Traveling on K-1 visa when already married
The K1 fiance visa allows a foreign born fiance to enter the USA for a 90 day visit in order to marry an American Citizen. The traveler must be unmarried not only during the application process but also when boarding the aircraft to the USA. Sometimes applicants attempt to “game” immigration by having weddings before and after the trip.
Got a phone call today from a man whose fiancee is in the Philippines. She had an idea and asked him to call and run it by me. She really wants to have her wedding in the Philippines, at her Church and in front of her family but doesn’t like the idea of waiting for a year to get a spouse visa to travel to the USA, especially when she knows that fiance visas are much faster some taking only 4 months.
She wants to have her “cake and eat it too”. She wanted to immediately apply for a fiancee visa, and while it is pending get married in her hometown, then attend her Fiance Visa interview at the US consulate in Manila, pretend she is still single, and finally travel using her fiancee visa to the USA. The couple would get married a second time, this time in the US, and only tell immigration about the second marriage, keeping the first wedding secret.
This is truly a BAD IDEA
The rules are very clear. ONLY an unmarried person may apply for and/or travel on a fiancee visa. Her plan basically entails that she will ‘lie’ in writing on her application forms, then ‘lie’ verbally to the consulate officer, and lie’ verbally to the immigration officer at the US border. At each stage, they will repeatedly ask her to confirm that she is still unmarried. Each time she answers their questions, she is swearing under oath to an officer of the US government.
There are Penalties for Fraud What she is planning is immigration fraud. Immigration takes a very dim view of this. When caught in her dishonesty, there is a wide variety of punishments US immigration could apply. She could be refused entry, deported, banned from entering the USA for 3 or 10 years, or even banned for life.
Don’t try to ‘Game’ Immigration Lying to US immigration, trying to ‘game’ the visa process is always a bad idea. She has two safe and honest choices.
Apply for a fiancee visa, and then after a wait of about 6 to 8 months, travel to the USA and marry for the FIRST time. (she could return later to the Philippines with her new husband, to marry a second time in front of her friends. Or get married for the FIRST time in her home town, then after a wait of about 10 to 14 months, join her husband in the USA.
Give her the Wedding of her Dreams A genuine couple should anticipate spending their entire remaining lives together. If giving her the wedding she wants, means a small sacrifice of a few extra months of separation, it is well worth it. Wedding arrangements are typically more important to the female. As a matchmaker I counsel every man, ‘let her have the wedding she wants’. It is important to start your marriage on the right foot. If this is her dream, let her have it. She will always remember and be grateful and know she chose the right man. If speed is THE priority: then apply for a fiancee visas. If her dream wedding in her church, surrounded by family and friends is THE priority, then apply for the spousal visa.
By Fred Wahl