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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am trying to figure the details of the K-1 process.

Can the K-1 be applied for while the foreign fiance is still visiting the USA on an ESTA?

And if not the ESTA, possibly some other Visa?

If this is not possible, is it still acceptable to go back and forth into the US via ESTA while the K-1 is processing?

Thanks,
-Eric
 

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This question is asked a lot in this forum, and you can find and review prior answers using the search function.

Briefly, technically yes, but it's at least somewhat risky. It requires that the foreign fiancé(e) have two inherently conflicting immigration intentions at the same time, only separated by a time dimension (not immigrating this visit, immigrating later). Furthermore, U.S. CBP must be reasonably persuaded when the foreign visitor enters that that is actually the case. And if anybody is thought to be lying (to CBP, for example), that could result in very serious problems.

It's less risky if the petitioner (the U.S. person) visits his/her foreign fiancé(e) in the fiancé(e)'s country well within the limits of that country's visit policies. You're trying to build a life together in a particular country (the U.S.), and it's best not to risk upsetting that particular country. If the other country gets "upset" then that's not good, but it's better than the U.S. getting upset if that's where everybody is trying to land.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Looking and thinking further into our options... She would be going to school soon anyways, would it be possible to start on an F-1 visa, marry while in-country on that, and then convert to a K-3 Visa? (ultimately to a Green card)

Secondly, as a shot in the dark, is there any way to marry on the ESTA in country and convert to a more permanent visa.

The goal here is for her to not have to return to Finland for any extended duration.

Thank you,
-Eric
 

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She would be going to school soon anyways, would it be possible to start on an F-1 visa, marry while in-country on that, and then convert to a K-3 Visa?
I don't know why you're fixated on the K-3. Ignore it. It's not relevant.

Leaving that aside, yes, with caveats. Yes, if she qualifies for a F-1 visa she can come into the United States, and yes she can marry a U.S. citizen in the United States while on a F-1. Thereafter she/you would apply for an Adjustment of Status to get her a green card.

But she must not lie. If she has dual intent (studying and marriage, both), and she is asked about that, she must answer truthfully. Then her F-1 may or may not be approved, for example.

My advice would be to do this correctly or don't get married. You're trying to spend the rest of your lives together. You really don't want to risk immigration problems on top of possible marital problems. Keep it nice and simple: K-1 or CR-1, exactly as USCIS and the State Department want it done. And if that means you take a trip or two more to Finland, do it.

Secondly, as a shot in the dark, is there any way to marry on the ESTA in country and convert to a more permanent visa.
Only if the marriage is genuinely spontaneous, and since you're asking it wouldn't be. So the answer is no.

As far as I know there's no particular obstacle to your flying to Finland, marrying there, and staying in Finland (or in another EU/EEA country with your wife). So if the goal is to minimize time apart, then that's the only viable answer as far as I can tell.
 

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Get used to the idea that your goals are just that - your goals.

Yes, AoS while in country on another visa or on ESTA is an option. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not work. You will find success stories on line. You will not find too many denials on line. The key word is spontaneous not planned. And you have to prove it.

K3 currently has the same processing times as CR1. Why do you not read up on it at the source which is USCIS.gov?

The short of it - your options are Cr1 or K1 or immigration roulette.
 
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