Fri | May 14, 2021

Immigration Corner | Should I get married or do a 90-day fiancé visa?

Published:Tuesday | March 2, 2021 | 12:09 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
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Dear Mrs Walker Huntington,

My fiancé resides in the United States (US) and would like to file for me and my child (not his). Would it be better or easier for him to come to Jamaica and marry me then file for me, or should he file for a 90-day fiancé visa? If he files for the 90-day fiancé visa and I’m granted, can I take my child on that visa?

Thank you.

– J.P.

Dear J.P.,

If your fiancé is a United States citizen, he can petition for a fiancé visa on your behalf. If this visa is granted, you can travel to the United States, and you must marry your fiancé within 90 days of arrival in America. This visa is truly for people who do not know each other well and it gives them time together to determine whether they are compatible, and also for the immigrant to decide if they like being in America.

As the immigrant, you must marry the fiancé who filed for the visa on your behalf in order to be able to change your status to a green card holder. This means that if after being in America you decide not to marry your fiancé, you would not be able to adjust your status by any other means, and you would have to return to Jamaica. Once you enter the US by way of a fiancé visa, it requires you to adjust with that fiancé and not with another person.

VALID RELATIONSHIP

The time frame involved in doing a fiancé visa and your getting married and your husband filing for you to join him in America is about the same. The decision on whether to do the fiancé visa or filing for the green card is yours and your fiancé’s. During either process, you must show the validity of your relationship to the satisfaction of the consular officer. Therefore, if you know your fiancé well, it might be in your best interest to marry in Jamaica and have him file for you. This way, you would enter America as a permanent resident.

If your child is under 18, he would be able to be filed for by your husband in either case. If you go the fiancé visa route, your son would be eligible for a K2 visa and you would receive a K1 visa. You are eligible to file for work authorisation immediately upon entry to the US, and would need to file to change your status once you are married. If you plan to marry immediately upon arrival, you will file for work authorisation along with the adjustment package.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and diversity and inclusion consultant; and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com