Monday, November 29, 2010

K-1 Visa -marry the USC petitioner or go back

How can someone come here on K-1 visa and not marry the U. S. Citizen who sponsored him or her? Wrong question, I guess. In ever fluid relationships among human beings, anything can happen, I suppose. Let me not get carried away restrict myself to the legal side of things.

K-1 visa is a finance visa issued to fiances of USC (United States Citizen). Immigration Service known as USCIS allowed this petition so that the fiances can enter the U. S. sooner to be united with their spouses and resume family relationship. After entry into the U. S., fiance and U. S. citizen have to marry within ninety (90) days though.

If the fiance who entered on K-1 visa does not marry the U. S. citizen within ninety (90) days, then such fiance has to return to the home country.

In a recent case, Kalal v. Gonzalez, Case number 03-71354, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, addressed and rejected a number of arguments by Mrs. Kalal who had entered into the U. S. under K-1 visa but did not marry her U. S. Citizen fiance. The court held that Petitioner, who entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa but failed to marry the petitioning fiancĂ© was not eligible for adjustment of status under INA §245.

Mrs. Kalal had made several strong arguments based on caselaw and written statutes (aka law). However, the court rejected them for the simple reason: the Congress passed the law and contemplated the possibility of fiance not marrying the U. S. citizen and did not allow such fiance to obtain permanent resident status by way of marrying someone else.

So, it is important to remember this law and to make sure that either you marry the U. S. citizen fiance who sponsored you or you return to the home country and then obtain new visa, immigrant or non-immigrant, based on new, or shall I say different, relationship.

It is ironic for me to note that Mrs. Kalal had entered the U. S. in June 1996 and her conditional status was denied in 2001. Immigration had made a mistake in issuing her permanent resident status in the first place. However, when she filed a petition to remove conditional status, all the problems started, leading to being placed in removal proceedings and final removal order. The decision by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals came out recently. So it took a total of fifteen years or so for final the resolution. She can file an appeal with the Supreme Court but it will be a far fetched shot. I am not an expert in Supreme Court Appeals but know that it is pretty high legal criteria and standard.

I am sure a lot has changed since 1996 for her. She must have started a family. But nothing matters-anymore!! A simple decision has played such a havoc in her life. She should have sought and received the right advise at the time and returned to home country and then filed for permanent resident status there. Perhaps she did get the right advise and did not want to return to the home country. Only she knows what happened.

I know that most immigrants engage in following two behaviors- ask family and friend who advise based on their limited experience and 2ndly, they don't want to believe the tough advise. I hate to generalize but these two behaviors are very basic human behaviors. So, I am just stating the facts.

I think her attorney Bart Klein did a pretty good job in making arguments for her.

So, remember that sometimes tough choices in the begining might be good for the long run!!