How Soon After K1 Visa Entry Can You Start Working?
The United States wants more people working because this is the way our economy grows and everyone benefits from the public services that the government maintains from taxes. New immigrants are definitely known to be really hard working and the waiting period between your US entry on a K1 visa and when you receive your work permit or green card can be difficult. So, how soon after your K1 entry can you start working?
This can really vary depending on your own timeline as a new couple. The K1 visa requires that you marry within 90 days of the new immigrants entry and this includes the actual wedding ceremony. If you have planned an elaborate wedding right at the end of the 90 days, then it may take longer to receive your work permit than someone who had a court wedding the day after they arrived.
Honestly, you shouldn’t rush it. There are so many adjustments you need to make once you arrive and that is what you should be focusing on instead of finding a job. If your situation is one where you are financially having some trouble as a couple, you may be able to get your work permit within 2 months of applying for adjustment of status. The quickest way to get your EAD card (employment authorization document) approved faster is by doing a walk-in for your biometrics appointment instead of waiting for the appointment date.
Court Wedding VS Planned Wedding: Which Is A Better Option?
The choice of the type of wedding to have is up to you. Many couples dream of having a large fantasy wedding and may have started planning it before their fiance was approved for the K1 visa while others want a small intimate wedding done at their local courthouse. Whatever you choose, just know that the important thing is what happens after the wedding.
The actual marriage is what will determine you future. Long distance relationships are different animal compared to most relationships that are local. The reason for this is the distance itself because it is easier to show the best side of you when all you have a phone and Skype conversations. Now, once you actually start living your your fiance and future spouse, it will be complete adjustment for you.
In my case, it was pretty smooth which was surprising. I had never lived with anyone else except my family and although we didn’t fight much, it was still a little difficult to adjust. There was also the boredom that hit hard for me because I didn’t have any friends or family where we were living and my husband was gone a lot (traveled for work). So I was alone at home most of the time and it became increasingly lonely.
I couldn’t wait to get my EAD card so that I can start working and meeting new people. We applied for Adjustment of Status after 2.5 months of my arrival and I got the EAD card within 2 months (I actually waited for my biometrics appointment – but recommend that you do a walk-in). In the end, it worked out great and I was about to find a job within 4 weeks of receiving my EAD card. The gap in my employment history was not an issue either.
Should I Apply For EAD Or Wait For Green Card?
I always recommend that every K1 visa beneficiary apply for the EAD and advanced parole, even if you think you won’t need either. Sometimes you may receive your green card soon after you are approved for the EAD card but in other cases, there may be a delay.
There is no additional fees for applying for the work permit and advanced parole (travel permit) so why not include it with your adjustment of status application? Once you receive your temporary 2 year green card, your EAD card will be invalid and you can begin using your green card as your proof of permission to work in the US.
By this time you should have your social security number (normally apply for it after arriving or after marriage). This SSN and your EAD or green card are the only documents you need to start applying for a job.
If you need to also provide an employer proof of your education, you have the option of paying a company to do a foreign degree evaluation. In most cases, the employer may just have you provide the contact information from the school your graduated from where they will call to confirm. However, if the potential employer wants the degree evaluation, it can cost between $150 – $300.
Once you have your degree evaluation, you can also use this to get credits towards another degree program at most US colleges and universities if you plan on going back to school.
Will It Be Hard To Find A Job With A Foreign Resume?
Of course, it shouldn’t because most employers can’t discriminate against a green card holder (except for some government and military jobs which require citizenship). There isn’t much you can do about your past employment history but if you are worried about discrimination, you can give a brief explanation of how your skills translate to the US employment market in your cover letter.
I won’t tell you that it is easy to find a job in the US without prior US employment, but don’t give up and be hard on yourself. Do you best to write a great resume that showcases your skills and a great employer will give you a shot. Who knows, they may be curious about what you moved the US and offer you an interview.
In my case, I had every single interviewer ask me what made me move to the US. I enjoyed answering this question and many times it really broke the ice and made me stand out from all the other people they were interviewing.
If English is not your first language, you may want to take some ESL classes before applying for work. This is a great option during the waiting period when you are waiting for your adjustment of status case to be approved. I will warn you though, don’t expect to make the same money you did in your home country! It is almost like starting from scratch because many US employers want to see prior US employment before they take a chance on you.
My first job in the US paid much less than what I was making in Canada, and this was a little shocking but I stuck with it and moved up over time. It was frustrating but I decided that I needed to prove myself in this country instead of being upset with the system. Do your best to work hard for whatever company hires you and prove to them that you are a very valuable employee that they do not want to loose.
Good luck in your job search!