Can You Marry Someone Else on a Fiance Visa? Overview

“Can you marry someone else on a fiancé visa?” is not the question that you should be thinking about at the time of your engagement. Undeniably, things do not always go as planned. Consequently, you may find yourself in a situation where you are contemplating marrying someone else.

Understanding the Purpose of the Fiancé Visa

The sole purpose of the fiancé visa is to enter the United States to marry a specific person, within 90 days of entry. You must intend to marry the K-1 petitioner. If however, you entered the United States on a K-1 visa and you realize that marrying your fiancé would not be the right decision, you are not without options.

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What are My Options if I Don’t Marry My Fiancé?

Usually, the K-1 fiancé visa is valid for six months. However, after you enter the U.S., you can stay in valid K-1 status for a maximum of 90 days. You cannot extend your status nor switch to another immigration category. You have 90-days to get married, under U.S. immigration law, . If within the 90-day period, you decide not to go through with the marriage, you can leave the U.S. There is no penalty for doing so. You will begin to accrue unlawful presence if you remain in the United States beyond 90 days. Consequently, if you spend more than 180 days, but less than one year, after your I-94 expires, you are barred from re-entering the United States, for three years. Furthermore, you will be barred for ten years, if you stay for more than one year.

Once you overstay, you can be deported. If you encounter Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, you may be detained and issued a Notice to Appear in immigration court. You should not be looking to marry someone else to save you from immigration consequences. However, if you genuinely fall in love with someone and the relationship is heading towards marriage, you can win your immigration case.

However, you will not be eligible to adjust status in the United States, if you marry someone other than your K-1 sponsor. Instead, you can pursue a green card through consular processing. This means that you will have to attend the immigration interview outside the U.S.

K1 Visa Expired and Married to Someone Else: Immigration Process

After the wedding to your second fiancé, he or she should file an I-130 petition. This petition is to establish the validity of the marriage. If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your I-130 petition, the agency will send your file to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC then assigns a case number and routes you file to the appropriate United States embassy or consulate.

You will not be entitled to a work permit while the I-130 application is pending. This does not change even after it is approved. It takes about six (6) months for USCIS to make a decision on your I-130 petition.

Subsequently, once the NVC has received your file and you have paid the appropriate fees, you should apply for a I-601A Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence. This is for you to be able to re-enter the U.S. after your interview. You must prove that you have a qualifying relative who will suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted. It is very important that you do not leave the U.S. without the waiver, otherwise you could be stuck outside of the country.

Interview Outside the U.S.

Assuming that the waiver is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate will schedule an interview for you to attend. This will depend on whether an immigrant visa is available for you. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, the visa is available immediately. If your spouse is a U.S. permanent resident, you will have to wait for a visa to be available. The U.S. Visa Bulletin illustrates visa availability based on your category and country of chargeability.

Thereafter, if all goes well at the interview and the immigration officer approves your application, the Department of State will issue a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV). Usually, the visa states: “UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.” This visa will allow you to return to the United States, as a lawful permanent resident.

Is My Case Serious Enough for an Immigration Attorney?

Filing any immigration application with the U.S. government is a legal task. You may be able to find the forms online and it will give you a false sense of security that you know what you’re doing. You usually realize that you don’t know what you’re doing after you have filed the application and wasted many months or even years waiting, only for USCIS to deny your case.

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been practicing immigration law in all 50 U.S. states, since 2015. In consultations with potential clients, I am frequently asked, “Can you marry someone else on a fiancé visa?” I take the time to explain the options and the risks. I also create a personal legal strategy to help you win your green card case. If you’d like a personal evaluation, please click the orange button below. I’m excited to meet you.

Cheryl-Fletcher Can You Marry Someone Else on a Fiancé Visa?