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My wife is French. She came to the US in March 2013 on an Internship visa. After she finished her internship (before the end of her visa) we decided to move to France together. We got married in the US in August and began the five month process with the French consulate to get a spousal visa for France. She returned to France at the end of August to defend her dissertation and would now like to visit me and my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas before we both leave to live in France together.

She intends on coming on a 90 day tourist visa, which does not require any paperwork before her trip, just showing up at the airport. From a lawyer, I was told that this is very risky and that she will most likely not be allowed entry into the US because the fact that she is married to a US citizen shows intent to immigrate and the fact that she just finished her masters means that she has no job, after leaving the university town she has no home except for her parents', and she lived in a metropolitan area so she has no car.

Would showing the paperwork that I've filed showing my intent to immigrate to France help her in this situation? What else can she show at the border to ensure entry?
 

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It sure can't hurt for her to carry some evidence of the fact that you're applying for a French visa. Having a round trip ticket is probably a no brainer. Basically, she may just have to get creative - make doctor or dentist appointments for after her return date. Or somehow show that she is looking for work in France or whatever she is doing now that her dissertation defense has been done.

Make sure you are available when she arrives so that they can call you if she is questioned.

Frankly, the better prepared she is, the less likely they'll give her any hassle. But the key thing is to over prepare a bit.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Why would U.S. CBP know she's married to a U.S. citizen? There's no U.S. federal marriage registry. (And I'm not sure they'd care.) They may ask her why she is visiting the U.S., in which case she would answer truthfully, "To visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays." And/or "To help my husband pack for our move to France," assuming that's the truth. She mustn't lie of course.

I think this is very low risk, actually. If she wanted to overstay she would have done it in August. With a roundtrip ticket, not looking like a vagabond, and answering questions truthfully and non-evasively, I think she'll be perfectly fine.
 
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