Can I get married with a tourist visa?
Falling in love is one of those events that can happen to anyone and can sweep with everything in its way. If for any reason, you fell in love in the United States with a local, and you are on vacations with a tourist visa, you may have wondered if you can get married, among other concerns such as the requirements, and the rights you acquire with this action.
The truth of the matter is, if you decide to get married, you have the right to do so, even if you have a temporary visa. It´s important to mention that every person that´s not from the United States, even people from countries that don´t need a visa to enter the country for a determined period, are considered tourists before the law. You must also remember that even though there are some laws for any place within the United States, each state also has its own set of specific requirements that must you must follow to legitimize the marriage. An example of this is that some age restrictions apply for some states but not for others, also identification documents, blood tests, and a minimum time of residence.
Now, once you have passed the necessary process and get married, you should acknowledge that you could opt for some benefits. For example, in the case of a marriage between a person with a tourist visa and another who has a US nationality, it is possible for tourists to request a Green Card, which is a permanent residence card. You could also ask this same Green Card if the person with whom you are married does not have a nationality but does have a Green Card. In both cases, you could apply for citizenship once you meet the terms of the Green Card. However, if the person you are going to marry does not have a nationality or permanent residency card in the United States, regardless of the type of visa, you will not be able to request any additional benefit and it will be necessary for the respective countries of origin to issue certificates of validity for the marriage.
There is something that you must consider at the moment of applying for your tourist visa, and this is that the immigration official must know for sure that your intention of traveling to the United States is merely for tourism. This applies to all tourists who decide to marry a person of US nationality. This way, in case of any future scrutiny or investigation, it must be crystal clear that your intention was not to marry but to travel and visit the country as a tourist. If authorities demonstrate that you applied for a tourist visa but that you had different intentions, it will be considered a deceitful agreement, which you will not be allowed to carry out. A detailed examination can be carried out to verify your intentions, depending on the time after which you request a change of status of your tourist visa for marriage.
The current Donald Trump administration has established a minimum period of ninety days in which you can request a change of status for the tourist visa for these reasons. Seeking a change of state in a shorter period would be considered fraud and could lead to severe sanctions. These sanctions could imply not only the denial of the visa status change, but also the non-renewal of the same for future occasions or, in the most severe cases, the immediate deportation of the tourist to his or her country of origin.