Sadly, immigration paperwork doesn’t end right there. You would need to file for AOS or Adjustment of Status. As a K1 Visa holder, you must file for AOS in order to adjust your status or legal presence in the US. When you arrived in the US, the K1 Visa is automatically invalidated as it is a single-entry visa. The document that states your legal presence here in the US will be your I-94 which expires 90 days upon US entry. If you have applied for a Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document / EAD) and a Travel Permit (Advance Parole / AP) along with your AOS paperwork, you’re most likely to get news about those permits within 2 to 3 months of your AOS’ Notice of Action 1 (NOA1). Most AOS applicants have interviews that marks the last stage of the AOS process. Some skip this step entirely. (Lucky them!) But after the interview at the USCIS Field Office is done and if you’re approved, you will be receiving your Green Card in the mail after a few days. When you’re done with your AOS, you’re done…. for at least 2 years. Then you’d have to file for Removal / Removing of Conditions (ROC).
NOTE: It is ok to file after 90-days of entry, but it is advised to file as soon as possible.
1.) To protect your status and remain legally in the US. (See “USCIS.gov’s Application Process for Green Card through K1”) Remember, your i-94 expires 90 days upon entry to the US.
2.) To obtain a 2-year Conditional Green Card, give or take, 6 months upon filing. (This depends on USCIS processing times). This 2-year Conditional Green Card (GC) is proof that you are in the US legally and as a Permanent Resident. This card will allow you to work and stay in the US with your spouse.
3.) If you applied for an I-765 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) / Work Permit along with your AOS Packet, you’d be able to obtain the EAD Card approximately 2-3 months after filing. This will allow you to work sooner, as opposed to waiting for the Green Card alone.
***The filing fee is waived (Read: FREE!) when you send in your I-765 alongside your I-485 AOS Papers!
4.) If you already have a US Driver’s License / State ID issued within the first few weeks of stay in the US, that means your Driver’s License’s expiration date is tied to your I-94 form (within 90 days of entry). In order to extend the validity of the Driver’s License, you would need your EAD or Green Card. You would also be able to update your card to your Married Name.
5.) If you have filed for I-131 Advance Parole (AP) / Travel Permit along with your AOS Packet, you’d be able to obtain the AP Card approximately 2-3 months after filing. This will allow you to travel outside the US for a limited time. It also depends on whether you applied for a multiple entry AP. If you filed EAD at the same time, you will get an EAD / AP combo card.
***The filing fee is waived (Read: FREE!) when you send in your I-131 alongside your I-485 AOS Papers!
6.) To avoid having to do another round of EXPENSIVE Medical Exams by a Civil Surgeon. K1 Applicants are NOT REQUIRED to undergo another full medical examination if your Overseas K1 Medical Exam is still within 1 year upon AOS Application. See Form I-693 Instructions. AND the USCIS.gov website for details. If you wait too long, you may have to take another Medical Exam.
Based on my experience, these are the forms and documents needed for Adjustment of Status. Make sure you label the documents inside your packet for easy handling!
The AOS Process typically lasts for 6 months from NOA1. Some are VERY lucky to have completed the process within 6 months. Some, due to backlog, will have to endure the process for more than 6 months.
After AOS from a K1 Visa, the applicant will be granted a 2-year Conditional Green Card / Form I-551. Read more about the Rights and Responsibilities of a Permanent Resident a.k.a. Green Card Holders.