green card after k1 visa

How Long To Get Green Card After K1 Visa?

One big difference between the K1 fiancé visa and the CR1 spouse visa, is whether you will be a permanent resident upon arrival. So, let’s go over how long it will take to get a green card after K1 visa is approved.

When I first arrived in the Unite States on a K1, the first thing on my mind was of course marrying my fiancé but the next was when I was able to work. 😝

Unfortunately, that is one of the downsides of the K1 visa. You can’t work until you apply for your green card and work permit which can take several months to approve.

Case Example:

Allison met her Mexican boyfriend Marco while on vacation down south. They immediately hit it off and began a long distance relationship for another 9 months before deciding to file for the K1 visa.

They began the process of putting everything together for their I-129F petition and once they were done, they sent it off. After 11 months, they were approved for the K1 visa and Marco was on his way to the US. 🇺🇸

They quickly got married at the courthouse and began the process of adjusting status for a green card. After putting together their evidence of marriage and financial documents, they submitted the application and then the wait began.

The above scenario may sound familiar to you if you are going through the exact same process.

Related Post: K1 Visa Process: How To Get Approved For Fiancé Visa

Related Post: Fiancé Visa or Spouse Visa: Which Is Faster?

K1 Visa and 90 Day Requirement

Interestingly, if you don’t marry within the 90 day window that the K1 visa allows, but instead, marry much later you can still adjust status.

The catch is that you must have the original petitioner file the paperwork for you. I’ve had a few readers email me asking if they can just marry a different American on a K1 visa… um no! 😒

Remember that “letter of intent” you signed and sent to USCIS? Yes, the one that proclaims you desire to marry your fiancé within 90 days of entering the US? Well – there is a reason you are required to sign this and submit it to USCIS.
 
Additionally, the 90 days fiance visa requirement should be seen as a deadline. You should get married within this timeframe to reduce chances of questions coming up at the green card interview.
 
But, if you have a good reason for not getting married within the 90 day requirement, be sure to include a statement with your I-485 adjustment fo status explaining why you got married after the K1 visa expired.

K1 Visa and Adjustment of Status Steps

Adjusting status inside the US is a lot easier emotionally than the K1 fiancé visa process. Do you know why? It’s because you get to wait with your spouse while your green card is processing!
 
So, let’s take a look at the steps for adjustment of status:

Step 1: Complete form I-485, I-765 and I-131.

The first step is pretty straight-forward. You must submit the I-485 application to adjust status, I-765 employment authorization and I-131 advanced parole. The last two forms are optional but I highly recommend sending them in since there is no extra cost for doing so.

Step 2: Submit the petition with evidence of your marriage.

Next, you will begin gather evidence of your marriage. Of course, since you haven’t been married long you will not have a ton but whatever you can come up with is great. This can include your marriage certificate, apartment lease or mortgage, joint finances, joint taxes, joint utilities.

Step 3: USCIS accepts your green card application.

After submitting the I-485 petition, the first letter you will receive from USCIS is the notice of action 1 (NOA1) letting you know that everything is in order. You submitted the correct payment for the filing fee, signed the forms and included evidence.

Step 4: Complete your biometrics appointment.

Next, you’ll be asked to attend your biometrics appointment where your fingerprints and photo will be taken. This is to confirm you are the same person who entered the US on the K1 visa and is meant to reduce fraud.

Step 5: EAD card is approved and mail to you.

YAY! The day has come that you receive your work permit (also known as an EAD card). This card allows you to work legally in the United States before your green card is approved. Generally, USCIS approves the I-765 for the EAD card within 90 days but if it is taking longer than this time frame, contact your local field office or customer service.

Step 6: Attend the green card interview at a local field office.

Finally, you will need to attend the green card interview with your spouse. There is no way to avoid the green card interview, it is now absolutely required. USCIS also wants both of you to attend so if your marriage is on the rocks and the US petitioner refuses to attend you may not be approved for the green card.

Step 7: Final decision from USCIS on your green card application.

If all goes well at the interview, you will be approved for the green card. In addition to receiving an approval letter, you’ll get your green card in the mail within 2 weeks. It’s time to go out and celebrate!
 
There you have it, folks! Those are all the steps to get a green card after K1 fiancé visa entry.
 

Evidence Need To Apply For Green Card

When it comes to USCIS, one of the most important aspects of your case is evidence. If you don’t have enough or the right types, you are in for a bumpy ride with your case. 😧

Additionally, you will need to submit everything that USCIS requires to prove you have a valid and real marriage before they will approve your green card.

What evidence should you include with adjustment of status?

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate of children
  • Joint residence (lease or mortgage)
  • Joint finances
  • Joint taxes
  • Joint utilities
  • Photo together
  • Affidavit from fiends/family

Ideally, you should have most of the above evidence included with your green card application. But, if you are short on a few you can add other types of evidence such as joint health insurance, pet insurance, trips together etc.

How Long Does Adjustment of Status Take?

The entire process can take anywhere from 6-12 months depending on the field office your case is sent to. Thankfully, the EAD card is approved much quicker than that so you can work while you wait for the green card.

In the best case scenario, your green card case will be straightforward with no request for evidence (RFE) that can cause a delay. By taking your time with putting together the application, you will avoid problems coming up down the road.

Personally, my adjustment of status was completed relatively quickly. From the day I submitted my I-485 it took about 70 days to get my EAD card and about 5 months for my green card to be approved.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that your case will be process this fast but I’m giving you an example of how long it could take.

My green card application had no problems. No RFE or delays. Although my interview was schedule more than a month advance, I attended it with my husband and all went well.

Can I Expedite Green Card Process After K1 Visa?

Everybody and their mother wants an expedite! This is what I tell people who want help requesting an expedite with no valid reason to back up their request.

Sorry folks, it’s much harder than it sounds to get your green card application expedited. You must show evidence of extreme hardship, not just simply everyday hardship that most people deal with.

So, the answer to whether you can expedite your green card case is that it depends.

Initially, you will need to choose the reason for your expedite. The two most common reasons are related to financial loss and severe medical hardship. 

For example, if you choose financial hardship, you must show how the delaying green card processing will severally affect you financially. I like to use the example of being a main breadwinner for your family and you are about to lose your home and can’t afford food without you being able to work.

This is why I say that it’s very difficult to be approved for a green card expedite.

On a better note, I will say that it won’t hurt to request an expedite from USCIS. Don’t get your hopes up that you will be approved unless you have a really good reason, but it won’t hurt your case if you are denied the expedite.

Related Podcast: EP15: How To Expedite EAD Request

Conclusion: Getting a Green Card After K1 Visa

Finally, I want to summarize this post on getting a green card after K1 visa by saying that it’s best to submit your I-485 as soon as you can afford it. Don’t wait too long because your K1 visa is only valid of 90 days.

The good news is that as long as you marry the original petitioner, you can always apply for adjustment of status. However, you should be careful not to be in the US without legal status!

Unfortunately, I know there are probably some of you out there that arrived on a K1 visa and your fiancé refuses to marry you. This can sometimes just be due to the relationship not working out but other times it’s emotional abuse.

Related Post: VAWA Evidence Of Abuse: How To Put Together A Strong Case

So, if your fiancé is trying to control you by denying you legal status in the US, consider looking into VAWA self-petition. This is a way that you can apply for a green card without the petitioner knowing. You will just need to include evidence of your relationship, evidence of their US citizenship and proof of bona fide marriage or relationship.

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