Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Question: I had a visitor visa to the U.S. and came to visit my girlfriend last year. The problem is that I miscalculated my time in America and stayed two days over the deadline. I did not know this was so serious until I tried to come to visit my American girlfriend recently (who is now my fiancée) but once I arrived in the U.S., the immigration officer said my American visa was terminated and I had to get back on the plane and return home. He also told me that I had to apply for a new visa at the embassy. That was such a bad experience and now I don’t know what to do. My fiancée and I want to get married, so she is going to come here to Colombia to get married, but we are not sure what happens after that. We need to know what we have to do so that I can travel back to the U.S. with her when she comes back home after we are married. It’s so hard to get a straight answer, everybody is telling me something different. Thanks
Answer: Yes, unfortunately, under Immigration regulations, once a foreign visitor overstays their period of authorized stay in the U.S. – by even one day, once they leave the U.S., they are not allowed to re-enter on their current Visa and are instead required to apply for a new B1/B2 Tourist visa at the U.S. Consulate in their home country. And, since the visitor overstayed, once they apply for a new visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad, the Consular officer is very likely to deny the request, effectively closing all possibilities for legally travelling to the U.S. again. The exceptions are immigrant visas, such as a Fiancée Visa and Spousal Visa (for foreign Fiancées & Spouses of U.S. Citizens). However, foreign Fiancées and Spouses are not immediately issued a Visa which allows them to travel to the U.S. until all the technical processing is complete, which takes 8+ months or more.
In your case, since your U.S. Citizen Fiancée is going to fly to Colombia to marry you, once she returns, a Spousal Immigrant petition can be filed to initiate the process of bringing you to the U.S. as a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder). However, you won’t be allowed to immediately return to the U.S. along with your new wife, and instead you have to wait in Colombia for consular processing.
Question: I am 26 years old and single. My mom got her American citizenship through her husband and sponsored me 3 years ago. I am trying to make plans for my future, so I want to get an idea of how much longer I need to wait to immigrate to the U.S. I saw an immigration website that says it only takes 1 yr since I’m unmarried and being sponsored by American parents, is that true?
Answer: As the adult (over 18 years old), single child or a U.S. Citizen parent, you are in the F1 Immigration category. It will take about 7-8 years for an Immigrant Visa to become available. The USCIS website only provides processing time for the I-130 petition approval, but you still need to wait for an immigrant visa to be available in the F1 category. You can see current visa availability by visiting the current Visa Bulletin website and looking for F1. I hope this is helpful.