Prerequisites For Applying For Marriage-Based Visa For Those Already In The U.S.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires the marriage-based visa applications to be made while the applicant is in their home country. You are supposed to do this from the U.S. consulate catering for your country of origin. However, you may be able to make the application within the U.S. provided you meet these conditions:
Prove You Entered the Country Legally
If you are an illegal immigrant living in the U.S., you should not expect to succeed with a marriage-based visa application made within the country. Anybody making the application from within the country must prove that they entered the country legally.
Legal ways of entering the U.S. involve using a visa, using a border crossing card or qualifying for a visa waiver. Examples of illegal entry include sneaking through an unguarded border point or hiding in the trunk of a car. If your visit was illegal, USCIS will deny your application, and may even deport you back to your home country. In this case, your best course of action is to get out of the country and try your luck at the U.S. consulate in your home country.
Prove You Did Not Abuse Your Tourist Visa
You abuse your tourist visa if you claim that you are a mere visitor while, in truth, you have other intentions for coming to the country. Since it is relatively easy to get into the U.S. with a tourist visa, some people use the opportunity to get into the country and then trying to process their marriage-based visa. This is a form of visa fraud.
However, this isn't a path of guaranteed success; you can only succeed this way if you can prove you did not have such intentions before entering the country. You may do this, for example, by proving that you met your prospective partner while you were in the U.S. The immigration department usually becomes suspicious if a person submits the visa application soon after entering the country. The suspicions will even be harder to shake off if you were married before you came to the U.S.
As you can see, marriage-based visas aren't as easy to get as popular anecdotes would have people believe. Therefore, before you make a move, consult an immigration attorney to evaluate your status and advise you on the way forward. Otherwise, you may make a mistake that may make it hard for you to succeed with the application.
For more information, contact a lawyer in your area like http://www.darksidelawyers.com.