An adjustment of status is sought by individuals who are physically in the U.S. and want to apply for legal permanent residence. Once your fiancé enters the United States and marries you within the 90-day window, a K-1 adjustment of status is necessary to go from K-1 visa to a green card. After entering the United States, the foreign fiancé can begin the application process for both their Social Security Number and Employment Authorization Documents, which are valid for the extent of the validity period.
The process is extensive, and this post will help guide you from K-1 visa holder to green card holder.
Application Process for K-1 Adjustment of Status
You need to file a K-1 adjustment of status before the end of the 90 days of stay. In other words, you should file for an adjustment of status before the I-94 expires.
To receive authorization for permanent residency or a green card, you must file and complete the following documents.
K-1 Visa to Green Card: Application to Adjust Status (Form I-485)
The foreign national spouse should file the I-485 application after the marriage has occurred and within 90 days of stay to change their K-1 visa status. We strongly advise individuals to file within 90 days of stay to circumvent the accrual of an unlawful presence. However, nothing stops you from applying after the 90-day window has expired as long as the marriage takes place within the 90-day window.
If you do not get married within 90 days, you are required to leave the country and cannot file for an adjustment of status or any other non-immigrant category.
The form covers the following topics.
- Biographical information about yourself
- Address history
- Immigration history
- Noting whether you are the principal or derivative applicant
- Visa category
- Employment history
- Information about your parents
- Marital history
- Information about any children you might have
- Demographic information
- Questions regarding eligibility
- Memberships in any organizations, associations, foundations, political parties, militaries, or similar groups either in the U.S. or abroad
- Criminal history
- Espionage and security information
- Public charge information
- History of illegal entries
- Disability information
- Information regarding any interpreters or legal representatives you used to complete the form
The filing fee is $1,140.
Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
Form I-864 demonstrates that the intending immigrant has the substantial financial support to not become a public burden. The citizen spouse will also need to submit a form to prove that they’ll support their immigrant spouse should their spouse not be able to support themselves. The poverty guidelines and household size dictate the minimum income required to sponsor someone. If the citizen spouse does not have an income that exceeds the minimum, a co-sponsor will be necessary. Regardless of which option you choose, all individuals who will be submitting an affidavit of support have to offer supporting evidence of their income, funds, recent tax returns, and W2 Forms.
The form covers the following topics.
- Basic information about the immigrant you’re sponsoring—your finacé
- Your address information
- Sponsor’s citizenship or legal permanent residency information
- Household size
- Employment information
- Income information
- Asset information
- Information regarding any interpreters or legal representatives you used to complete the form
Report of Medical Examination and Vaccinations (Form I-693)
Applicants must submit form I-693 and the K-1 Adjustment of Status application to go from K-1 visa to green card. Be aware that a medical examiner who USCIS authorizes must be the one to carry out the medical exam of the foreign fiancé. In addition, this same physician should conduct any necessary vaccinations. You can find a USCIS-approved doctor using the USCIS Find A Doctor tool.
USCIS may require a new exam if the applicant did the medical exam more than a year ahead of the adjustment of status submission or if there were any issues with this exam. Consult an immigration attorney to learn more if this applies to you.
The medical exam includes a physical and mental evaluation, drug and alcohol screening, various medical tests, and a review of your medical history. Bring the following evidence with you to your exam.
- Immunization and vaccination records
- Copies of any chest x-rays
- A copy of your medical history
- Treatment plans for any medical conditions
The exam helps USCIS determine if you fall under any health-related grounds of inadmissibility.
The results are sealed, and applicants should submit them to USCIS unopened.
The fee is dependent on the price the doctor charges. If you have health insurance, make sure to bring your health insurance card to the appointment.
Medical Exam Not Always Required
If you received a medical exam during the consular stages, you might not be required to obtain another one. The following conditions would exempt you from getting a second medical exam:
- You filed Form I-485 within one year of your medical exam that you received abroad
- The original medical exam did not indicate that you have a Class A medical condition
- You have a waiver of inadmissibility for those identified with a Class A medical condition
Even if you are exempt from re-doing the medical exam, you must prove that you adhered to the vaccination requirements. Ensure you have the DS 3025 vaccination record and include it with the original medical exam report. If you do not, you will need the vaccination report done by a designated doctor. Suppose the time frame for the original medical exam to be sent to the U.S. consulate is lengthy. In that case, your lawyer may recommend just doing a new medical exam to expedite the approval process of your adjustment of status.
Application for Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765)
An employment authorization document permits the foreign spouse to work in the United States. As a spouse, you can apply for the employment authorization document right after entering the country. Likewise, you can apply for a Social Security number without having to wait.
The employment authorization document is Form I-766, but you need to fill out Form I-765 to apply for it. The form covers similar topics to the I-864 and I-485 with the addition of asking your eligibility criteria, alien registration number, and evidence of your most recent entry into the country. In addition, you have to submit a copy of your visa and I-797C Notice of Action.
The Form I-765 filing fee is $410.
Application for Travel Document (Form I-131)
Use Form I-131 to apply for your travel permit. If you submit both the I-765 and I-131 along with the K-1 Adjustment of Status application, then USCIS will concurrently issue advance parole and the travel permit.
Along with the information requested in the previous forms, Form I-131 also asks for the following.
- Intended trip departure date
- Expected length of stay
- Trip purpose
- Countries visiting during travel
- The number of trips you will use the travel permit for
The filing fee for Form I-131 is $575.
Other Required Documents
You should also submit copies of the following documents with the K-1 Adjustment of Status application:
- I-129F Approval Notice
- Biographic page of the foreign spouse’s passport
- Foreign spouse’s K-1 visa and I-94 arrival/departure records
- Foreign spouse’s birth certificate. If applicable, you must also submit an English translation.
- Marriage certificate
- You must also submit copies of previous divorce decrees and English translations (if applicable).
- Four passport-sized photos
- Copy of EAD card (if available) along with I-765
K-1 Adjustment of Status Interview 2022
The last step of the process is the K-1 adjustment of status interview in the USCIS office. During this interview, the officer will ask questions to confirm that the marriage is bonafide. Many of the questions may resemble those from the initial K-1 visa interview. The following are examples of documents that demonstrate a marriage is legitimate:
- Photographs of the couple together
- Mortgage documents or leases
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Proof of joint ownership of property (i.e., cars, furniture, homes, etc.)
Along with determining the legitimacy of the marriage, the USCIS official wants to make sure the submitted forms and evidence are accurate. It’s normal to be nervous before the interview, but the interviewer is supposed to be cordial and accommodating during the interview. You don’t need to have every bit of information you submitted memorized. It’s essential that if you don’t know the answer to a question, let the interviewer know you don’t remember. Don’t lie. Any discrepancies in your answers and what you submitted can be a red flag.
Questions during the interview will cover topics regarding personal biographical information, questions about your fiancé, your relationship, and your wedding. Below are some sample questions that you might hear.
- Have you been married before? If yes, when did the relationship end, and why?
- Have you ever been convicted or arrested for a crime?
- Have you visited the U.S. before?
- What do you do for a living?
- Have you traveled outside of your home country before?
- Where does your fiancé work?
- What are your fiancé’s hobbies?
- How many siblings does your fiancé have?
- Have you met your fiancé’s parents?
- Where did your fiancé go to school?
- What did your fiancé study in school?
- Do you know your fiancé’s phone number?
- What language does your fiancé speak? Do you understand it?
- How many rooms are in your fiancé’s home?
- Does your fiancé live with anyone else?
- Who is your fiancé’s best friend?
- How did you both meet?
- Where was the first date?
- When did the relationship turn romantic?
- Have you both vacationed together before?
- Have you spent any holidays together?
- How did the proposal occur?
- When was the wedding happen?
- Where did the wedding take place?
- How many people attended the wedding?
- Did your parents be attending the wedding?
- Who were the bridesmaids and groomsmen?
- What kind of wedding attire did you both wear?
- If you had a honeymoon, where did you go?
- If your spouse has children, have you met them?
- How will you handle the finances and budget in the family?
- Do you plan to have children together?
K-1 Visa to Green Card Processing Time
Processing time for Form I-485 depends on several factors, including your case details, which service center processes your case (backlogs are rampant right now), and how accurately you filed your adjustment of status documents. About 2-3 weeks after filing your Form I-485, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS notifying you that they received your application.
If You Did Not File Form I-485 Properly
If you did not file your I-485 correctly, you would receive a Notice of Action to reject the application. USCIS denies roughly 11% of applications. Alternatively, you may receive a Request for Evidence (RFE). Both will add processing time to your case, which you can often avoid by hiring a professional.
Typically the timeframe for your adjustment of status application to process is eight to fourteen months. You can check your exact case status online here.
Notice for Biometric Appointment
After filing your Adjustment of Status application, you should receive a notice for your biometric appointment with the date and location (typically at the closest USCIS Application Support Center near you). You will be fingerprinted for your criminal background check and asked to sign some documents at your appointment. Be sure to bring a government-issued I.D. with you to the appointment. You can obtain a passport, driver’s license, military I.D., or state-issued I.D. You can see the biometric service fees for the I-485 below.
Apply for Green Card and Social Security Number Simultaneously
Good news! You can now apply for your green card and SSN simultaneously! Previously, you could not do both together, but this changed in August 2021. With the new process, after USCIS approves your I-485, they will electronically send your information directly to the Social Security Administration to process your number. The fee for filing Form I-485 will not change.
Summary of Steps to Apply for K-1 Visa Adjustment of Status
- File Form I-485 along with supporting documents
- Biometrics Appointment
- K-1 Visa Adjustment of Status Interview
- Once the Adjustment of Status application is approved, you will receive your conditional green card (valid two years as a measure to deter green card fraud)
- File Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, 90 days from when the conditional green card expires
- Receive permanent resident card (lasts ten years). Permanent residents who would like to apply for citizenship after three years of marriage will have the two-year conditional residence applied toward the requirement.
K-1 Visa Status Frequently Asked Questions
How long can you stay on a K-1 visa?
You are required to get married within 90 days upon entering the United States on a K-1 Visa. You need to go through the AOS process to obtain a green card. Conversely, you can apply for a green card outside the U.S. through consular processing. With this route, you need to stay outside of the United States until you receive approval for your green card.
What is needed for K-1 adjustment of status?
You need to first File Form I-485 and the supporting documents listed in the section above. Do this after the marriage but within 90 days to avoid unlawful presence. The other forms you will need to complete are the I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, I-131 if you want to travel or gain employment in the country before having permanent residence and I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
How long does K-1 adjustment of status after marriage take?
It can take anywhere from ten to thirteen months for the AOS process via marriage to a U.S. citizen. If your partner is a U.S. green card holder, it could take anywhere from 29-38 months. One of the most significant factors that will dictate processing time apart from your details is which USCIS processing center handles your case and their backlogs.
How much income do I need to sponsor a K-1 visa?
According to the 2021 poverty guidelines, as the petitioner for a K-1 visa, you must make at least 417,240 (except Alaska and Hawaii residents) to meet the income requirements. This requirement is to prevent the foreign fiance from becoming a public charge to the U.S. government. By submitting the I-134 Affidavit of Support, you are essentially promising the government that you will repay the dollar amount of public benefits should the foreign fiance rely on the government for financial assistance. If your income does not suffice, you have the option to get a co-sponsor to petition them.
How VisaNation Law Group Can Help with Your Adjustment of Status After Marriage
Seek the help of a qualified immigration attorney if you have any questions regarding your K-1 Adjustment of Status or any immigration-related matter. VisaNation Law Group’s lawyers have decades of experience that will make the process easier. You can schedule a consultation with them today by filling out this contact form.
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