A K-1 Visa is a single entry visa that is usually valid for 6 months from the time of issuance. This requires the K-1 visa holder to travel within 6 months of the issuance of the visa. However, many times life interrupts this process.
A K-1 visa holder might have planned to leave their home country for the United States then there are political disruptions which prevent the K-1 visa holder to leave in time. Or the K-1 visa might have been issued earlier than expected and the K-1 visa holder has a few more months to complete their education and obtain their degree. As a result, the K-1 visa has expired and can no longer be used.
Another instance is when the K-1 visa holder has left their home country and entered the United States. There has been family tragedy back home and the K-1 visa holder has to return home prior to getting married and filing for adjustment of status. Since the K-1 visa is a single-entry visa, after the K-1 visa holder has left the United States, they cannot reenter without a new visa.
So what can the Petitioner and the Fiancé do? They can attempt to file a new application for a K-1 visa. Many do not want to wait another 8 months for the case to process. A long distance relationship is difficult and that is the reason why the couple decided to file for the quicker K-1 process than a direct immigrant petition. In addition, as a result of the confusion with rule regarding the multiple K-1 petition limits, there is a possibility that the K-1 petition will be denied the second time even when it was approved the first time.
For the K-1 visa holder who has never used their visa, the consular officer may revalidate the visa as long as the Petitioner and Fiancé remain legally free to marry and continue to intend to marry each other within 90 days after the Fiancé’s admission into the United States. The revalidation is entirely in the discretion of the consular officer. The Fiancé must be able to demonstrate that his/her inability to use the visa was due to circumstances beyond his/her control. If the Fiancé is determined eligible for a replacement visa, he/she will be asked to update his/her record and will be charged applicable consular fees. If the officer is not convinced of the intention to marry, the revalidation will be denied.
If the Fiancé has already used the K-1 visa for admission into the United States and returned abroad prior to the marriage, the consular officer may issue a new K visa, provided that the period of validity does not exceed the 90th day after the initial admission of the beneficiary into the United States on the original K visa. The Fiancé will have to pay a new application processing fee. In addition, the Petitioner and Fiancé still intend and are free to marry. The couple will have to explain to the consular officer why the Fiancé returned without getting married. The decision to reissue the visa is in the discretion of the consular officer.
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