If you arrived in the United States on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa and are recently married, you should apply for a green card to allow you to work as soon as possible. Adjustment of status for a K-1 visa allows you to apply for lawful permanent resident status, unlocking all the benefits of a green card from within the United States. It’s important to find out about this process in advance to avoid delays.
The K-1 visa is also known as the fiancé or fiancée visa. The U.S. Government created this approval for people who are engaged to a U.S. citizen who come to the country to get married. You cannot bring your fiancé to the U.S. unless you are a citizen. Green card holders cannot apply for K-1 visas for their future spouses.
Our attorneys deal with plenty of these applications because of the large military population in Hampton Roads. Many service personnel from Virginia Beach and elsewhere meet their future spouses when they are abroad on deployment.
We help U.S. residents to fill in the I-129F petition and consular processing for a K-1 approval so that their spouses can obtain K-1 visas to enter the United States, meaning they can be together as they apply for permanent residency.
A green card is often your first step on the path to citizenship, but it can be daunting to get married and deal with multiple immigration hurdles at the same time.
If you entered the United States on a K-1 visa, you have just 90 days to get married to the U.S. citizen who petitioned for you to obtain the visa. Adjustment of status allows you to transition from being a K-1 visa holder to a green card holder from within the United States.
Partners who are outside the United States can apply for a green card via a separate process called consular processing in which the green card application is dealt with by the closest U.S. embassy.
Immigration processes are burdensome and meticulous. If you make a mistake, it can set you back months or worse. It makes sense to talk to a Virginia immigration lawyer early in the process to avoid making errors.
A list of steps on how to file for adjustment of status for a K-1 visa is provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
USCIS urges applicants to initially check their eligibility for adjustment of status. The immigrant category you are applying under affects your eligibility for adjustment of status. As the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, you are eligible as a K-1 nonimmigrant.
If you are in the United States and are eligible for adjustment of status, you should file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). Like most immigration documents, I-485 is complicated and time-consuming. USCIS provides instructions on adjustment of status in a 43-page guide.
To apply for adjustment of status for a K-1 visa you must provide a government-issued identity document with a photograph, your birth certificate, a marriage certificate issued by the appropriate civil authority where the marriage took place, as well as divorce certificates if either party was previously married.
All new marriage cases filed with USCIS require an interview before an immigration officer. Couples living in Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore, or the Richmond area will be interviewed by an official at the USCIS office in Norfolk. If you live in northern Virginia, your interview will be held at the USCIS office in Fairfax.
Always prepare carefully for interviews. Our attorneys can advise you of the documents you need for the interview which include a government-issued photo ID, the appointment notice, a copy of your adjustment of status application packet, and originals of supporting documentation. We can also advise you of potential pitfalls and how to conduct yourself during the interview.
If you recently arrived in the U.S. on a marriage visa, you would receive a conditional green card which is valid for two years. Although conditional residents have the same rights as permanent residents, the conditional status gives USCIS more time to ensure the marriage is not a sham.
The attorneys at Gardner & Mendoza can also help you to file the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence form to obtain a 10-year green card. Applicants often receive lengthy requests for evidence from USCIS after filing their I-751s. You may struggle to find all the evidence to show you entered a bona fide marriage. We can assist you during this process to become a permanent resident and ultimately put you on the path to citizenship if you wish. See our resources on fiancé visas or call us at (757) 464-9224.
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