K1 Visa: What To Do After Marriage

The K1 fiance process can be a whole lot of hurry up and wait. If you’re wondering about the steps involved in the K1 visa what to do after marriage, keep reading!

The K1 visa journey will have you thinking about the next steps while trying to figure out why your case is currently stuck.

All the hurdles and hoops you have to jump through to get the K1 visa is only the first step! During my K1 visa processing, I was so eager to hear something back… anything back from USCIS!

The waiting felt like it was eating me inside.

But, one day I did hear back.

I got my interview appointment letter in the mail and I was over-the-moon happy! The day I was waiting so long for was finally here and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, looking back the time I waited wasn’t very long in the grand scheme of things. But I’m not knocking anyone in this situation now because it isn’t easy…at…all.

Case Example:

Natalia met her American fiance Victor 15 months ago in Moscow. They fell deeply in love and quickly began a courtship that eventually led to their engagement. Victor submitted the I-129F petition and after 14 months of waiting, they are now married in the United States. Natalia is now wanting to know more about K1 visa what to do after marriage?

Many couples put so much focus on the K1 visa process and only think about what happens next when they are together in the US. This makes complete sense but you must make sure that you are fully prepared for what to do after marriage.

What Happens After K1 Visa Marriage?

When you finally get your K1 visa approved, you will be excited, relieved and eager to move the US. The following will answer the question: K1 visa what to do after getting married?

Unfortunately, this is not the end of your journey with USCIS. There are multiple steps ahead of you to become a lawful permanent resident so you can live and work in the United States.

Once you enter the US on your K1 visa, the time clock begins to tick. You are given just 90 days to get married and this can seem like such a short period of time.

Many couples feel they don’t even have enough time to plan a big wedding. But the good news is that a big wedding isn’t required and you are just as married if you go to the courthouse.

So, what are all the steps that happen after getting married on a K1 visa?

Related Post: K1 Visa Checklist For 2019: Download Sample

Step 1: Get your official marriage certificate.

The first thing to do after getting married is to get the official copy of your marriage certificate. You will need this document to prove that you are married.

Remember, you will only send USCIS a copy of the original and not the original itself.

Try to this process started as soon as possible because it can take several weeks to get the original copy of your marriage certificate. Once you have it, you can begin the adjustment of status paperwork.

Step 2: Complete the I-485 paperwork to adjust status.

Before a K1 visa holder can begin to work or continue to live in the US, they need to adjust their status.

This means you will need to submit form I-485 adjustment of status documents to USCIS. This is essentially applying for your green card or permanent resident status.

The I-485 process can be very long so the sooner you submit your application the faster you’ll receive your green card.

Unfortunately, you won’t be authorized to work until your EAD application (form I-765) is approved which is taking 90-120 days. There is not cost to file this form as long as you submit it at the same time as your adjustment of status application.

Step 3: Gather evidence of a bona fide marriage.

Before you submit the I-485 application, you will need to include evidence to show you married in good faith. Another term for this is a “bona fide” marriage.

A bona fide marriage is a marriage that was entered into for love and not for immigration benefits.

Although you haven’t been married long, you should still try to have documents with both your names on it. If you don’t have anything, consider opening a joint bank account or joint credit card.

Sometimes adding your new spouse to your lease or mortgage is doable. Another alternative is to add them to the utility bills or cell phone bills.

The important thing is that you can show that you have a real and valid marriage together.

How Long Does it Take To Adjust Status After Marriage?

As I stated earlier, the adjustment of status process is long. It can take well over a year to get your green card right now.

This is due to the sheer number of immigrants applying for a green card and the low number of adjudicators working at USCIS. This is a recipe for a long, long waiting period.

You may be wondering if it’s possible to speed up processing and unfortunately, there isn’t! Wish I had better news for you. 😕

But, look at the right side, at least you are both together under the same roof while you wait!

When I submitted my own adjustment of status application, the waiting was so much easier than waiting for the K1 visa. I was living with my husband at the time and the time seemed to have flown by.

Related Post: How Long To Get Green Card After K1 Visa?

How Long Do You Have To Stay Married After K1?

This is funny question, right?

There is no set of time you must stay married after getting the K1 visa. Hopefully, you married the love of your life and want to stay married forever.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking me this very question. I sometimes get the sense that the person asking may not have married in good faith, but who am I to judge!

If you are wondering how long you need to stay married to get a green card the answer is until you get the green card! If you end up divorcing before your green card is approved, you will likely be denied and required to leave the US.

This is exactly what USCIS is trying to weed out with the multi-step green card process. They want to make sure that the only people who are getting the K1 visa are genuine couples who are truly in love.

Of course, not everyone who gets approved for the K1 visa is telling the truth. It’s one of the easiest paths to get into the US so a lot of fraudsters do take advantage of it.

This is why so many real couples get stuck in the process of trying to prove their relationship is real! It’s just so frustrating.

Related post: What To Do If You Divorce After The K1 Visa Process

Final Thoughts: K1 Visa What To Do After Marriage

In summary, the answer to the question “K1 visa what to do after marriage?” is very time-sensitive. There are steps that need to be taken before you can become a lawful permanent resident.

In addition to getting your marriage certificate, you should also begin gather evidence of your bona fide marriage. This can include financial statements, lease/mortgage and utility bills.

After submitting the I-485 adjustment of status, the waiting game begins. It can take more than a year to receive your green card, however, you may be able to get your EAD card approved much quicker than this.

Thankfully, you can request an expedite of your EAD card, download a sample letter here.

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