What If I Marry Someone Different Than My K1 Petitioner?

25 Apr 2018

“What if I married somebody different than the person who petitioned me for a K1 visa?”

This is not an entirely uncommon situation. In fact, we see this several times a year. Somebody will come here on a fiancee visa and for whatever reason, they don’t get married to that person who petitioned them. Ideally you’re supposed to get married within 90 days or leave. But people, for whatever reason, do end up staying and end up in a relationship with somebody else.

It is possible to still apply for a green card through marriage through somebody else, but you’ll have to do an additional step which is the I-130 which you normally wouldn’t do. If you come here on a K1 visa and you apply for a green card, you’re not doing the I-130 immigrant visa petition. But in this case, if you’re going to be petitioned by somebody who did not sponsor you on the I-129f, the K1 visa, then you’re going to have to do an I-130.

Now that’s kind of the easy answer. However, it does mean most likely you were out of status. It’s unlikely all this happened: You came here; Your relationship ended with the person who petitioned you; You found another relationship and got married. All of that probably didn’t happen within 90 days, so you’re probably out of status, and any time you’re out of status, there’s always that danger that somebody, especially now with this heightened enforcement, we’re seeing people who normally would have been low priority for enforcement action now being deported or being picked up. So if you are out of status, there’s always a chance you apply and they deny it and give you a deportation order. If you’re really concerned about that, you may just want to talk to a lawyer about it, because, you’re almost certainly out of status.

Unless you’ve managed while you were here to change your status to some other type, student visa or something, if your current immigration status is valid, then yes, it’s no problem at all. But if you’re out of status, which is most likely the case, then nothing stops you from reapplying. And we’ve seen people do it successfully. We’ve never actually seen anybody have a problem with it, and again we do maybe a dozen of those a year, and they’ve always gone right through, but we are seeing heightened enforcement now that is causing things that used to sail right through to receive increased scrutiny and even denials.

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