Your K-1 fiance visa is pending and…
You want to visit the United States so that you can visit your significant other while you wait for your fiance visa. After all, you have a wedding to plan and you can’t stand the thought of being separated any longer than necessary during this exciting time. But can you still visit the United States as a nonimmigrant after your fiance visa petition has been submitted to USCIS?
Applying for a K-1 fiance visa or submitting an I-129F fiance visa petition will not automatically disqualify you from visiting the United States on a tourist visa or other nonimmigrant visa. However, the pending application may make it more difficult to be able to visit. If you plan to enter the United States after your fiance visa petition has been filed, you should first discuss your plans with your immigration lawyer.
In order to enter the United States on a nonimmigrant visa you must be able to demonstrate that you do not have an immigrant intent. In other words, you must be able to show the customs officer at the airport that you only plan to visit and then will be returning to your home country. A pending K-1 fiance visa suggests that you may actually be planning on staying and may not be planning on returning home — after all, your pending visa clearly indicates that you have plans to immigrate at some point in time.
How do you demonstrate that you do not have an immigrant intent on your current visit when you have a K-1 fiance visa pending?
There is no formula that will guarantee you entry into the United States as a nonimmigrant when you have a K-1 fiance visa pending. You should be prepared to present what evidence you can that you only plan to stay for a short trip and then will be returning to your home country to wait for your K-1 fiance visa to be approved. Do you have a job in your home country that you are expected back at? What family do you still have in your home country? Can you explain and provide evidence of the reason why you want to visit the United States before your visa is approved?
Because you may not be allowed to enter the United States as a visitor while your K-1 fiance visa is pending, you should consider this limitation before your K-1 petition is filed. If you want to make one last trip to help make wedding arrangements, you may want to do so before your K-1 petition is filed.
If your fiance visa is delayed, you should not enter the United States as a visitor and then stay longer than permitted. Doing so could subject you to severe penalties, including deportation and restrictions on your ability to return in the future. If you have any questions about your options for a fiance visa, feel free to contact me to schedule a consultation appointment.