Let’s talk about trying to get a marriage visa after a failed visit visa attempt. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. You might be surprised to learn how often people contact our office who think they’re very clever and they’re in some kind of a relationship, they’re engaged or they’re in a long-term relationship, and they want to try to get the non-citizen to come to the United States to get that fast track to the Green Card. What they do is instead of filing for a fiance petition, instead of filing for a marriage-based Green Card petition, an immigrant visa petition, what they do is they send the foreign national down to get they visit visa to the United States. Surprisingly, they’ll try this more than once.
Remember, if you’re applying for a visit visa, the main test is whether or not they believe you’re going to come back to the home country. Let’s say we have a foreign national in Nigeria, and they want to come to the United States to hang out with their beloved US citizen. Instead of filing the fiance or spouse petition, they go down to the embassy and apply for a visit visa. That visit visa is denied. One of the reasons the visit visa is denied is because they have a sense that you are a young, good looking person of a marrying age, and you’re probably coming to the United States to get married. You might even know someone or have someone one intended to marry. The thing is, they’ve seen this movie before. You’re not the first person to think this up. We get calls like this every week. If we’re getting these calls every week, imagine how often the embassy’s seeing this, these young people who say, “Oh, I’m just coming to visit my cousin,” or, “Oh, I’m just coming to attend a conference.” Well, if you can’t convince them that you’re really coming for that reason and that you have every intention of returning back to your home country of Nigeria or wherever, then they’re not going to give you that visit visa.
Then what happens? Well, now the couple has wised up. Maybe they’ve spoken to an immigration lawyer who knows what they’re talking about. The couple goes ahead and wants to proceed now with a fiancee petition or a marriage-based petition. The question is, does the embassy hold this against you? In my experience so far, we haven’t seen the embassy sort of criticizing people or slowing down their cases because they tried to go the visit visa route and not the marriage-based route.
Now the one exception is if they catch you in a misrepresentation. We’ve had people who say, “Yeah, I’m going to attend a doctor’s convention,” and in fact, they’re not a doctor. Or they’re saying, “I’m coming to visit my sick grandmother,” and in fact, they have no grandmother. Or they say, “Yeah, I’m just going for a visit, but I’m married. I have a spouse here. So, you should let me get that visit visa,” and then that gets denied. Then later on, they try to come on a spouse-based case. The embassy’s like, “What the heck? You told us you had this imaginary spouse before, and now you’re telling us that you didn’t, and you’re really married to Mrs. X back in America.”
The one way that a visit visa can screw up your marriage-based or fiance case is if you have gone ahead and made a misrepresentation to the embassy in order to get that visit visa. Obviously, as with all things, you always have to tell the truth, and not telling the truth can be the biggest detriment to you actually getting any kind of immigrant visa or any other kind of visa to the United States. Hope this makes sense.
The long and the short of it is they shouldn’t hold it against you that you tried for a visit visa. In my experience and in my thought process, they treat it sort of like, “Ah, you tried, but you didn’t get it. We got you. We’re going to go ahead and let you come,” unless, like I said, there was some kind of misrepresentation. They’re not going to hold that against you, because remember, you’re going to be visiting the same embassy that denied you the visit visa when you eventually apply for that marriage-based case.
If you have questions about this, if you’re getting ready to start this journey, you might want to think about not trying for that visit visa. It slows you down and it costs you money, and it might set you up for a problem if you try to come on some kind of relationship-based visa. If you have questions, give us at 314-961-8200. You can email us, email@example.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you join us on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon central, where we’re doing our immigration answers live show in YouTube and on our Facebook group. We hope to see you there. Thanks a lot. Have a great day. Peace.