Can I Use a Tourist Visa to Get Married in the US?

23 Oct 2014


Gray areas aren’t generally the government’s forte.

Couple getting marriedIt is legal to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa, travel visa or the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and get married to a U.S. citizen.  It is also legal to adjust your status after getting married. However, the condition of a tourist visa, travel visa and the VWP is a sworn promise that the person using this visa only plans to visit the United States and not immigrate here.

Intent is what really matters.

The intention of a tourist or travel visa is a temporary visit for a specified amount of time. If you want to get married during your visit then return home before your visa expires that may be legal, but a travel visa should not be used with the intention of entering the United States to marry, stay permanently and adjust status. Using the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa avoids all of the problems noted above, and is the most appropriate way for a foreign fiancé(e) to come to the U.S. to marry.

“…a travel visa should not be used with the intention of entering the United States to marry, stay permanently and adjust status.”

The potential consequences of doing it wrong are serious.

There could be serious problems for someone who enters the United States on another visa with the intention of marrying or residing here. Attempting to obtain a visa or entering the United States by saying one thing when you intend another may be considered immigration fraud, for which there are serious penalties. Those penalties include restricting a person’s ability to obtain immigration benefits, including permanent residence, as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

The Department of State (DOS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assume that intent to marry a U.S. citizen is the same as intent to immigrate.

If your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. as a tourist, without disclosing that they are engaged to you and/or intend to marry you, they have committed visa fraud. If the USCIS later decides that your fiancé(e) has committed visa fraud, they could be deported and will be impossible for them to legally return to the United States, even if the two of you are married.

Tourism is kind of specific.

stereotypical tourist

Tourist visas are for people who want to sight see, not get married.

In order for someone to get married in the U.S. while visiting on a tourist or travel visa and then adjust their status to lawful permanent resident they would need to prove they came to the U.S. with the intention to travel to and visit the U.S. and return to their home country but not to get married or immigrate here.

What’s the safe way?

You can easily avoid visa and/or immigration fraud by filing for a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa or you could get married in the home country of the foreign fiancé(e) and then apply for a CR-1 Spousal Visa. If you have secretly obtained a tourist or travel visa, with the intent to marry your fiancé(e) in the U.S. and to bypass the normal process you should rethink your decision.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post relating to the legal requirements of the United States and U.S. Department of State is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

Reference: USCIS and U.S. Department of State

Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

37 Thoughts on “Can I Use a Tourist Visa to Get Married in the US?

  1. Van Tran says:

    I fall in love with the person which came here for study,now he came back his country,he will come here soon for visit me,can we get married in USA and we can stay together ? Thanks

    • RapidVisa Staff says:

      The fastest way would have been to marry while he was still here, then file an adjustment of status. But since he went back home, its going to be 5 to 7 months before he can come back on a proper visa.

      If you want to get married in the USA and you’re already engaged, the legal way would be to file for a K-1 fiance visa. If you get married overseas, you would file for a spousal visa. It is illegal to come to the US on a tourist visa if your intention is to get married and stay. The tourist visa would likely be denied. If you want help with the K-1 fiance visa, we’re the leaders! We can help you at a price nobody matches, and in a fast timeline. Give us a call!

  2. Hasan says:

    Is my Fiancee in this (removed)
    My Fiancee application for me.Me Hasan Vejseli am here in Macedonia-Europa.Please send you her on (removed) explaie more her.She want to come in Usa to marride her.Give simple her for my Visa.

  3. RapidVisa Staff says:

    Hasan, please call us or have your fiance call us at 1 (800) 872-1458.

  4. Hasan says:

    242 club Drive Woodmere New York is address to my Fiancee and mail to her:aminlove.cali@yahoo.comYou tell more to my Fiancee aboute prrocess.On mail to her and my

  5. Riza says:

    I have been visiting the US every year for business meetings. Last 2012 I have been issued with a 10 year multiple entry tourist visa has visited the United States twice (business and leisure) using this visa. I was just wondering, what if my boyfriend and I get crazy one time and get married during one of my visits, is it possible for me to adjust my status eventually? Sorry but this came to mind while reading some of your blogs. Very interesting.

  6. RapidVisa Staff says:

    Riza, according to the rules, as long as you didn’t intend to marry when entering, that is supposed to be fine. However, it is at the discretion of the consular officer at your interview.

  7. Lorena says:

    I am Spanish citizen and I plan to travel to the US to get married to my fiance, who is a US citizen. I will only stay in the US for 2 weeks, and after the wedding, I plan to come back to the UK, where I am currently living and working, and we are hoping that he will be able to join me in the UK later this year. I was going to apply for a K-1 visa, but after reading the website of the US Embassy in the UK, I saw that I could get married on a B-2 visa since I was not planning to stay. I emailed them and they confirmed it, so I collected documents such as a letter from my employer and tenancy agreement to prove to the border agent that I am not planning to stay. However, I am scared that this won’t be enough, and I am sent back to the UK with no permission to come back to the US. Any advise on what other documents could I provide, or what consequences I may face if they don’t believe that I do not intend to stay in the country?

  8. RapidVisa Staff says:

    Lorenza, please call our office at 800-872-1458 or 719-208-7033.

  9. Elizabeth Antonio says:

    I plan on going to my fiancé’s country to marry him and we want to live here in the US I am a US citizen. what is a better idea and by better I mean fastest way to get him here…K1 Fiance visa or get married there and come back here and apply for a husband visa?

  10. Rosanna says:

    Can i ask hownmany months for the processing. And if eve my visa aproave how many months ill stay in US.may i know what kind of ducument i needed…

  11. Anna says:

    My boyfriend is coming this February he wanted me to go back with him, he is a U.S citizen ,how can I go with him or what type of visa do I need to get?

  12. Sara says:

    Hi, can I start applying for the finance visa while in America on my tourist visa? Or do I need to be in norway already? I’m going home in about 2-3 weeks.

  13. Mark says:

    Hi, I am American and have been living in China for 7 years. My wife is Chinese and we have been to the USA 3 times already with her using a 10 year B1/B2 visa (I met her after I moved to China). We got married on our 2nd trip here and didn’t think it was necessary to tell immigration since we planned to come back to China. This was no problem on our 3rd trip here when we went through immigration together at the airport and said we were married (that was the reason for her to use the line with me for American citizens). Anyway, my question now is what happens if we decide not to come back to China the next time we visit the US? Most likely we would return to China after our summer vacation (we are teachers in China), but what if we really decided to stay, if, for example, I found a better job in the US after a few weeks there? Would it be ok to just file for a change of status in that case?

  14. Alex Montemayor says:

    I’m a dual American/filipino citizen. I’ve been living in The Philippines more than 15yrs. I want to marry my filipina gf in Guam and come back to the Philippines. I can’t apply for fiance visa since I’m not domiciled in the U.S. And have not had ties there for quite awhile.. Can she apply for a tourist visa on the grounds that we’re going to get married and return to the Philippines?

    • RapidVisa Staff says:

      She may apply for a tourist visa but she will face scrutiny. She’ll need to convince the officer that she intends to return to the Philippines. She’ll also need strong ties in the Philippines.

  15. Charlotte says:

    If I have not met my fiancee in person how hard will it be to get a K-1 visa? Also what proof is acceptable to prove our relationship?

  16. Lorj poquis says:

    Hello , my husband is a american , we get married here in the philippines lqst may 19,2018 , and i already change the status in my passport …. i am now using his last . The question is .we wanted that i will go to i.s as soon as possible , what should i get fastest tourist visa or spouse visa ?

  17. Benjamin Barefoot says:

    My girlfriend is coming to visit if she gets a tourist visa, we decided to not do the K1 visa because the requirements for status change she cant stay in the usa for that long away from her mother because of health reasons. I live in Las Vegas and we have thought about getting married then she would go back home after two weeks. When she get back to her country could she applie for status change in her country, she does not want to give up her citizenship in her country.

  18. I want to get married in usa by a tourist visa can I?

  19. Chilou Dalugdugan says:

    I am still legally married here in Philippines but separated for 7 years. My american boyfriend wants me to visit him to US. Does my status can affect of getting tourist visa if I’m married?

  20. Lems says:

    Can i obtain 3 visa for visiting.working and marriage because my girlfriend Want me to go there New York.i want also working while she will not told me to work.also I married her to stay together.

  21. Jane says:

    Hi, can I start applying for the finance visa while in America on my tourist visa? I’m going home in 3 weeks.

  22. Zee says:

    My boyfriend is planning to travel to the USA to visit me for the first time and also to look into finding work. if I become pregnant while he is on a tourist visa will he be deported.? We plan to have a baby and get married I just want to do things the right way.

  23. K….so I’ve been thinking…..alot……

    I met this beautiful young girl, on sosial media. We’ve been exchanging texts, video calls – the works. We are very much inlove….now, we are talking about getting married, me residing in the US, and being a family as she has 2 kids already growing up without a father figure……

    How do i go with the visa? I mean ill be going over with the intent, but requirements states that u should have met in person within 2 years, plus its not a religious marriage thing thats like arranged by the parents or anything…..

    Going over as a tourist is wrong – cause i have clear intent. But im not sure i meet the T&C if you know what i mean? What to do?

  24. Mj says:

    Hi I hope you can help me on this I would like to know
    If a Tourist Visa status could change when he got married here in the philippines his from UK
    If it change,
    It would be appeared this on his visa or id’s?
    Hoping for your favourable reply thank you

  25. Jay Sanchez says:

    Hi. I am a US/UK national living permanently in the UK as I have always done all of my life.

    My fiancée wants to marry in the states. She is a permanent UK citizen. We both have VWP – E passports ( I have to use my US one to travel to the US )

    We intend to travel via successful ESTA applications for a week, marry and return to the UK. We both have children here and have no intention of staying.

    I’m worried that if we do travel via ESTA we could be in trouble fir not applying for K-1 fiancée visa for her.

    Does anyone know if that’s even remotely possible?!

  26. Ordh says:

    I hv a boyfriend I’m visiting him on my tourist visa….At the interview I ddnt mention him…!!
    Now I’m here in US my boyfriend ask me to marry him I sAid Yes…!!I ddnt know he wanted to marry me…!!Must I go back home or adjust my visa status??I was unemployed back home

  27. Veeren says:

    I’m in the USA on tourist visa and I met this girl us citizen about 4 months again and I’m planning on marrying her with the next two months and do an adjustment if status can I do that and what do I need to prove it’s bonafide

  28. Jmee says:

    Hi am married 3yrs this coming sept for my american husband, now am in tourist visa with him here in US, i can get adjustment status since i am tourist visa? Or i have to go back to my country philippines.

  29. Espio says:

    I’m American but I live in Prague. My boyfriend and I are engaged and coming to America to marry. We don’t plan on staying in America after we get married. We’re flying back to Prague shortly after the wedding. Is it legal for him to get a tourist visa and do this? We don’t plan on living in the Us for atleast another 5 years or more.

  30. Joanna says:

    My British fiance has been in the US on an L-1 visa with unrestricted travel (he works for a global company), and it expires in February of 2020. We thought the company was going to extend it, so we were waiting to get married until after to avoid complicating the extension. They recently decided to switch their focus and will not be extending his visa. If we are married while he’s still here and his L-1 visa is valid, can we apply for a change of status and he be able to stay in the US?

  31. Laura says:

    My son is engaged to a Phillipino girl who came to the US for school. They want to get married and we want her to come here and live. I am his mother, I have a good job and will support her and they will live with me until we can get her a job. Can I petition her since I have a good income and can afford to support her until she finds work here?

  32. Gustavo Cárdenas says:

    Hi!!! My fiancee is a U.S. citizen and I am foreign. We would like to get married on December in the US and go back to my home town. We would like to move to the US in 6 months after getting married. Is it legal to do that? Will I be able to apply for and adjustment of status ?

  33. Michaela says:

    My husband has been denied 3 times for a Visa to travel to the US how can We get approved to travel?

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