I have entered the U.S. with a K-1 visa. How can I apply for a green card?
As a K-1 non-immigrant, you will become eligible for an adjustment of status once you get married. You need to get married to your U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of your entry into the U.S. Only then can you file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Upon approval of your application, your status will be adjusted to that of a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
You need to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry into the country to become eligible for an adjustment of status. K-1 fiancé(e) visas are valid only for 90 days. If you fail to get married within 90 days of your arrival, you will have to leave the U.S. and go back to your home country. If you do not get married and continue to stay in the U.S. even after 90 days you will begin to accrue unlawful presence. You are also likely to be placed in removal proceedings and/or bans to enter the U.S. in the future.
Filing for an Adjustment of Status
When you file your application for an adjustment of status, you need to include the following forms in your application package:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
Along with the forms you need to submit the supporting documents including:
- A copy of your K-1 visa approval notice
- A copy of your marriage certificate
- A copy of your passport showing the biographic information page and nonimmigrant visa
- A copy of your birth certificate
- A copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
- Two passport-style photographs
- A copy of a government-issued photo identity
This is a list of what is generally requested with an adjustment of status application package. Based on the information you provide on your Form I-485, the list of documents may be different.
After you file your application and the USCIS receives it, you will receive an application receipt notice. A few weeks later you will receive a biometrics appointment notice. The notice will inform you of the date, time, and place where you need to go to get fingerprinted and photographed. This will be used to conduct a background check.
You and your spouse will have to appear for an interview, details of which you will receive from the USCIS. It is best to prepare well before you appear for the interview as the USCIS will scrutinize if your marriage is a genuine one.
On clearing the interview, you will receive a conditional green card. Conditional green cards are issued to those who have been married for less than two years. As a conditional resident, you will have the same rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident. This step of issuing a conditional resident card is to ensure that there is no fraud as far as the marriage is concerned.
Lawful Permanent Residence
90 days before the conditional green card expires, you need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Once your petition is approved, you will be a lawful permanent resident and will receive a green card which will be valid for 10 years.
If you wish to apply for U.S. citizenship, you can do so after three years of being a permanent resident. The two years as a conditional resident will also count towards the three-year requirement.