Can a K1 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

Can a K1 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

If you’re planning to marry a U.S. citizen and relocate to the United States, you might be curious about your eligibility to work in the U.S. under a K1 visa.

The K1 visa, often referred to as a fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that permits you to enter the U.S. for a 90-day period to marry your U.S. citizen partner and initiate the process of obtaining a green card.

Nonetheless, holding a K1 visa does not automatically confer the right to work in the U.S.

Image of K1 Visa
K1 Visa | photo courtesy | Twitter

 

In this article, we’ll elucidate how you can secure work authorization as a K1 visa holder, detailing the prerequisites, associated fees, and the expected timeframe for obtaining your work permit.

Securing Work Authorization as a K1 Visa Holder

As a K1 visa holder, the possibility to work in the U.S. hinges on your application for and receipt of a work permit issued by the U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

This permit is known as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or Form I-765.

The application for an EAD can be pursued through two pathways:

Simultaneous Application with Adjustment of Status (AOS)

Opting to file an EAD application concurrently with your adjustment of status (AOS) application for permanent residency is the common and recommended approach.

This approach facilitates obtaining both your work permit and green card simultaneously.

The process entails submitting Form I-765 alongside Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), accompanied by supplementary documents.

No fee is required for Form I-765 when submitted together with Form I-485.

Pre-AOS EAD Application

Alternatively, you can submit an EAD application prior to initiating AOS procedures, right after your entry into the U.S. on a K1 visa.

This route may be preferable if you’re eager to commence employment promptly and wish to avoid the wait associated with AOS processing.

However, this route comes with certain drawbacks: a fee of $410 is applicable for Form I-765, and the EAD’s validity mirrors that of the K1 visa, lasting 90 days.

This implies you’d need to renew the EAD post-marriage and upon AOS application, entailing additional fees and delays.

Prerequisites and Fees for EAD Application

To proceed with an EAD application as a K1 visa holder, the following documents are required:

  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • A duplicate of your K1 visa
  • A copy of your passport
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  • A copy of your marriage certificate (applicable if applying post-marriage)
  • A copy of Form I-797 (Notice of Action) indicating receipt of your AOS application by USCIS (applicable if applying post-AOS filing)

As previously mentioned, Form I-765 carries a $410 fee when submitted ahead of AOS filing.

However, no fee is needed when submitted alongside Form I-485.

Payment can be made through check, money order, or credit card.

Timeframe for Obtaining Your Work Permit

The processing duration for Form I-765 is variable, influenced by factors including the designated service center, application volume, potential delays, and requests for supplemental evidence.

As of July 2023, the USCIS website indicates that the average processing duration for Form I-765 linked with a pending AOS application is approximately 4 months.

It’s important to note that this is an approximation and not a guarantee.

Processing times may differ among applicants, with some receiving their EAD faster or slower than others.

For tracking the status of your EAD application, the USCIS website offers an online case status tool.

Your receipt number, a 13-digit sequence commencing with three letters, retrievable from your Form I-797, is required to access this tool.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a K1 visa holder’s capacity to work in the U.S. hinges upon the acquisition of an EAD from USCIS.

The most effective approach entails submitting an EAD application concurrently with AOS filing subsequent to marriage.

By following this route, you can sidestep supplementary charges and the necessity to renew your EAD every 90 days.

The processing time for the EAD application may extend up to 4 months or more; therefore, prompt application submission upon K1 visa entry is advisable.

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