A K1 visa, also called a fiancé visa, is provided to a foreign national that is engaged to a U.S. citizen. This allows the foreign national to come to the United States and marry their future spouse. However, the K1 visa requires the couple to marry within 90 days. You cannot renew or extend your K1 visa if you fail to marry within the 90-day window of opportunity. However, you may still be able to receive a green card if you marry late.
The Importance Of Marrying Within 90 Days Of Entering The United States
After a K1 visa is issued, the foreign national must enter the United States and marry within 90 days. The USCIS does not allow you to renew or extend your K1 visa. Therefore, you should make every effort to marry within the allotted time. If you do not do so, then it can make the adjustment of status process more challenging.
What Is The Process If I Do Not Marry Within 90 Days?
The reality is there are many things that can push your wedding closer to or after the deadline, such as wedding venue cancellations, illness, and more. The good news is there is a legal process you can follow to still obtain a green card if you marry past the 90 days that are allowed.
Follow Through With The Marriage As Soon As Possible
It can take several weeks before immigration authorities recognize that you have overstayed your visa without meeting the necessary requirements. If you have not heard from immigration authorities, then the best thing to do in many cases is to marry as soon as you can. There are many reasons a wedding may be pushed back, and as long as there are no nefarious intentions, then you still may not see any setbacks in the process.
File For Your Adjustment Of Status With An I-130 Visa Petition
Whether you marry within the 90-day window or outside of it, you will need to file for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident; the adjustment of status application can only happen after you are legally married. If you marry past 90 days, then you will need to submit an I-130 visa petition along with your green card application. The I-130 is submitted by the spouse (the U.S. citizen).
Remain In The United States While You Wait For A Response
If you have overstayed your K1 visa without getting married, then there will be a period of time when you are not legally in the United States. While this should be taken seriously, you should not leave the United States in many cases. Instead, continue with the K1 visa process you had planned, even if you are late. After you are married to your spouse that filed the Form I-129F, remain in the United States while you wait for a response from the USCIS in regard to your green card application.
What Do I Do If I Am Placed In Removal Proceedings?
As mentioned, you are in the United States unlawfully between the end of the 90-day allowed period of time and when you are married. During this time, there is a chance the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or another U.S. immigriation authority places you in removal proceedings. In this case, you will need to apply for a green card in Immigration court.
Receive Approval Of Your I-130 With USCIS
You will still need the USCIS to approve your I-130 with USCIS. This process can take months. The USCIS does not typically review the case in as much detail as a judge does in immigration court. In most cases, they simply want to ensure that you were lawfully married after being issued a K1 visa and will review your I-130 along with the green card application to determine the reason you married beyond the allowed deadline.
Reapply For Your Green Card In Immigration Court
You will also need to appear in immigration court if you have been placed in removal proceedings. The judge may want to ensure your marriage is based on the relationship you have with your spouse and not solely an attempt to obtain a green card in the United States. It is important to hire an immigration lawyer especially if you are placed in removal proceedings, as the process can become more challenging.
Hire An Immigration Lawyer To Help With The K1 Visa Process
Pride Immigration helps foreign nationals and their fiancé who is a U.S. citizen through the K1 visa process. From determining what you need to meet requirements to assisting you with Adjustment of Status, our dedicated and experienced immigration law team is ready and able to help. Get in touch with us today to get the process of renewing or extending your K1 visa started.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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