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Immigration Issues/Marrying a U.K. citizen while on Visa Waiver



I am a US citizen.  I would like my UK citizen fiance who lives in the UK, to come here on the VWP, marry her, then do the appropriate paper work.  Tired of the long distance thing.  If she just comes over and tells immigration that she's visiting, vacationing, etc, will this way work? I hope so because I don't want to wait for 1 year for the K-1 VISA thing.  Of course, I'd like for her to be able to stay here after we're married. Will she be able to work?  She also is bringing 2 children under 18 from a previous relationship. Thank you!!!

Have you filed for the fiance visa????  If you have you may have some problems with your plan.

If you have not done any filing, and you have not married her outside the USA, there should be no problems. Just have her and the kids come over. DO NOT TELL THE IMMIGRATION PEOPLE ANYTHING ABOUT PLANNING ON STAYING FOREVER!!!!!! The kids should not be told anything. If the immigration officer believes she is not intending to visit temporarily, then they will not be admitted. They should not pack more bags than necessary for a tourist trip.  If the kids blurt out, Mommy are we going to stay here forever, it will be very ugly for them.

Now once they have arrived, wait about 30 days and go get married. Then you are going to need to file documents for your wife and your two children (under US immigration laws the children are now yours!!!!) You will need to file the petitions for the visas, requests to adjust status on all of them, and if your wife wants to work a temporary employment authorization while she is waiting.

How long will it take. My normal response is that it will take as long as it takes. I am not trying to be a smart-alec just don't know. Whenever I think I have figured it out they change it. So plan for the worst, hope for the best. If for some reason they need to go back to the UK they are going to need a special permit to re-enter, at least until they have the visa approved and issued.

Good luck.

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Alexander J. Hay


I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".


I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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