The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that has been designed by the U.S. immigration system to allow foreigners to come to the United States in order to marry a U.S. citizen. The process for applying for this visa entails proving to a U.S. consulate or embassy that you have met the partner you plan on marrying within the last two years, that you have a legitimate relationship, and also that you are not inadmissible to the United States based on health, (medical exam) or criminal related grounds.
Given the status of the Covid-19 pandemic, all K-1 visa applicants also need to complete a round, or two, of vaccinations against Covid-19 before entering the United States. In limited circumstances can a foreigner be partially vaccinated and travel to the United States.
90 Day Rule
One of the main conditions of the K-1 non-immigrant visa is that the principal visa holder needs to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States. This is because marriage will confer a new status to the individual that will allow them to file an adjustment of status in the U.S. and thus become a legal permanent resident (green card holder). Yet, it is worth exploring what might happen if the K-1 visa holder decided to put their marriage on hold.
First off, if you decide to put the marriage on hold and do not get married within 90 days, you are living in the U.S. unlawfully although nothing will probably happen to you immediately. If your marriage happens after 90 days, then your spouse can still file an I-130 petition on your behalf and you can go on to apply for an adjustment of status in order to become a green card holder.
However, if you ultimately wish to break off the marriage and stay in the United States, you will have limited options. Once you are in an unlawful state in the U.S., you could be placed into removal proceedings, although immigration authorities have higher priority items to take care of, so they most likely would not place you into removal proceedings for several months. Thus it might simply be a good idea to leave the United States at this time.
If you do stay in the U.S. indefinitely and then eventually leave, this could be a very bad option because you could receive a 3 year ban on re-entering the United States. Basically, if your marriage does not work out, it is a good idea to pursue an employment based or other family based option of arriving in the U.S., instead of staying in the U.S. illegally.
Additionally, if you have been working in the U.S. with an EAD in your 90 day period, you could ask your employer to sign a petition on your behalf. This would require leaving the U.S. as well in order to receive an employment based visa. In this situation, it would not matter if you didn’t get married because you would have a new petition and new case for immigration.