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What happens after you come to the United States?

Getting Married

The most important thing to do upon entering the United States is to get married and apply to adjust status within 90 days. If you do not get married and apply to adjust status within 90 days, you need to leave the US or your K-1 status will cease and you will be in direct violation of the terms of your visa.As such, you will be subject to deportation, which could negatively affect the foreign fiancé’s/fiancée’s attempt to gain citizenship at a later date. If circumstances prevented a marriage within the initial 90 days, but the couple marries after; the US citizens spouse will need to file a petition for alien relative (Form I-130 with a $420 filing fee) in addition to the application to adjust status. Please see K-1/K-2 Visa Scenarios for more information.

Adjusting your Status

After getting married, the alien spouse must adjust status through an I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status). This should be done through the USCIS that serves your area. In addition to the I-485, the alien spouse may apply for an EAD and a Travel Document (Advanced Parole).

Helping your K-2 Child Adjust Status

After the alien fiancé/fiancée and the U.S. citizen have married and the marriage takes place before the child of the alien spouse reaches 18 years old, the US citizen spouse may apply for an immigration petition for the child and the child may apply for an adjustment of status.

Applying to Work

You are allowed to work on as a K-1 visa holder in the United States; however, you must first file an Application for Employment Authorization (I-765) with the USCIS office that serves your area.

Applying for a Social Security Card

Once you, the alien fiancé/fiancée, have been admitted into the United States and get an EAD, you can apply for a social security card. Please see the Social Security Administration website for more information.

Life as a permanent resident

If your status is adjusted and it has been less than two years since you married the U.S. citizen petitioner, then your residency will be conditional for up to two years—at which point, you will need to apply to have your conditional status removed under a Removal of Conditions.

If your status is adjusted and it has been two years or more of your marriage to a US citizen, then you will not receive conditional residency, but full permanent residency instead. Your green card will be valid for a period of 10 years.

Becoming a U.S. citizen

Once you have successfully adjusted your status, you must wait three years to apply for U.S. citizenship if you stay married to your U.S. citizen spouse or wait five years if you are no longer married to your U.S. citizen spouse.

(Updated 10/12/2012 by AD)

For more information on how to obtain a K-visa, please click on the following links: