Green Card for Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen

U.S. immigration law allows a U.S. citizen to petition for a foreign national fiancé(e) to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa to travel to the United States and seek admission. Within 90 days after being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant, the foreign national must enter into a bona fide marriage with the U.S. citizen who filed the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), on his or her behalf. For more information, see Fiancé(e) Visas.

After being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant and marrying the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days, the foreign national spouse can then apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (get a Green Card).

This page provides specific information for foreign nationals in the United States who want to apply for lawful permanent resident status based on their admission as a K-1 nonimmigrant and marriage within 90 days to their U.S. citizen petitioner. This is called “adjustment of status.” You should also read the Instructions for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (PDF, 545 KB) before you apply.

How to report suspected marriage fraud: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has an online tip form to report suspected benefit/marriage fraud or other violations.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

You may be eligible for a Green Card based on your admission as a K-1 nonimmigrant if you meet the following requirements:

Note: You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa if you enter a bona fide marriage with your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days after being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant;

  • An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application;

Note: An immigrant visa is always available to you if you marry your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Once you marry, you are treated as an immediate relative;

  • None of the applicable bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion.

If you do not marry your U.S. citizen petitioner, you generally cannot apply for a Green Card based on any other Green Card eligibility category. There are some limited exceptions. If you are granted U nonimmigrant status while in the United States (for victims of qualifying criminal activity) or T nonimmigrant status (for victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons), you may apply for a Green Card based on any eligibility category that applies to you. You may also depart the United States to seek a Green Card on a different basis.  

Bars to Adjustment 

Depending on how you entered the United States or if you committed a particular act or violation of immigration law, you may be barred from adjusting status. You are ineligible to apply for adjustment of status if one or more bars to adjustment listed in section 245(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) apply to you. For more information on which bars apply to immediate relatives, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 7, Adjustment of Status, Part B, 245(a) Adjustment, Chapter 8, Inapplicability of Bars of Adjustment.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

To qualify for a Green Card, you must be admissible to the United States. Reasons why you may be inadmissible are listed in INA 212(a) and are called grounds of inadmissibility.

In general, USCIS can only approve your Green Card application if none of the grounds of inadmissibility apply to you. As a K-1 nonimmigrant, all of the grounds of inadmissibility listed in INA 212(a) apply to you except the following:

  • Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants (INA 212(a)(5))                                              

If you are inadmissible, the law may allow you to apply for a waiver of the particular grounds of inadmissibility or another form of relief of certain grounds of inadmissibility that may overcome the inadmissibility. You may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief by using Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal. If a waiver or other form of relief is granted, USCIS may approve your application for a Green Card if you are otherwise eligible.

Whether a waiver or other form of relief is available depends on the specific inadmissibility grounds that apply to you and the category you are adjusting under. Eligibility requirements for waivers and other forms of relief vary. For information on the grounds of inadmissibility and waivers, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 8, Admissibility and Volume 9, Waivers.

If you obtained a Form I-601 waiver in connection with your K-1 nonimmigrant visa application

If you used a Form I-601 to obtain a waiver in connection with your K-1 nonimmigrant visa application (Form I-129F), your waiver is only valid if you married the person who filed the Form I-129F petition for you. In that case, all of the grounds of inadmissibility and crimes, incidents, events, or conditions that you included in that Form I-601 are waived and you would not need to apply for another waiver of those grounds of inadmissibility. However, if you do not marry your U.S. citizen petitioner, you remain inadmissible. See Form I-601 for additional information.

How to Apply

If you are currently in the United States and meet certain other requirements, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to apply for a Green Card. You must have married your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant.

When you marry your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of admission as a K-1 nonimmigrant, you become an immediate relative. Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are always immediately available. 

What to Submit (K-1 Nonimmigrant Applicants)

If you were admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, you should submit the following documentation and evidence:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice for the Form I-129F filed on your behalf;
  • Copy of your marriage certificate;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of your birth certificate;
  • Copy of your passport page with nonimmigrant visa;
  • Copy of your passport page with your admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer);
  • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable) 

Note: If CBP provided you with an electronic Form I-94 upon you arrival/admission to the United States, you may print out a paper version of the Form I-94 from CBP website at www.cbp.gov/I94;

Note: If you received a medical examination before being admitted to the United States, you may not need to have another examination but you must still show proof that you complied with the vaccination requirements. See the Form I-693 Instructions for more information. 

Note: Certain forms, including Form I-485, have a filing fee. You must submit the correct filing fee for each form unless you are exempt or eligible for a fee waiver. Please see USCIS’ Filing Fees and Fee Schedule for more information.

For more information on applying for adjustment of status, see the Instructions for Form I-485 (PDF, 545 KB). Please also see our page on Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS.

Conditional Approval

If you have been married to the U.S. citizen petitioner for less than two years at the time your Form I-485 is approved, USCIS will grant you lawful permanent resident status for two years on a conditional basis under INA 216. You will need to meet additional requirements and file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence before USCIS will remove those conditions. Go to our Conditional Permanent Residence page for more information.

Family Members 

If you are the child of a K-1 nonimmigrant and you were admitted to the United States as a K-2 nonimmigrant, you may apply for a Green Card if your parent married the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant. You are called a “derivative applicant.”  You must remain unmarried in order to be eligible for a Green Card. You should apply for a Green Card at the same time or after your K-1 nonimmigrant parent applies for a Green Card. For more information on derivatives and eligibility for adjustment of status, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 7, Part A, Chapter 6, Section C, Subsection C - Derivatives.

Eligibility Criteria for Adjustment of Status as a K-2 Nonimmigrant

In order to be eligible for a Green Card as a K-2 nonimmigrant, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • Within 90 days of admission to the United States, your K-1 nonimmigrant parent entered into a bona fide marriage with the U.S. citizen petitioner;
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;

Note: You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa if you were admitted as a K-2 nonimmigrant and your K-1 nonimmigrant parent married the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days;

  • You have an immigrant visa immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application;

Note: An immigrant visa is always available to you if your parent marries your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant. After the marriage takes place, you are treated as an immediate relative;

  • None of the applicable bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion.

What to Submit (K-2 Nonimmigrant Applicants)

If you are a K-2 nonimmigrant applicant, you should submit the following evidence to adjust status:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • Copy of documentation showing your relationship to the K-1 nonimmigrant parent, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree;
  • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice, for the Form I-129F filed on your behalf;
  • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice, for the K-1 nonimmigrant parent’s Form I-485 or a copy of the K-1 nonimmigrant parent’s Green Card, if applicable;
  • Copy of the K-1 nonimmigrant parent’s marriage certificate;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of your birth certificate;
  • Copy of your passport page with your nonimmigrant visa;
  • Copy of your passport page with admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer);
  • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable) 

Note: If CBP provided you with an electronic Form I-94 upon your arrival/admission to the United States, you may print out a paper version of the Form I-94 from CBP website at www.cbp.gov/I94;

Note: If you received a medical examination before being admitted to the United States, you may not need to have another examination but you must still show proof that you complied with the vaccination requirements. See the Form I-693 Instructions for more information. 

Note: Certain forms, including Form I-485, have a filing fee. You must submit the correct filing fee for each form unless you are exempt or eligible for a fee waiver. Please see USCIS’ Filing Fees and Fee Schedule for more information.

For more information on applying for adjustment of status, see the Instructions for Form I-485 (PDF, 545 KB). Please also see our page on Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS.

If you obtained a Form I-601 waiver in connection with your K-2 nonimmigrant visa application

If you used a Form I-601 to obtain a waiver in connection with your application for a K-2 nonimmigrant visa application (Form I-129F), your waiver is only valid if your parent married the person who filed the Form I-129F for you. In that case, all of the grounds of inadmissibility and crimes, incidents, events, or conditions that you included in that Form I-601 are waived and you would not need to file another waiver for those grounds of inadmissibility. However, if your K-1 parent does not marry your U.S. citizen petitioner, you remain inadmissible. See Form I-601 for additional information.

Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Documents

Generally, when you have a pending Form I-485, you may apply for employment authorization by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

If you need to leave the United States temporarily while your Form I-485 is pending, please see Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and its instructions for more information. Generally, if you have a pending Form I-485 and you leave the United States without an advance parole document, you will have abandoned your application.

For further information, see our Employment Authorization and Travel Documents pages.

Legal Reference

For more information, see the following:

USCIS Policy Manual Volume 9, Waivers

 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Article
02/08/2018
Select Block Type: 
Grouped Links Block
0
Archived: 
0
Suppress Left Navigation: 
0
Title: 
K Nonimmigrant
Description: 
Get information on the K nonimmigrant visa categories.
Accordion: 
1
DataTables: 
0
JW Player: 
0