K1 Visa Final Steps

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In the past two articles, we have discussed the K-1 visa process in depth. This is the process in which you, as a United States citizen, seek permission for your fiancé(e) who is living in another country to come to the U.S. to marry you and then get their Green Card, and he/she meets certain requirements in order to do so. In this post, we’ll discuss what happens after the Embassy interview.

If the interview goes well and the Consular officer makes an immediate determination that you and your fiancé(e) have a legitimate relationship, he or she may be able to get his or her K-1 visa straight away. More often than not, however, there is usually a short wait before the visa — which is actually a sticker placed in the beneficiary’s passport — is delivered by courier. Once your fiancé(e) has the visa, he or she can make the necessary arrangements to join you here.

The most important thing to keep in mind at this point is that your fiancé(e) must come to the United States within six months after the K-1 visa is delivered. This is because the visa is only valid for this length of time. Another consideration is that this visa only allows the holder to travel to the United States once within that timeframe.

There are no restrictions as to where your fiancé(e) enters the United States. In other words, he or she can book airline tickets from his or her country to any major airport in the U.S. — which will most likely the one closest to where you live. Upon arrival, he or she will present a special packet prepared by the U.S. Embassy and given to him/her after the interview, to the immigration officer. At that point, the officer might ask some questions, and will stamp your fiancé/e’s passport. The officer will also issue an I-94, which is attached to the passport, at this time.

Once your fiancé(e) gets here, you two can finally get married — but you will have only three months, or 90 days in which to do so. This restriction kicks in as soon as your fiancé(e) arrives, and cannot be extended. There are no restrictions on where you get married. However, your fiancé(e) must marry you, and if you two do not get married within that time for any reason, your fiancé(e) must leave the United States.

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Once your fiancé(e) gets here, he or she can apply for a work permit or EAD by filing Form I-765 with USCIS. Getting a work permit this way usually takes two to three months. However, your fiancé(e) will not actually be able to work in the United States until you two are married.

After you are married, your fiancé(e) will be able to seek lawful permanent residency (apply for their Green Card) through a process called adjustment of status (AOS). This is done by filing Form I-485 with USCIS, supplying all of the required information and going to an interview.

Along with the mandatory filing fee, the documents that must be furnished in addition to Form I-485 include:

  • A copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice for the Form I-129F filed by your sponsor/petitioner
  • A copy of your marriage certificate
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph, such as a driver’s license
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your passport page with nonimmigrant visa;
  • A copy of your passport page with your admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer);
  • A copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable)
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

Additional documentation may be required depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

Although there is no set deadline for filing Form I-485 after you’re married, USCIS will only issue a conditional Green Card (valid for a limited period) if the application is approved within two years after your marriage. If your spouse gets this type of Green Card, he or she must remove the conditions on his or her residence by filing Form I-751 with USCIS. To avoid complications, this form must be filed within three months before the conditional Green Card expires.

While you can file these forms yourself, it is always better to seek help from an experienced immigration attorney to avoid potential complications along the way. At IMMIF, we can handle the entire process for you, or review your forms before you file them and help you fix any mistakes. We can also address any questions or concerns you have about the K-1 visa process, adjustment of status and/or the conditional Green Card, so contact us to learn more today.

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