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March 7, 2011: With an I-130 Pending, can the Beneficiary Visit the USA?

With an I-130 Pending, can the Beneficiary Visit the USA?

I am waiting for my petition (I-130) to be approved. I have a tourist visa, I went to the U.S. three times, but now because we are officially married I am worried about when I am entering the border. Now I want to visit my wife in the summer, but this time I am worried about them not letting me in because I have a petition pending.

Is that a reason for them to not let me in at the border? Is it possible for border inspectors to know that I have the petition? I am a student, 24 years old and I live in Portugal.
— Anonymous

There are several factors that may affect your ability to enter the United States as a tourist. The most important thing that you can do is to tell the truth. The fact that you have a pending I-130 petition that was filed on your behalf by your United States citizen spouse should not be the sole basis for the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to deny you admission to the United States.

CBP has access to all immigration records. Therefore, it is conceivable that the CBP officer will know that you have an immigrant visa petition pending that was filed on your behalf. That is why telling the truth is important. If you are intending to enter the United States to visit your wife and then return to Portugal because you are in school, then that is what you tell the Customs and Border Patrol officer.

You may want to bring proof of your enrollment in school and proof of any other ties that you have to Portugal. The CBP officer will also see that you have a pattern of visiting the United States and then leaving. You want the CBP officer to know that you will do the same this time around. If you or your spouse have additional questions, it may be wise to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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