When should we get Married if I want to become a citizen? 2 Answers as of May 09, 2011

I am a New Zealander who has been coming to the US for a few years now on an H2B visa. I have been seeing an American girl now for a couple of years and we would like to get married. We are trying to work out the best way of making the visa process work for us. We are thinking of getting married while on my H2B visa and then applying for status change. Ideally we would like to have a family wedding in Fiji 4 or 5 months after we wed in the states so our families can meet each other and celebrate together. I have never overstayed my visa in the United States or any other country, nor had any previous visa problems. We are seeking advice on if or how we could make this a reality. My understanding is that I would not be able to leave the States while my status change is being processed and that I would have to wait 6 months or so for my green card? If we were to leave the United States to go to Fiji, I would not be able to re-enter the states. Would I be better to apply for a fiancé Visa? Is it possible to have a fiancé visa and a H2B visa to enter the States? Or would it be better to get married in New Zealand and then come back into the United States on an H2B visa and then apply for a green card. Would this shorten the visa status change process? Any help would be appreciated

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World Esquire Law Firm
World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
You should be able to just get married and adjust status (AOS) on your H-2B or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if NZ is qualified to go from VWP to AOS. Some VWP cannot. I dont know about NZ. Once you get your Work permit, it will also be an advance parole so that you can leave the US and come back during the pendency of your AOS. You cannot go for an extended period of time because it is true that a well prepared application should take about 6 months to be adjudicated. If you miss you interview and other appointments, you can be denied the green card. Why complicate matters? Just set up enough time to do both, marry civilly in US and go to Fiji when you get the green card to marry religiously or otherwise. Also, get a lawyer to help you through this; it sounds convoluted and a lawyer may bring some simplicity into your plans. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/9/2011
Nicastro Piscopo, APLC
Nicastro Piscopo, APLC | Louis M. Piscopo
Your question is too complicated to respond to in this type of forum. You have many issues that require in depth analysis in order for you to make an informed decision on how to proceed. Making the wrong decision in your situation can have severe consequences. You need to meet with an immigration attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/6/2011
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