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I am a non-resident alien (F-1, student visa) in the US who wants to travel with my significant other (US citizen) to my home country. If we buy a plane ticket together, am I damaging my ability to demonstrate non-immigrant intent because it could appear that I might eventually want to marry my significant other and become a permanent resident of the US?

I know that non-immigrant intent matters when applying for a non-immigrant visa, but will the CBP officer at the airport (when returning to the US) be concerned that I was traveling with a citizen?

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Standard disclaimer: There isn't any definitive formula for proving immigrant/non-immigrant intent, and you can never be certain about what US immigration officers will be concerned about.

That said, traveling with your US citizen girlfriend/boyfriend probably shouldn't prevent you from having non-immigrant intent. It could be more risky if you're already engaged, especially if you're already planning to get married in the US. In that case there could be a risk that you might not be admitted as an F-1 student and should consult an attorney before traveling. On the other hand, if your primary intention is still to enter the US temporarily in order to attend university, you should generally be admissible as an F-1 student.

Of course, if there's some other piece of the picture, such as you previously overstayed or were previously denied entry, etc., that could increase the risk. If not, you should be fine.

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