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I currently live in Puerto Rico and my fiance lives in Colombia. We both have kids and she shares custody with her kid's parent. We are planning to get married but we don't want to leave either country. Since her kid spends half the time with the father we wanted to know if there is a feasible way to kind of live in both countries. The idea is to basically live 2 weeks in Colombia when she doesn't have her child, then travel to Puerto Rico and stay here for 2 weeks until is her turn with the kid and then we return to Colombia. I don't know if that's feasible because I don't think she can keep a green card that way and I don't know if I can keep a Colombian resident visa that way.

We would like to know if there is a way in which we can achieve this. Any possible kind of visa combination, whether we should marry or not, any way in which this may work. She is not interested in a green card or citizenship, we just want to be together and be able to spend time with our kids too. Kids who live in 2 other countries. If either one of us didn't have kids we would just move to the other person's country.

Btw, I work online. Is the fact that I will be working across 2 different countries be a problem too?

  • This is a great question. I don't see any reason why this arrangement would result in the loss of the green card, which is generally triggered by extended absence, not frequent absence. Do you have a specific reason to think otherwise? I don't know anything about Columbian immigration law or practice, but in many countries the rule of thumb is that visitors are suspect when they approach 50% of their time in the country. So you just might be able to swing this as a visitor. Another option, of course, would be to try to become permanent resident there, mirroring your wife's status in the US. – phoog Apr 4 at 14:24
  • Thank you for taking your time to answer. As clarification, she doesn't have a green card nor I have a resident visa at the moment. I'm precisely worried about the fact that we will be spending 50% of our time in each country. I'm looking for a solution that could provide us with that ability. We will be spending 2 weeks in a country then travel 2 weeks to the other one and 2 weeks into the first one and so on. – Hector Galarza Apr 5 at 8:30
  • As far as I can tell from cancilleria.gov.co/en/procedures_services/visa/requirements an ‘M’ type visa might work, however it appears you would need to be married – Traveller Apr 5 at 8:51
  • This arrangement sound quite expensive to me. You need to maintain two households, lots of travel, and have two jobs (one each) flexible enough to be able to work from the other home (not present in the office for 2 weeks). AND you need to work in a different country (Columbia), which might be a legal problem, and she to work in USA (which might be even bigger problem on a tourist visa) so income taxes might get complicated really fast, more expenses for tax consultants. Maybe you should decide in which country to spend 75% of the time? – Peter M. Apr 8 at 21:34
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For the US, there are two obvious options, neither of which is exactly what you're looking for:

If it's quite a bit less than 50%, for example, 1 week in the US out of every 4, she may be okay using a US tourist visa, especially if you're not married and she has strong ties to Colombia (such as kids, a house, and a well-established job.)

On the other hand, if it's more than 50% in the US, it would be sufficient to keep a green card. Even 50% is probably okay (but ask an attorney). However, getting an immigrant visa by marriage currently takes about a year, if everything goes smoothly, during which she shouldn't visit the US, until you can get the immigrant visa and then the green card. It's a good idea to find a US immigration attorney for this, as the process is complicated and intolerant of error. (In particular, don't marry while in the US on a tourist visa.)

The third option, acquiring US citizenship, would give complete flexibility. Colombia and the US both allow dual citizenship. But this option only becomes available after having a green card for at least three years.

I don't know the rules for Colombia; hopefully someone else can answer that part.

  • It should not be necessary to remain in the US after immigrating. The green card comes automatically by mail, but the immigrant visa serves as a temporary green card for one year, allowing international travel immediately after entering the US. Also it is entirely unclear to me why you advise against marrying while on a tourist visa. There is nothing prohibiting that. – phoog Apr 7 at 16:09
  • @phoog Thanks for clarifying that...I didn't know that the immigrant visa allowed multiple entries before receiving the green card...edited my answer now. As for marrying a US citizen in the US on a tourist visa, the documented risks are if you do it within the first 90 days of entry, but I've heard attorneys recommending not to do it at all. – krubo Apr 7 at 19:08
  • Those risks are for those who intend to remain in the US and adjust status, however, which is not the case here. – phoog Apr 7 at 21:19
  • Maybe. This site thinks it's fine if you're leaving a few days later, while this site thinks it's still risky. – krubo Apr 8 at 10:30
  • The second site is saying that a fiance(e) of a US citizen risks visa refusal or refusal of entry because of the suspicion of visa fraud. But (1) the same risk exists for a married couple as for an engaged couple, and (2) if the foreign partner already has a visa and/or a history of frequent short visits to the other partner in the US then the risk is exceedingly low. It certainly doesn't justify thousands of dollars for a fiancee or spouse visa if there is no intention to immigrate. – phoog Apr 8 at 12:57

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