K-1 (Fiancé) visa is for an unmarried alien, man or woman, to come to the U.S. for the purpose of marrying the American citizen petitioner - and the marriage must take place not later than 90 days from the date of arrival in the U.S.  Then the alien spouse may apply for a Green Card (Form I-485) in the U.S.  It is a very useful and convenient visa if everything happens as it is supposed to happen.  But if the alien and the petitioner do not marry within the prescribed 90 days, the alien will be in a great deal of trouble.

The Immigration law punishes the K-1 alien who does not marry the American petitioner, and the reasons for not marrying do not matter.  The law  forbids this alien from getting a Green Card in the U.S. (by Adjustment of Status - Form I-485), even if the alien has a real marriage with another U.S. citizen and even if they have children who are American by birth.

This is a real punishment, because if the alien agrees to leave the U.S. and apply for an Immigrant Visa at the American Consulate in the home county, the consul would probably hold back the visa for many years on account of the "3-10 year bar" and because of lengthy adjudication of the required waivers ("pardons").

An experienced Immigration lawyer would be able to weigh the chances and the risks in taking the option of leaving the U.S. and applying for an Immigrant Visa at the U.S. Consulate.  Sometimes the best advice would be to just wait in the U.S. for another opportunity.

If you receive a Notice To Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court, the actual facts of your individual case are very important.  (To read more about Immigration Court - click here).  Your Immigration lawyer may be able to find legal arguments to enable you to stay in the U.S.

For holders of K-1 Visas it is very important to get good, comprehensive legal advice.


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