The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for fiancés who are specifically coming to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen. This visa is unique because it expires within 90 days, which means that the K-1 visa holder needs to be strategic when they come to the United States if they are planning on staying. In this post, we’ll discuss the process of applying for a green card as a K-1 visa holder, the required documents needed for the application, and other steps that should be taken into consideration to ensure smooth processing.
In order to file an adjustment of status with the USCIS as a marriage green card applicant (which will ultimately happen when the K-1 holder gets married), you also need to have your marriage certificate to file with your application package. Thus one of the first steps in the green card process in this category is acquiring this certificate.
Immigration experts have noted that K-1 visa holders should get married as soon as possible to acquire this document. This is because there is a time lag from when the couple actually gets married to when they receive their finalized certificate. In order to expedite this process, couples should contact their local Registrar’s office before they get married. Ask whether is any way to speed up the process of getting the marriage certificate. In some instances, couples have found that if they hand deliver their documents to the county clerk, the final version of the certificate will come back to them much sooner.
In any case, applicants who get married should expect a 1-2 month wait time for the finalized version of their marriage certificate, especially if they are using USPS.
Filing the I-485 Application
The I-485 has gotten longer over the years. If couples need the help of an immigration attorney for this process, they should start looking early on. It takes time to find trusted experts to work with at an affordable rate. Visa2us offers I-485 services for those interested.
While this post does not go into the specifics of filling out the I-485 application, but rather all of the documentation and supporting evidence needed for smooth processing as a K-1 holder, applicants can be sure to see another Guide we’ve made on the site for Adjustment of Status. Available here: https://www.visa2us.com/i-485
In general, the K-1 visa holder needs to attach the following documents to their I-485 application. The I-485 is only available for mail-in, and currently not apart of the USCISs filing online system:
- Two passport style photographs
- A scan/copy of your passport page
- A copy of your birth certificate (if applicable)
- An I-797 Approval Notice of your K-1 visa non-immigrant status (very important)
- A copy of your fiancé petition approval notice
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (completed by marital partner)
- Medical Records/I-693 (Given that you recently had a full medical exam to be approved for K-1 visa status, you should be admissible to the United States based on your recent exam)
- Copy of U.S. Entry Documents
- Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency (for public charge purposes)
- Marriage Certificate (finalized copy)
- Form I-765, Application for Work Permit (EAD)
- G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions
Processing and Fees
There are many documents needed for the I-485 Adjustment. To simplify the process a little bit, fiancés have just completed their medical exams before coming to the United States, so that fee is now out of the way. In addition, there are no fees for attaching your approval notices (of immigrant/petition approvals).
The main fees for this adjustment of status are the following:
- I-485 Adjustment: $1140, plus an $85 Biometrics appointment
- Form I-864 Affidavit: No fee when filed with I-485 application
- I-765 Work Permit: $410
- I-944: No filing fee if you are the spouse filing an adjustment of status
- I-693 Medical Exam: Likely already paid for and applicable given the spouse has recently attained K-1 visa status.
Direct filing addresses, also known as USCIS lockboxes, are provided via the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms/direct-filing-addresses-for-form-i-485-application-to-register-permanent-residence-or-adjust-status
Be sure to submit all of your paperwork, including the G-1450 Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
The total processing time for K-1 to a green card is between 8 and 14 months.