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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawThe K-1 Visa: Is Employment Authorized?

The K-1 Visa: Is Employment Authorized?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to discuss employment authorization with respect to the K-1 visa. Now to be clear, the K-1 visa is a fiancee visa. The K-1 is an interesting visa in so far as it is a dual intent visa and it has this sort of one foot on each side system in the sense that it's processed technically a non-immigrant visa but it has an immigrant intent component as the individual going to the U.S. on a fiancee visa is specifically going there to marry a U.S. citizen and then adjust status to work a permanent residence a.k.a. green card status.

So in a sense, it's an immigrant visa but in another sense, it's only issued for a temporary stay. So basically, the K-1 holder once the visa is issued they have six months to use it and once they enter the United States, they have 90 days in which to marry their United States citizen fiancee and go ahead and apply for adjustment of status.

The other interesting about the K-1, notwithstanding this sort of timing issues, is the issue of employment authorization. It is not an employment-authorized document specifically notwithstanding the fact that it has this immigrant intent and by going to the United States and gaining lawful permanent residence. Employment authorization is implicit with that, it's inextricably linked to one's lawful permanent residence in the United States.

The K-1 visa can take a significant period of time, weeks and months to get an adjustment of status processed. And there are circumstances where say, a Thai individual going to the United States, a fiancee of an American citizen who marries and are adjusting status, that individual wants to get a job, wants to work and strictly speaking, the status of which that individual is in is K-1 duration of status because they're waiting for the adjustment to process and they're not work authorized. So it's possible to go ahead and apply for employment authorization in the K-1 status while one is waiting for adjustment to process and by doing that, it's effectively something you can do, a temporary green card to allow an individual to work in the U.S.A. while they're processing the rest of the case.

Something to think about there with respect to employment authorization is depending on timing issues, oftentimes you know immigration in the U.S. has a significant backlog. Sometimes it's simply just not of a particular positive benefit or not of a substantial benefit because the employment authorization may come back only weeks ahead the underlying green card being approved.

So in some cases, it may not be of that great benefit however, there are cases you know it's rather time-sensitive issue to get employment authorization as quickly as possible and in those circumstances, applying for employment authorization with respect to the K-1 may be a substantially positive endeavor.