March 8, 2010: Visa Waiver Entry with U.S. Citizen Wife

Visa Waiver Entry with U.S. Citizen Wife

I am a United States citizen and moved with my husband (a German citizen)to Germany. We find ourselves needing to move back to the USA due to issues with the government here. How can I get my husband back to the USA legally? Is there any way he can come with me right away (as we are expecting a newborn this is rather important)? Can we apply for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa? Are there any emergent provisions for someone needing to leave a country immediately?
— Anonymous

Presently, Germany is one of thirty-five countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Go to www.travel.state.gov to learn more about the VWP.

Generally, the VWP allows German nationals to travel to the United States to visit or for business for 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. However, there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met to participate in the VWP. For example, you must have authorization to travel through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), have a valid passport that is valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay, show intent to stay for 90 days or less for tourism or business purposes and be prepared to demonstrate that intent, demonstrate ability to support oneself during the stay, and travel on an approved carrier and have a return ticket to a foreign destination.

Thus, assuming your husband is otherwise admissible to the United States and he meets the above VWP criteria, he may be eligible to travel with you immediately to the United States under the VWP. Assuming for a second that he is eligible for the VWP, it appears that the sticking point will be your husband’s intent to return abroad after his temporary visit to the United States.

There may be other options for you and your husband. Therefore, it may be wise for you and your husband to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your specific facts and other possibilities.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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