Can I work If I Enter the United States with a K1 Visa?

Work with a K1 visa

If you enter the United States with a K1 fiance visa then you are eligible to apply for work authorization.  The key word here is apply.   You can apply to obtain your work authorization card.  However, you cannot work until you have obtained your work authorization aka “work permit” from USCIS.

This work authorization you receive will only be valid for 90 days.  It will likely take you at least 90 days, after you apply,  to receive the card.  Therefore, it is likely that the work authorization card would expire either before or shortly after receipt.

Work authorization after applying for your green card

A better choice would be to get married to the United States Citizen who sponsored you on the K1 and then apply for your permanent residence (green card).   This is done via the adjustment of status process.

At the same time you apply for adjustment of status you may apply for your work authorization card from USCIS.  In Northern California it is currently typically taking between 3-6 months to receive the work authorization card.

There is no rhyme or reason concerning how long it will take to receive the work authorization card.  Some applicants just happen to receive their work authorization card sooner than other applicants.  Also, the 3-6 months is a typical result.  We have had a few outliers.  Some of our clients have received their card in less than 3 months and a few have received it in over 6 months.

This work authorization card you receive from USCIS while applying for adjustment  of status will be valid for one year.  However, your green card application should likely be processed within this one year period .

Once you receive your green card you can work using the green card only (i.e. there is no need for the work authorization card).  You can simply provide a copy of your green card to prospective employers.

For more information about the fiance visa process please read: Top 10 things you should know about the fiance visa process , fiance visa processing time and  fiance visa denial rates.

Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Fiance Visa Attorney and a Sacramento Green Card Attorney with over 20 years of experience.  He handles Immigration cases throughout California, the United States and the World.  He may be reached toll free at 888-801-6558 or you may email him at attorneygruner@gmail.com    He would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your immigration case.

This article is just a basic introduction to this topic.  Laws and timelines do change in immigration cases. You should seek a competent Immigration Attorney to review your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with your case.

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