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Changing Status from a K-1 Visa to a Marriage Green Card
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Changing Status from a K-1 Visa to a Marriage Green Card

An adjustment of status is required for immigrants holding a K-1 spousal visa who wish to get a marriage green card. K-1 visas are good for 90 days; within this time, the immigrating person must marry their sponsoring fiancé. Once the fiancé arrives, they may begin the application process for Employment Authorization Documents and a Social Security Number (SSN).

However, the application can be confusing and complicated. SimVisa’s family immigration lawyers help from start to finish.

Understanding K-1 Adjustment of Status: What You Need to Know

An Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process for an immigrant in the U.S. on a K-1 Visa after marriage to convert their status to permanent residency. It’s completed while the visa-holder is present in the U.S., so they will not have to leave the country or go to a U.S. Consulate for a conditional green card.

Engaged couples with one partner in the country on a K-1 visa must marry within the visa’s duration of 90 days. Once they are married, the visa holder files for AOS to obtain permanent residency. If the couple doesn't marry within 90 days, the foreign national must leave the U.S. and cannot apply for permanent residence (unless they meet very narrow qualifications for exemption). They also start accruing unlawful presence.

K-1 Adjustment of Status Application Process: Step-by-Step Guide

Application to Adjust Status (Form I-485) from K-1 Visa to Green Card

An AOS starts with filing Form I-485 after the couple marries. It’s best to file within 90 days of the foreign national’s arrival in the U.S. to avoid an unlawful presence status.

Form I-485 requests the following:

  • Brief biographical information
  • Immigration history
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Whether the applicant is the derivative or principal applicant
  • Employment history
  • Visa category
  • Marital history
  • Information about the applicant's parents and family
  • Information about any children the applicant has or the couple shares
  • Eligibility determination
  • Applicant's demographics
  • Criminal history
  • Whether the applicant is a member of any political party, association, organization, foundation, or military group (in the U.S. or abroad)

The form may be rejected if incorrectly completed; the filing fee is $1,140.

adjustment of status after marriage

Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) Requirements

Immigrants seeking to adjust their status must demonstrate that they have financial support and will not become a public burden. The citizen-spouse submits Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support, proving that they will support their foreign national spouse if they cannot support themselves.

The supporting spouse must meet or exceed certain income guidelines determined by the current poverty level and household size. If they cannot, the couple must have a co-sponsor willing to support them.

The sponsoring spouse must submit the form along with supporting documentation like a W-2, recent tax returns, and other evidence of their income and means to support their green card-seeking spouse.

Report of Medical Examination and Vaccinations (Form I-693)

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires all green card applicants to provide proof of necessary vaccinations and the results of a medical exam. Form I-693 must be completed by the examining physician, who must be on the USCIS-approved list. You can use the USCIS Find A Doctor site to locate a qualified physician near you.

If there are issues with the exam or the exam was completed more than a year before submitting the application, the USCIS requires the individual to undergo a second exam.

The exam contains a physical and mental evaluation and screening for drug or alcohol use. There may be medical and blood testing and extensive questions about your medical history and family medical history. If you have copies of your vaccination history or medical treatment plans, bring them to the exam. The results must be presented to USCIS sealed.

K-1 Adjustment of Status: Medical Exam Not Always Necessary

Some applicants, usually those who underwent a medical examination during the consular stage of their application, may not need a second exam. The following conditions exempt you from a second exam:

  • You filed Form I-485 within one year of the consulate's medical exam
  • You do not have a Class A medical condition
  • You have a waiver of inadmissibility for your Class A condition

Even if you meet one of the exemption conditions, you must still meet the vaccination requirements. Make sure to submit your DS 3025 vaccination record along with your original medical exam report. If you don’t have the appropriate vaccination record, you can get your vaccines and have the record completed by a USCIS-approved physician.

Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765) Application Process

Employment authorizations, Form I-766, permit a foreign spouse to work in the U.S. The immigrant spouse may apply for employment authorization and an SSN right after they arrive. You must fill out Form I-485 first, though.

This form's questions cover much of the same information as Form I-485 and include questions about your entry into the U.S. and eligibility criteria. You must submit a copy of your visa, Notice of Action, Form I-797C, and Form I-766.

k1 visa adjustment of status

Travel Document (Form I-131) Application Process

Form I-131 is the travel permit. If you submit this along with your I-765 and AOS application, the USCIS often issues the travel permit and advance parole at the same time. I-131 requests information about your travel agenda, the departure date and length of time abroad, the purpose of the trips, and how long you plan to stay at each destination.

Other Documents Required for K-1 Adjustment of Status

These documents must be submitted with your permanent resident status application:

  • Biographic information on your passport
  • I-129F approval notice
  • I-94 arrival and departure records and a copy of the K-1 visa
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Any divorce decrees
  • Copy of EAD card and Form I-765
  • Four passport-sized photos

You must submit English translations if any documents aren’t in English.

K-1 Adjustment of Status Interview: What to Expect in 2023

The next step in the lawful permanent resident status process is an interview. The foreign national spouse and citizen spouse will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS representative.

The interview aims to determine whether you are in a bona fide marriage. You may be familiar with many of the questions, as they’re similar to those you underwent for your K-1 Visa interview.

Supporting documents of a legitimate interview can include:

  • Lease or mortgage with both names on it
  • Photos of the two of you together or social media with both of you
  • Credit card or bank account statements

The interviewer will examine your supporting documentation to ensure it's correct per U.S. immigration law.

Common Questions for K-1 Adjustment of Status Interview

Interview questions cover your and your spouse’s biographical information, relationship, and wedding. You may be asked about your spouse’s family or certain details of your married life, from where you went on your honeymoon to what your spouse likes to eat for breakfast.

Expect to be asked about your spouse’s family, background, and job; they will be asked similar questions about you.

Processing Time for Changing K-1 Visa to Green Card

The length of time to process a permanent residence application varies. If there are errors or omissions in your application or supporting documents, expect the process to take longer. Within a few weeks, you should receive a notice from the USCIS stating they received your conditional green card application.

adjustment of status from k1

Consequences of Incorrect Form I-485 Filing

If you filed Form I-485 incorrectly or you’re missing important information and documents, the USCIS sends you a Notice of Action, a rejection of your application. A little over 10% of permanent resident status applications are rejected. You may also receive a Request For Evidence (RFE), which means the USCIS needs more information to register permanent residence.

Notice for Biometric Appointment for K-1 Adjustment of Status

After filing your AOS application, the next step is to have a biometric appointment. It will be scheduled at the closest USCIS Application Support Center to where you live.

You will have fingerprints taken as part of a criminal background check. Bring a government-issued ID (passport, state ID, driver’s license, etc.). There will be a few more documents to fill out pertaining to your history and any criminal records.

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Frequently Asked Questions About K-1 Visa Status

K-1 Visa duration: How long can you stay?

If you’re in the country on a K-1 immigrant visa, you must get married within 90 days of arriving in the U.S. The AOS is the application process to convert your temporary K-1 visa to permanent residency. Alternatively, you apply for a green card abroad through a U.S. Consulate.

What are the eligibility requirements for K-1 adjustment of status?

Form I-485 starts the process; it must be filed within 90 days of your arrival. You must also submit the vaccination and medical exam report, the affidavit of support, and the application for employment authorization if you wish to get a job.

How long does it take to Complete K-1 adjustment of status after marriage?

The AOS processing time is usually 10–13 months. If your spouse is a green card holder and not a U.S. citizen, the process can take much longer — on average, 29–38 months. How complete your application is and whether the processing center has a backlog impact processing time.

What is the required income to sponsor a K-1 Visa?

The 2021 U.S. poverty guidelines set the minimum income for supporting a spouse on a K-1 Visa as $17,240 (unless the supporting spouse is a resident of Alaska or Hawaii). The requirement is intended to prevent the immigrating spouse from being a public charge of the country.

Can I apply for a Green Card and a Social Security Number at the same time?

Yes! As of August 2021, the USCIS permits AOS applicants to submit their change in the status application and an application for a Social Security Number simultaneously. The USCIS forwards your information to the Social Security Administration for processing.

Get Professional Legal Assistance from SimVisa

The Adjustment of Status application process and interviews can be stressful, especially for people unfamiliar with the USCIS nonimmigrant visa application requirements.

With the right advice, resources, and guidelines, it doesn’t have to mean weeks of headaches. From helping you secure the right supporting documents for your AOS to helping you prepare for the marriage interview questions, the legal professionals at SimVisa guide you through each step.

SimVisa’s immigration lawyers provide thoughtful, personalized advice for you and your spouse and explain the procedure for each step of the green card application process. Our comprehensive services can even help if you have received a request for evidence or a green card application denial. Contact us today to start your journey to citizenship.

Changing Status from a K-1 Visa to a Marriage Green Card
SohYoon Atac
co-founder of SimVisa

Sohyoon is the co-founder of SimVisa. She has over 15 years of immigration specific experience and as an immigrant herself, fully understands the daunting nature of navigating the immigration process.

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