Can I marry my fiance while my I-129F is still pending?
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Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our law firm office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
Every now and then, we have people who ask us, “Jim, can we go ahead and get married? We have a long-pending fiance case, and we’re tired of waiting, and we figure that if we get married, that’ll speed things up.”
Well, this sort of confuses things and is a little bit off-kilter when it comes to how a visa applicant like you need to think about the case.
The number one rule here is that if you have filed a fiance case and you get married, that fiance case is immediately over, and it’s over once you get married, so you cannot convert an I-129F case to an I-130 case by getting married.
You would have to refile and file an I-130 instead of form I-129F, and you’d have to start all over.
We’ve actually seen cases where the embassy or any government agency figured out that right before they issued the fiance visas that the couple had gone ahead and gotten married.
Sometimes for religious or cultural reasons, the family of usually the bride doesn’t want their daughter to come to the United States without actually being married. That could screw up the case if they filed a fiance case.
And so you really need to make sure that you don’t get married while your fiance case is pending and waiting for a visa interview. And that’s why at the beginning, besides securing all required documentation like a birth certificate and the death certificate of a previous spouse or perhaps evidence of extreme hardship, you need to think through what do we want to do? And what’s our outcome?
A lot of times, when we have our consultations with couples that are thinking about getting married, there are a bunch of logistical questions like where do you want to live and become a lawful permanent resident? When do you want to get to the United States? How fast do you want to be here?
All those kinds of things. Do you want to be able to keep working the whole time? And we have to keep all that sort of in the back of our mind while we’re coming up with a plan to get the case completed.
And so you got to make sure that once you make your plan, you stick with it. You can’t just change halfway through.
Long and the short of it is, don’t get married if you have a pending fiance case. And that’s true whether it’s pending at USCIS, pending at the National Visa Center briefly, or pending at the embassy itself. Until you have that visa, and I would argue until you get to the United States, you should not get married. This will also help hasten getting an immigrant visa or becoming a green card holder later.
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