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Discussion Starter #1
My GF and I are living together in PI and we are planning on getting married in Las Vegas in the near future. After the wedding we are going to be returning back to the Philippines after spending a few days in the States visiting friends and family etc.

In looking at the paperwork for both types of Visa (Fiance Visa and Tourist Visa), it seems that the Fiance Visa is for the couple to REMAIN in the US and of course the Tourist Visa is just that, where everybody returns back to their native country after the visit.

Since we will be RETURNING to the Philippines after the wedding, should we be using a Tourist Visa application vice the Fiance Visa application or will US Immigration give us the correct Visa no matter what application we use.

Sorry for all these Visa questions, but this is my first time dealing with Immigration matters and don't want to make a mistake which might cause a problem. I understand these Visas are hard to get and the denial rate is very high for some reason.

JM101
 

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The Tourist Visa is very hard but not impossible. Your girl friend has to have a valid reason to return to the US (college, business, job, etc.) and show she has some money (not you depositing $10,000 in her bank account just before the interview).

The Fiance Visa is not cheap and takes 6 months to a year and you are correct. It is for someone immigrating to the US and you have to stay there for 3-5 years to get her citizenship.

Why not marry her in the PI? I am sure that her family would appreciate that. Then apply for her tourist visa after she has changed her name in her passport. Then when she goes for the interview provide her a sponsorship letter (detailing your history and intentions on living in the PI permanently). Then she can honestly say that you want to take her on a delayed honeymoon to Vegas and visit friends and family, etc.

Check out my blog in the signature. I have detailed everything that we went thru to get my wife her Tourist Visa. It took us 6-7 months but it worked out and we did a 3 week trip last year without issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The Tourist Visa is very hard but not impossible. Your girl friend has to have a valid reason to return to the US (college, business, job, etc.) and show she has some money (not you depositing $10,000 in her bank account just before the interview).

The Fiance Visa is not cheap and takes 6 months to a year and you are correct. It is for someone immigrating to the US and you have to stay there for 3-5 years to get her citizenship.

Why not marry her in the PI? I am sure that her family would appreciate that. Then apply for her tourist visa after she has changed her name in her passport. Then when she goes for the interview provide her a sponsorship letter (detailing your history and intentions on living in the PI permanently). Then she can honestly say that you want to take her on a delayed honeymoon to Vegas and visit friends and family, etc.

Check out my blog in the signature. I have detailed everything that we went thru to get my wife her Tourist Visa. It took us 6-7 months but it worked out and we did a 3 week trip last year without issue.

Great blog with some fabulous info....thank you.

The only reason for her to visit the US is to accompany me on a trip (and get married). She has no other reason to go to the US except to visit....(No college, no business, no job) only me. During our visit, since I still have residency in Las Vegas, we were planning to get married as it is a simple matter of getting the license and a ride to The Little White Chapel.

Also she is NOT immigrating to the US and I am returning to the Philippines with her after our visit.

Her family (at least the ones she talks to), are working in Saudi Arabia or scattered all over the place...issues we don't need to bring up here. So a PI wedding with all of the blah blah you have to go through (a friend of mine just did it and it was crazy what he had to do) plus my family is in the US makes it better to do it in Vegas.

Again thanks for the input and you have a nice site....some great info.

JM101
 

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I am glad you found the info useful.

I would not recommend your fiance' state this wedding intent to the Consular Officer. They may view it as a way to circumvent the Fiance' visa. Also, I would double check with Nevada laws regarding marrying a foreigner (if there are any). Marriage License Pre-Application

Another issue seldom mentioned is you might have the visa but it's still up to the immigration person at the US port of entry to let them in. Came thru LAX with my mother-in-law and they almost deported her on the spot...very stressful situation at the time.

Got to be careful what you say to ANYBODY. Don't lie but don't volunteer info....
 

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A tourist visa for her would surely be denied as this seems to be the norm. It may be easier to get a K visa. She is not required to stay in the US when issued a K visa. I brought my now Wife into the US on a K visa after she had been denied a tourist visa. We were Married in the states and then moved here to the Phils before her 2 year green card expired.

Fred
 

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Just to let you know. Many years ago when things were a lot easier(1970). I was going to marry my Australian girlfriend and I was in the US Air Force in Alaska. She had a tourist visa already for going to the USA. When she presented to Immigration in the UK to leave and join me, she mentioned she was going to get married after she arrived. They tore up her tourist visa on the spot and told her she had to apply for a Fiance visa. If she had entered the US and gotten married they would have immediately deported her for falsehood.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just to let you know. Many years ago when things were a lot easier(1970). I was going to marry my Australian girlfriend and I was in the US Air Force in Alaska. She had a tourist visa already for going to the USA. When she presented to Immigration in the UK to leave and join me, she mentioned she was going to get married after she arrived. They tore up her tourist visa on the spot and told her she had to apply for a Fiance visa. If she had entered the US and gotten married they would have immediately deported her for falsehood.


OUCH....Thanks for that heads-up.

Falsehoods are not what I am trying to do here, in fact just the opposite.

We are just trying to get married on US soil and then return to the Philippines.

There is NO single Visa that covers this type of scenario which makes this a very difficult situation.


JM101
 

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Just to let you know. Many years ago when things were a lot easier(1970). I was going to marry my Australian girlfriend and I was in the US Air Force in Alaska. She had a tourist visa already for going to the USA. When she presented to Immigration in the UK to leave and join me, she mentioned she was going to get married after she arrived. They tore up her tourist visa on the spot and told her she had to apply for a Fiance visa. If she had entered the US and gotten married they would have immediately deported her for falsehood.
Ooops, my first wife and I traveled from our residence in Norway to Texas, on a toursit visa. We married while visiting family in Texas and then returned to Norway.
As far as I know, it is legal to travel to the U.S. on a tourist visa, get married, and RETURN to a foreign residence.

A Fiance Visa is only for people who have the intent to marry and then RESIDE in the U.S..
In regards to your experience in the U.K., if you were not planning to reside in the U.S., I think the authorities in the UK were mistaken.
 

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Ooops, my first wife and I traveled from our residence in Norway to Texas, on a toursit visa. We married while visiting family in Texas and then returned to Norway.
As far as I know, it is legal to travel to the U.S. on a tourist visa, get married, and RETURN to a foreign residence.

A Fiance Visa is only for people who have the intent to marry and then RESIDE in the U.S..
In regards to your experience in the U.K., if you were not planning to reside in the U.S., I think the authorities in the UK were mistaken.
The problem would be that your new wife would not have the correct visa to re-enter the UK as her visa status would have changed whilst out of the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ooops, my first wife and I traveled from our residence in Norway to Texas, on a toursit visa. We married while visiting family in Texas and then returned to Norway.
As far as I know, it is legal to travel to the U.S. on a tourist visa, get married, and RETURN to a foreign residence.

A Fiance Visa is only for people who have the intent to marry and then RESIDE in the U.S..
In regards to your experience in the U.K., if you were not planning to reside in the U.S., I think the authorities in the UK were mistaken.

Thanks for all the answers and suggestions.

Since the Fiance Visa seems to be easier to get and there is just as much hoop jumping to do just to get married here in PI, I think this might be the best overall.

We can "RESIDE" in the US for a week and then go on a vacation to PI.

From what I understand, for me to be able to get a Balikbayan Visa stamp we must travel together, entering PI at the same time. Which brings up another question.

Will she need a new passport with her name change, because of the marriage, to be able to reenter PI?

JM101
 

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Thanks for all the answers and suggestions.

Since the Fiance Visa seems to be easier to get and there is just as much hoop jumping to do just to get married here in PI, I think this might be the best overall.

We can "RESIDE" in the US for a week and then go on a vacation to PI.

From what I understand, for me to be able to get a Balikbayan Visa stamp we must travel together, entering PI at the same time. Which brings up another question.

Will she need a new passport with her name change, because of the marriage, to be able to reenter PI?

JM101
It shouldn't be a problem but you would likely need to show your marriage cert to get you a bb stamp.
 

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Depending on how long you will be there, you might want to visit the Philippine Consulate in LA. Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles Find out how long it would take to get her a new passport in her married name? It may be quicker and easier to do there than when you get back. I do not know but you may have to get your US Marriage Certificate certified by the Phil Consulate for when she applies for her new passport in the Phil? There is a Reporting of a Marriage Abroad form http://www.philippineconsulatela.org/consular services/conserv-registry.htm#ROM
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Depending on how long you will be there, you might want to visit the Philippine Consulate in LA. Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles Find out how long it would take to get her a new passport in her married name? It may be quicker and easier to do there than when you get back. I do not know but you may have to get your US Marriage Certificate certified by the Phil Consulate for when she applies for her new passport in the Phil? There is a Reporting of a Marriage Abroad form Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles
Thanks Jon,

I looked at that list of documents needed to REPORT a marriage "Contracted outside the Phillippines" is the same list of documents required to get the PI government approval for getting married inside the Philippines.

I know it is the Philippines, but I am 64 years old and a US citizen with a US passport verifying my age and citizenship so why do I need to provide a certified birth certificate for myself?...this is ridiculous.

OK enough rant and time to order documents from the US.

Appreciate the heads-up which gives me plenty of time.

JM101
 

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To clarify your concerns a bit. It is not required that she get a new Passport nor register the Marriage. A Marriage Certificate from the US is mostly recognized anywhere in the world. We did register our Marriage at the Phil Consulate in Los Angeles, took about 4 hours, even though not required. She can travel back to the Phils with her Passport she now holds and when you get to the Immigration booth in the Phils, go up to the booth together and request a Balikbayan stamp. Be absolutely sure that you have your original and at least one copy of your Marriage Certificate in hand. You will also have to ensure that you have a return or onward travel ticket in order to board in the US, commonly referred to as a "throw away" ticket as you do not plan to use it. She will not be required to have proof of further travel, as she will be the returning person, thereby giving both Balikbayan status.

Fred
 

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Fred is correct. It is not required for her to change her passport immediately upon marriage. I was only suggesting as it MAY be easier to accomplish in the US vs here. It was a major PITA for my wife to get her name changed on the important things (bank accounts, DL, and passport).

Having the original and copy of the Marriage certificate is prudent. When you return, let your wife do the talking to the Immigration officer and you will have no issues getting the BB stamp.

You will need a throw away ticket or you will not be allowed to check in for your flight. I was asked in San Fran last year. Look on the discount airlines for a special and buy a cheap one way flight to somewhere in SE asia (Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, etc.). She won't need a follow on ticket.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks guys. Really appreciate your help.

So it looks like the Fiance Visa to the US...get married in Las Vegas....return back to PI.

Jon....yes I did realize your last was only a suggestion...thanks

Fred...thanks for your clarity on getting this deed done.

And again thanks to all of you for the insight and suggestions.

John
 

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Just FYI. The Los Angeles Consulate is the one that covers the Southwestern US including LV. It is at 3600 Wilshire Blvd. 7th floor as I remember. If you do have to do any business there, get there between 7 & 7:30 as the line starts forming by then. Prepare yourself to be not impressed with them or their place of business, but they do manage to get things done. They do charge varying fees for different services so be sure you have some extra cash on hand, they will not release any documents until you produce a receipt for payment received.

Fred
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just FYI. The Los Angeles Consulate is the one that covers the Southwestern US including LV. It is at 3600 Wilshire Blvd. 7th floor as I remember. If you do have to do any business there, get there between 7 & 7:30 as the line starts forming by then. Prepare yourself to be not impressed with them or their place of business, but they do manage to get things done. They do charge varying fees for different services so be sure you have some extra cash on hand, they will not release any documents until you produce a receipt for payment received.

Fred
Do they take peso???? (LOL)

JM101
 
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