Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Immigration Corner | Marriage concerns

Published:Tuesday | January 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My fiance went to renew his visa about two weeks ago. He was denied because he has not travelled since 2015. I am waiting on my 'inadmissible waiver' to come through which my mom had filed for, for me. We wanted to get married when we get to the US. But because he was denied we are thinking to just get married here. How will it affect us if we went ahead and get married before he goes back to reapply or I get my inadmissible waiver? Should we just wait?

- K.B.

Dear K.B.,

It is hard to understand why a person's visa would be cancelled because they did not travel to the US for two years. Normally that shows that the immigrant has no desire to live in America but to visit occasionally. He really needs to see why his visa was not renewed.

You were filed for by your mother as an unmarried adult son/daughter. If your mother is a US citizen, that filing would put you in the F1 preference category. If your mother is a green-card holder, you would be assigned to the F2B preference category.

If you get married before you make your entry into the States in the unmarried category, you will change your category to F3 - if your mother is a US citizen. However, if your mother is a green-card holder, your marriage would void the petition - because a green-card holder cannot file for a married son/daughter.

If you are waiting on a decision on an immigrant visa waiver, you should wait on the decision. If you are fortunate enough to have the waiver granted, then you must make your entry in the States before getting married. If you are successful with the waiver and marry before entering the States, you will also invalidate your residency - because you were filed for as an unmarried son/daughter. Persons who do this risk being deported at a later date, even if they are able to slip under the radar and make their first entrance into the States in the wrong category. Doing this has caused stress and heartache for many people.

If you can't wait to get married, do so knowing that your entire filing could be jeopardised, and your petition could ultimately be cancelled.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal, international and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.