Everybody loves a fairy-tale ending of ‘happily ever after.’ But this is not a perfect world. And there are times when love fails.
On a blistering hot-summer afternoon, a frail crying lady sat across our conference table. She is here on a fiancée visa but she never married her fiancé.
She told me that her US citizen-fiancé dumped her and left her out in the cold. I asked why, and she said that he simply did not want her anymore. She does not know why the sudden change of heart.
They found each other in a dating website. They haven’t known each other for very long. Her fiancé visited her for only a week, and it was a whirlwind romance. It was not enough time to know each other. Was it then a recipe for disaster?
No matter what it was, what is she to do now? Unfortunately, there is none.
Let’s go back to where she started.
A fiancée visa holder can earn her green card only if she marries her US fiancé-petitioner, strictly, within 90 days from arrival. When love goes sour and the US citizen-fiancé decides, whimsically or otherwise, not to marry her, she has no recourse, even if it is not her fault. She is not allowed to marry any other man except her fiancé-petitioner. If no marriage occurs with her fiancé, she has to go back to her country.
The law explicitly excludes this class of aliens from ever adjusting status, if they fail to marry their US fiancé-petitioners. The law seeks to deter a possible abuse of this kind of visa by those who want only to come to the US under the guise of wanting to marry a fiancé.
Moreover, before she left her country, she stated under oath that her purpose to be in the US is to marry her fiancé. If she does not and she remains in the US without marrying her fiancé-petitioner, she could be deemed as having ‘lied’ about her intentions, which makes her inadmissible and, consequently, disqualified from adjusting status.
If the fiancée visa holder later meets her true love who is willing to marry her and they marry, she is not, under the law, allowed to adjust status and obtain a green card based on such marriage.
In the same light, not even her US citizen children can petition for her and pave the way to her obtaining a green card.
The law is harsh, but it is the law.
It is so tempting to stay and violate your visa. But it is with the price of forever looking over your shoulder that you might get caught and be deported. If she goes home as soon as she knows the marriage is not going to happen, she might be lucky the next time around and gets a second shot at love with a nice American lad.