Traveling while a fiancé visa is pending is a question we get a lot because with the processing time delays for a fiancé visa or any visa for that matter, those delays are so lengthy and people just want to be together in the US. By this time, they’ve made that commitment to be with each other to start their life together in the US. Now, they’re waiting on USCIS to catch up to where they are in their life.
A visitor visa is essentially a visa with non-immigrant intent that means you intend to go home so that’s why when you’re going to apply for a visitor visa, you have to show significant ties to your home country that shows that officer that’s adjudicating your fiancé or your visitor visa application that you have significant ties enough to your home country that you would then likely to return home.
Right now, getting a visitor visa is very difficult. There’s not a lot of them being actually adjudicated in favor of that person that’s applying the opposite issue or intent. Fiancé visas and spousal visas are also considered visas with non-immigrant intent. A non-immigrant visa for all practicalities, when it comes to consular processing and how it’s looked at or viewed by CBP or the Department of Homeland Security, is that you’re intending to stay and live in the US.
Traveling obviously on a non-immigrant intent while you have a visitor or spousal or a fiancé or a special visa pending once that application has been put into process puts CBP and USCIS on notice that you are wanting to come and live in the US. In all practicalities, it can cause more issues at the border so when you go to enter there could be more questions asked of you by an immigration officer and essentially they have all discretion to turn you away.
We are able to successfully help our clients navigate that process so as long as they have a current visitor visa or ESTA or some other visa that would allow them to enter and stay for short periods of time. The problem really lies is if you don’t currently have an ESTA or a visitor visa which is hard to get. ESTA is definitely less stringent and more easily available to people to be able to apply and get that but as far as petitioning for a visitor visa somewhere, you’re likely looking at a very long wait time for even an interview to get a visitor visa. Something to keep in mind that if you currently have a way to enter even if it’s a non-immigrant intent and we’ve helped you apply or you have applied for a spousal or fiancé visa something that puts the Department of Homeland Security on notice that you’re wanting to immigrate to the US.