in the U.S. while your immigrant visa application is still pending.
Traveling on a Temporary Visitor Visa
The U.S. government issues nonimmigrant “visitor” visas for foreign citizens to come to the U.S. for a short time for business or pleasure. Most visitors who come to see friends or relatives are expected to use a B-2 Visitor visa. (If they are from a visa waiver country, they may need to apply for ESTA authorization instead.) Visitor visas are expressly not to be used when someone intends to stay permanently in the U.S. Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, therefore, may be looked on with some suspicion when trying to enter the country on a visitor visa and could be subject to further questioning about the purpose of their trip.
If your spouse is in the U.S. but you do not yet have your immigrant visa, you will need to demonstrate that you do not plan to remain in the U.S. and that you intend to leave before your authorized period of stay expires. Showing that you still have a residence or business in your home country could be persuasive. It may also be helpful if you can show that you want to enter the U.S. temporarily for a specific event such as a wedding or family vacation. Many visa applicants find it helpful to carry a standard letter from their immigration attorney that explains the reason for the visit and answers any concerns that could potentially lead to inadmissibility.
What you do not want to do is to lie or provide any misleading information to officials. Do not try to hide the fact that you are married to someone in this country. Providing incorrect or misleading information could be considered fraud and cause your green card application to be denied. If a foreign spouse is denied entry at the border, he may be permitted to withdraw his request for admission and return home without consequence. Alternatively, he could be issued an expedited removal order, which could impact his eligibility for an immigrant visa.
Applying for a K-3 Visa
U.S. citizens who have already filed an I-130 petition for their spouse could file an I-129F petition for a temporary K-3 visa. A K-3 visa allows spouses to enter the U.S. while they await approval of their immigrant visas.
It is necessary to apply for the K-3 visa in the same country where the marriage took place. A K-3 visa may be challenging to obtain, but it could allow you to be reunited with your spouse for the long term instead of for a short visit.
Talk to an Immigration Lawyer About Your Options
Every spouse who wishes to visit the U.S. while waiting for a green card must weigh the pros and cons. Depending on the situation, it may be better for your spouse to travel out of the U.S. to see you.
To learn more about how travel could affect your visa application or for assistance seeking a K-3 visa, it may be helpful to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. For a consultation with a dedicated legal advocate at the Law Offices of Robert Bell, P.A., contact us today.