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Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:21 pm
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Default Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Hi all,

This is my first post on the forums, but I'm rather worried about a few details concerning my trip to the US soon. I'm visiting at the end of June to the middle of September on the Visa Waiver Program (I'm within the 90 day limit) and I'm getting married on the 2nd of September, due to return on the 10th (with my wife).

A few questions:

1. Will this be fine considering I have a return ticket? I'm a student without a job who will be living with my father come May (though I have sufficient funds to cover my trip, and I may have a job by the time I leave) so I don't know what paperwork to take with me.

2. Although I have no intention of staying in the US after the wedding, I do intend to return there to live a year afterwards. Should I apply for the relevant green card stuff then and there or wait until I return to the UK to do so?

I've heard that you SHOULDN'T come over with the intent to marry but it seems a little ridiculous to lie to the customs officer. I already visited a few weeks ago to see my girlfriend, which I said to the customs officer and was let through with no issue. On that note, I've seen you SHOULD mention you're getting married, but I don't know if I have the relevant paperwork to prove I'll be returning to the UK. I'll have my return ticket and perhaps something from my university to prove I have another year to go back to?

Any help on this matter would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

most importantly when dealing with the CBP, answer honestly, but do not volunteer information you werent asked for, just answer the exact question asked of you....
perhaps on the documentation stuff, you could take a letter from Uni stating that you are expected back on xx date, or one from your employer(if you have a job by that time) stating when you are due back to work?
things like lease/rental aggreements for where you live may help as well.
I visited my then fiancee for 3months when we had our K1 visa process on the go, and tbh, i didnt have much documentation on me...i did get taken to secondary inspection but i think that was because i had only been away for a month since my previous visit.
as for the the move over there next year, do you have a date or such that you are working to? i only ask as the process from filing the initial petition till having the visa in your passport is taking roughly around 8-10 months at the moment, so that may help try plan on when to file your initial paperwork.
yes as you state it is rediculous to lie to the CBP agent, dont do it, it could end up being worse in the long run
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Thank you. I can definitely get something from my university, I presume. The issue with a rent/lease agreement'll be that I MIGHT be staying by myself, so I would have my own agreement. Until then I'll be with my dad so I'm not sure what to use.

As for staying there, we didn't have any intent to go back for another year, so I presume I could start the process after I get back, because I'm not sure if I can start it there and then leave?
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

since you are coming back after the marriage, you will come home and about 8-10months from the date you want to move over, your wife will file the I-130 with the USCIS to start the process of you moving over...bearing in mind that it is a 2stage process, stage 1 is done on by your wife in the US which is the I-130 petition and stage 2 is done by you in the UK which is the Immigrant Visa process
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

My wife will also be coming back with me. Should she file the I-130 before we leave?
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

not sure what will be best with that tbh...1 thing is, when she is getting the documents ready , she will need to be able to send an I-864 form to the NVC when they ask for it, that is the form that shows that she is in a position to financially sponsor you, if she isnt in a position to do that, she will require a co-sponsor who can be any US citizen or LPR, they will also need to fill out an I-864 also.
also, with the fact that she is going to be based in the UK when the stuff is being processed, she will probably have to show intent to domicile in the US as well, which basically means that she will need to show that she intends to be living in the US with you....i only mention these things as im not sure what her plans are with regards to the place she lives at the moment, and her job and the likes
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Originally Posted by markusm15 View Post
I'm getting married on the 2nd of September, due to return on the 10th (with my wife).
What status will your wife have in the UK upon your return? She can only remain up to 6 months on the VWP... and she can't live there... only visit - unless she's has some sort of status there that you haven't mentioned.


Will this be fine considering I have a return ticket?
Most likely, you'll be fine.


Should I apply for the relevant green card stuff then and there or wait until I return to the UK to do so?
Your USC spouse must start the process on your behalf. You don't do anything until the I-130 petition has been approved.


I've heard that you SHOULDN'T come over with the intent to marry...
What you've heard is totally wrong. Getting married on the VWP is perfectly okay... indeed, we recommend it more times than not. What is illegal, is coming to the US as a visitor with the intent to stay and adjust status. But marriage - that's just fine.


Should she file the I-130 before we leave?
Yes, if you'd like to live in the US sooner rather than later!

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Old Jan 20th 2012, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Hi Mark,

My DH came to the US on the VWP to marry me, and I returned with him.

Originally Posted by markusm15 View Post
1. Will this be fine considering I have a return ticket? I'm a student without a job who will be living with my father come May (though I have sufficient funds to cover my trip, and I may have a job by the time I leave) so I don't know what paperwork to take with me.
If you have the job, bring your confirmation letter with a stated start date. If you are enrolled for classes for Fall, bring confirmation of that.

2. Although I have no intention of staying in the US after the wedding, I do intend to return there to live a year afterwards. Should I apply for the relevant green card stuff then and there or wait until I return to the UK to do so?
You can't live in the US until you have a visa. Your new wife can send in the I-130 form to start this process as soon as you are married, but it'll be 8-10 months before your visa is granted. Starting this process does NOT mean that you can remain in the US.

I've heard that you SHOULDN'T come over with the intent to marry but it seems a little ridiculous to lie to the customs officer.
You've misheard. It is legal to come to the US on the VWP to get married and then go home. It is not legal to come to the US on the VWP with the intent of marrying and then STAYING in the US and trying to adjust your status while in the US. But you've already said that you intend to go back home in September, so you're fine.

I've seen you SHOULD mention you're getting married, but I don't know if I have the relevant paperwork to prove I'll be returning to the UK. I'll have my return ticket and perhaps something from my university to prove I have another year to go back to?
My DH, on his arrival to the US to marry me, was asked his reason for his visit. He said something along the lines of "I am marrying my fiancee" and pointed to me, who was waiting on the already-processed side of things (as I had flown with him and gone through the citizen line). I waved, and the official grinned and told him congratulations, and sent him through. He had a letter from his work and a return ticket but was not asked to show either one.

(It may have helped that a) I was there too and b) he was late 30s rather than student age; I don't know.)

As mentioned above, your new wife will need a visa to come back with you to the UK as anything other than a temporary visitor. After our wedding we went to the British consulate in NYC to apply for and receive my spousal visa. It can be obtained on the same day (at least it could then) but it does require some preparation work and obtaining an appointment, so you will want to start looking into the procedures for that. This forum is not the best for that, though; you should refer to places like http://www.uk-yankee.com/ for UK immigration questions.
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 6:34 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Originally Posted by markusm15 View Post
My wife will also be coming back with me. Should she file the I-130 before we leave?

What status will your wife have in the UK? She can only remain in the UK for 6 months on the VWP.
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

I am Canadian. My husband came to Canada and we got married here. He never returned to the USA as advised by an immigration professional until he had his permanent residency card.

I think your fiancee should go to England and you should get married there.
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
What status will your wife have in the UK? She can only remain in the UK for 6 months on the VWP.
And if it's only going to be for a year, it wouldn't be worth the cost of a UK visa.

Anyway, as long as there's proof of return to the UK and there's no intent to stay in the US after the marriage, chances are good of being admitted on the VWP. Certainly don't lie about anything, but also don't volunteer any information that isn't directly asked for.
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Originally Posted by skyz View Post
I am Canadian. My husband came to Canada and we got married here. He never returned to the USA as advised by an immigration professional until he had his permanent residency card.

I think your fiancee should go to England and you should get married there.
They would need a visa for her to go to the UK to get married.

He's perfectly fine to go to the US to get married on the VWP if he doesn't intend to stay on that visit.
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Old Jan 20th 2012, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Originally Posted by skyz View Post
I am Canadian. My husband came to Canada and we got married here. He never returned to the USA as advised by an immigration professional until he had his permanent residency card.

I think your fiancee should go to England and you should get married there.
The rules and requirements are not the same for Canada, UK, and USA. Thank you for sharing your experience, but it isn't really relevent to the OP's questions.

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Old Feb 6th 2012, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

Apologies to resurrect an oldish thread, but I would like some other things cleared up regarding my wife's citizenship here in the UK.

The plan is for me to go over to the US and get married in September, then return to the UK for me to finish my degree, which ends in May. During this time I would be in the process of applying for US citizenship after getting married, that's all understood. The question I'm asking is what will my wife need to be doing to be able to stay in the UK until my degree is finished?
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Old Feb 6th 2012, 4:54 pm
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Default Re: Getting married on ESTA & returning to the UK.

just for your reference and anyone else that may read this later, you wont be applying for US citizenship after getting married, your wife will be filing a petition that once approved will allow you to apply for a CR-1 visa which when you use it to enter the US will make you an LPR(permanent resident)

you cannot apply for naturalisation to become a US citizen till after 3years of being married to a US citizen and 3years as a permanent resident

as for your wife, i believe that she would only be able to stay for 6months as a tourist, she would not be able to work nor be entitled to NHS treatment etc (except for emergency treatment)
she could always stay in the US for an extra month or 2 after you leave in September and then head over to the UK for the 6months, which should take you close enough to the visa issuance for you to move over to the US with her
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