K-1 Visa Applicants and the 90-day rule: What Filipinos need to know
- By Ryan Barshop
You don't plant a seed in your backyard and expect a full grown tree the following day.
Everything in this world takes time to develop and mature including your attainment of success and accomplishments, trust and respect, friendship and long-lasting relationships.
When it comes to romantic relationships and marriage, time is essential.
According to experts, couples need more than just a few months to get to know each other in order for them to make a choice along the way if being together for the rest of their lives is, in fact, a worthy decision.
Even great historical figures took a long time wooing their partners in order to obtain their hands in marriage - the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte who "pursued and pursued" his beloved Josephine, and the Filipino patriot Jose Rizal who fell in love many times in his life, are good examples.
The same is true for Filipinos and their American citizen partners applying for a fiancé(e) visa or K-1 nonimmigrant visa. True to the nature of love and marriage, a romantic relationship must have already flourished between the couple applying for a K-1 visa over a period of time, a vital component in their decision to go through the application process, so that they can eventually live together legitimately as husband and wife.
What is expected of K-1 visa applicants?
As expected, both applicants are already in a mature relationship as they prepare to enter marriage. If the relationship is legitimate, courtship has already taken place and the couple has been seriously dating for quite some time already and has contemplated on getting married even before the application process started.
If the couple intends to "date" only after the K-1 visa application has been approved, which some applicants have been found guilty of, that is a clear indication that the visa was intended or will be used for fraudulent purposes.
What is the 90-day rule?
The USCIS has established a stipulation for successful K-1 visa applicants to get married within 90 days after the K-1 visa application has been issued. Once issued, the non-immigrant applicant is allowed to enter the United States. The couple then has 90 days to have the marriage ceremony take place. After the marriage, the non-immigrant spouse "may apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while USCIS processes the application." The non-immigrant spouse is given permission to work within the 90-day period by applying for Employment Authorization with the USCIS Service Center. The work permission may be extended after 90 days if the non-immigrant spouse has also chosen to apply for permanent residence at the same time.
What happens when 90 days have passed and no marriage took place?
The 90 day rule is strictly imposed for K-1 visas and applicants who did not get married within the limited period do not get an extension. The non-immigrant spouse is required to leave the United States immediately or he or she may face deportation and other immigration issues for non-compliance with the United States' immigrations laws.
Do you need help?
If you have questions on your K-1 non-immigrant visa applications, you may want to consult a licensed US Immigration attorney in Manila who will guide you through a successful attainment of a K-1 visa and let you know what to do, what not to do and what to avoid once your visa had been issued.