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K Visa FAQ
(newsgroup)..Before starting out on any process like this people should research the whole process and not just the beginning.

This FAQ should not be your only resource. For a listing of other FAQ pages and newsgroup Resource Pages (POE Rolling List, Homepages List, Processing Times, etc) see
The Mysterious Sealed Brown Envelope

Updated September 7, 2001

Question?
Email Address:

Call 1-269-929-3849

Introduction
1.0..References and Links
2.0..The K1/K2 Process General Outline
3.0..The I-129F Petition completed by the US Citizen
4.0..The K1 Application Process completed by the Fiance(e)
5.0..Entering the United States
6.0..After Marriage - Adjustment of Status
7.0..Lifting of Conditional Status
8.0..Naturalization
9.0..The K3/K4 Process General Outline
10.0...The I-130 Petition (for K3/K4)
11.0...The I-129F Petition (for K3/K4)
12.0...The K3/K4 Application (at the Consulate)
13.0...Entering the United States with the K3/K4 Visa
14.0...Adjustment of Status from K3/K4
20.0..Related Issues
Appendix...(Definitions of terms, form numbers, abbreviations)

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Introduction

The alt.visa.us.marriage-based newsgroup was formed early in 1998, by Nigel Reed. Originally, the group focused on the K1/K2 fiance(e) visa, but has evolved to include many marriage-based immigration issues involving US Citizens. General guidelines for posting to the newsgroup can be found at Helpful Guidelines

About the K Visa FAQ and its contents:


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Section 1.0...REFERENCES and LINKS

Note: The FAQ itself doesn't list many links. We hope to eliminate them all as time goes by. Please see K1 and I-130 Resources which is the primary link and resource site for the newsgroup.
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Section 2.0...THE K1/K2 VISA PROCESS - General Outline

The K1 visa enables US Citizens to bring their foreign fiance(e)s to the United States in order to get married.
The K2 visa allows unmarried children (under age 21) of the fiance(e) to move to the US as well.

The K1 visa is not an end in itself. It is only a single step in a procedure for obtaining permanent residency (a green card) based on a marriage to a US Citizen after entry. The steps involved in immigrating to the US via a K1 visa can be generally described as follows:


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Section 3.0...THE I-129F PETITION (completed by the American Citizen)

3.1)...I am engaged to a foreign national. What do I do to bring my fiance(e) here to get married?
3.2)...How do I obtain the I-129F and what other forms do I need?
3.2.1)...Do I have to send in my original birth certificate, passport, or originals of other forms?
3.2.2)...(newsgroup)..How should a latin name (first name, fathers last name, mothers last name) be put on the G-325A and I-129F?
3.2.3)...(newsgroup)..The instructions state the photos must be taken within 30 days of the petition or application. How critical is this?
3.3)...So what Affidavit am I *really* supposed to use? The I-134 or the I-864?
3.3.1)...Where can I get someone to notarize my documents?
3.4)...I filled out the forms, now where do I send them? Should I make extra copies of anything?
3.4.1)...Should I send a cover letter with the I-129F petition package?
3.5)...When I send the application package, should I request "return receipt"?
3.6)...How does the US Citizen know the petition has been "officially" received?
3.7)...How does the US Citizen know the petition has been approved?
3.7.1)...My fiance(e)'s name was spelled incorrectly on the I-797 Approval Notice. What should I do?
3.8)...(This item deleted...info is now at question 3.2)
3.9)... (newsgroup)..We've noticed that the Bio form they gave to us is G325 (the two sheet version) and not G325A (the four sheet version) which is what I was expecting. Also, is it ok to use downloaded forms from the INS website?
3.9.1....(newsgroup)..On form G-325A, where can I get the file number started with "A-" ( it is the far right box of the first row of boxes) for both me and my fiance. Also in the last box with the heavy border how would I put my fiance's alien registration number there while she has none. Can I just leave it blank.
3.10)...(newsgroup)..I'm trying to find out how old the U.S. citizen needs to be to file an application for K-1 visa for a foreign fiance[e]. Is it 18 or 21?
3.11)...(newsgroup)..Is there a special visa status for a fiance(e) from Mexico (south near Mexico city) or do I need to go thru the normal finacee visa process ?
3.12)...Do we need a lawyer to help us through the process?
3.14)...How often are these I-129F petitions rejected?
3.15)...(newsgroup)..Can I, while my fiancee will apply for a I-129F package, be with her in the US ? So we can stay together while the application is being processed or do I have to go to Holland again ?
3.16)...(newsgroup)..Does anyone have any words of reassurance that we aren't looked upon as complete freaks for meeting on the net and falling in love (by the INS or the US Embassy anyway)?


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Section 4.0...THE K1/K2 VISA APPLICATION PROCESS completed by the Fiance(e)


4.1)...How long after the approval of the I-129F petition does the fiance(e) wait to get the paperwork?
4.2)...Can the foreign consulate be notified any faster???
4.3)...Exactly what type of paperwork does the fiance(e) receive from the Consulate?
4.3.1)...What does the fiance(e) do with all these papers?
4.3.2)...Can my fiance(e) start gathering documents and information right away to "speed things along?"
4.3.3)...Do I need documents translated into english for the K1 application?
4.3.4)...(newsgroup)..Are the photographs supposed to be made the same way as the ones we sent in for the I-129F?
4.3.5)...(newsgroup)..What vaccinations are required and is it better to have had these done prior to the interview at the embassy?
4.3.6)...What should I bring with me to the interview?
4.4)...When is the K1 visa actually given to my fiance(e)?
4.4.1)...Must the K2 child attend the interview at the Consulate?
4.4.2)...My child did not move with me to the United States, but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F petition. Can he still get a K2 visa?
4.4.3)...Are K2 children required to have their own passports?
4.5)...Just what is inside that sealed envelope anyway?
4.6)...Can my fiance(e) come to the US to visit me once the visa process is started?
4.7)...(newsgroup)..Is an extract from the records (short form) a valid birth certificate, I know it is for UK stuff, but how about the K1 process ?
4.8).. I am adopted and don't have a birth certificate - what do I do?
4.9)...How often are the K1 visas denied?
4.10)...I'm getting conflicting reports on what is required for a plane ticket to the U.S. I was told that you need to have a round trip ticket. Is that true?
4.11)...(email)..My alien fiancee has been issued a K-1 visa. Can we get married abroad and then come back together to the US with the K-1?
4.12)...(email)..Does the government, for visa purposes, distinguish between religious and civil weddings?
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Section 5.0...ENTERING THE UNITED STATES


5.1)... The airline staff ask if I need a visa waiver or if I'm traveling on a visa. Which form should I ask for?
5.2)...What happens when we get off the plane?
5.2.1...(newsgroup)..Does anyone know exactly what happens to this wad of papers in the brown envelope (after) the INS at POE goes through them?
5.3)...How about employment? When can my fiance(e) begin working?
5.4)...What do we do if my fiance(e) does not receive a temporary work authorization?
5.5)...Is there any way I can make absolutely, positively sure that my fiance(e) will receive work authorization so that they can go to work and help to pay the bills right away?
5.6)...(newsgroup).. We were wondering if anybody could tell us where to enter the U.S. from Canada to get the proper work authorization stamp for her visa. We want to bring her car over.
5.7)..How do we apply for a Social Security Number?
5.8)...How can my fiance(e) open a bank account or file income tax returns without a Social Security number?
5.9)...My fiance(e) has a lot of household goods which are being shipped over. Will we have to pay "duties" on these things?
5.9.1)..(email) .What process is required to bring firearms into the United States?
5.10)...I hear the beer is really lousy in the US? Is this true?
5.11)...General Comment about registering for the Selective Service...males aged 18-26
5.12)...Is it okay for us to go to the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico on our honeymoon without Advance Parole?
5.12.1)...What about visiting Canada or Mexico prior to filing for Adjustment of Status?
5.13)...My fiance had to return home because of a family emergency just a couple weeks after arriving. Due we have to go thru this entire process again in order for him to come back to the US?
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Section 6.0....AFTER MARRIAGE - ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS


Introductory FAQ Note regarding "immediate" adjustment processing for K1 folks at Dallas and Detroit offices
6.1)...How soon after we get married should we apply for Adjustment of Status?
6.1.1)....(newsgroup)..When we file for adjustment of status, what do we need to do about the child's K2 status? Are we required to file the adjustment for him too and pay the fees for each application?
6.2)...What forms and other items are required for Adjustment of Status?
6.2.1)...I am asked for my Nonimmigrant visa number, is this the one under the control number or is it the one at the bottom of the visa ??
6.2.2)...Will I need to take another medical exam since the K1 medical report is only good for one year??
6.2.3)....How can we file for Adjustment of Status "immediately" if we have to wait several weeks or more to get a certified copy of the marriage certificate?
6.3)...So where do we send the Adjustment of Status application package?
6.3.1)...I read somewhere that October 1st is a bad day to go visit an INS office. Why?
6.4)...I thought we were also supposed to submit fingerprints as well?
6.5)...Why is the FBI looking at my fingerprints?
6.6)...Why is the I-864 Affidavit of Support now used for the Adjustment of Status application when we used the I-134 Affidavit for the Fiance(e) petition?
6.7)...Can my spouse leave the United States, and then re-enter, before receiving the Green Card (conditional permanent residency)?
6.7.1)...(newsgroup)...Well, my wife received her advance parole documents today. I had thought maybe we would receive some instruction on how to use them properly from INS, but no such luck.
6.8 and 6.9)...(These items deleted...see section 7.0)
6.10)...We never received the 90 day work authorization, and we could not take the I-765 to a local office. When do we finally get the EAD?
6.10.1)...(newsgroup)..Correct me if I'm wrong (as I haven't gotten married yet), but don't you have to officially "change" your name at the Social Security office?
6.11)...What should we do during the time we are waiting for the Adjustment of Status interview?
6.11.1)...What should we do if we move before the interview happens?
6.11.2)...How will we know when the interview is scheduled? What *evidence* do we need to take?
6.11.3)...What kind of questions will they ask in the interview?
6.11.4)...When do I get the green card?
6.11.5) ..(This item deleted. See Section 7.0)
6.11.6)..Can I travel abroad after becoming a permanent resident?
6.11.7)..(newsgroup)..OK, so my K-1 wife will file I485 for AOS.....Question is, what will her immigration status be from the date she files the AOS paperwork until the interview where she receives (conditional)green card?
6.11.8)..Can I go get a "normal" Social Security card after AOS?
6.12)...Taxes. How do we find out about taxes?
6.13)...What happens if we do not get married within the 90 day validity of the K1 visa?
6.14)..(newsgroup)..Finally I received the green card. Unfortunately my first name is misspelled!
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Section 7.0....LIFTING OF CONDITIONAL STATUS


Introductory FAQ Note regarding those folks who wait more than 2 years for AOS approval and who thus escape the conditional period.
7.1) ..Please explain "Conditional Permanent Residency"
7.2) ..When do I become a Permanent Resident (conditional status removed)?
7.3) ..Okay, when do I file the I-751 to lift conditional status?
7.4) ..How to we file for lifting of conditions for my K2 child?
7.5) ..Where should I send the application package?
7.6) ..Why is filing 90 days before the expiration of my 2 year green card so important?
7.7) ..Is there another interview required to lift my conditional status?
7.8) ..What "evidence" should I submit in order to avoid an interview?
7.8.1) ..So what does INS want to see in the affidavit from people we know??
7.8.2) ..(newsgroup)..Does the INS do any background checks for conditional residents such as FBI and CIA checks?
7.9) ..How will I be notified by INS? What is my status before I get a new green card?
7.9.1) ..So I have to go back to the local INS office even after I have received unconditional permanent resident status?
7.10) ..The green card is only good for 10 years!!
7.11) ..My marriage fell apart and we are divorced. Can I still get the conditional status lifted?
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Section 8.0....NATURALIZATION (UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP)


8.1)...When can I apply for United States citizenship?
8.2)...Am I obligated to apply for United States citizenship? If not, why should I?
8.3)...Special Note: Be sure to notify the Social Security Administration after Naturalization
8.4)...Can I still apply for Naturalization even tho my I-751 has not yet been approved?
8.5)...(newsgroup)..I was reading a page on the naturalization oath you have to take. I am an atheist and don't want to do the 'so help me God' part. Do I have to say that?
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Section 10.0....The I-130 Petition (for K3/K4)


10.1)...I am a Permanent Resident, not a US Citizen. Can I still use the K3/K4 process?
10.2)...How do I prepare the I-130 package to start the process for a K3?
10.3)...When starting the K3/K4 process, must I submit an I-130 for our children when I submit the I-130 for my spouse?
10.4)...Where do I send the I-130 petition when used as part of the K3/K4 process?
10.5)...What notification will I receive from INS that my I-130 petition has been filed?
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Section 11.0....The I-129F Petition (for K3/K4)


11.1)...The I-129F is a Fiance(e) petition!!! Why is it used for my spouse and children?
11.2)...How do I prepare the I-129F package for the K3/K4 and what documents do I need?
11.3)...What must I do to fill out the I-129F correctly for my spouse?
11.4)...Do I list our children on the I-129F petition as well?
11.5)...Where do I send the I-129F petition used for the K3/K4?
11.6)...What notification will I receive from INS that my I-129F petition has been filed, and then approved?
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Section 12.0....The K3/K4 Application (at the Consulate)


12.1)...How will the Consulate be notified of my approved I-129F Petition for the K3/K4?
12.2)...What kind of paperwork will the Consulate send to my spouse?
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Section 13.0....Entering the United States with the K3/K4 Visa


13.1)...I am coming in on a K3. What happens when we get off the plane?
13.2)...How long is my K3/K4 status good for?
13.3)...Do I have work authorization based on my K3 status, before applying for Adjustment of Status?
13.4)...How do I apply for a Social Security Number based on the K3/K4 status?
13.5)...My child did not move with me to the United States, but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F petition. Can he still get a K4 visa?
13.6)...I just arrived in the United States as a K3, but if I have an emergency and need to return to my home country, can I return to the United States with no problems using my K3 visa?
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Section 14.0...Adjustment of Status from K3/K4


14.1)..How soon after we arrive in the U.S. should we apply for Adjustment of Status?
14.2)...Since my K3 status is good for two years, why am I obligated to apply for Adjustment of Status as soon as possible?
14.3)...When we file for adjustment of status, what do we need to do about the child's K4 status? Are we required to file the adjustment for the K4 and pay the fees for each application?
14.4)...How do I file for Adjustment of Status from a K3 and what forms do I need?
14.5)...Will I need to apply for Advance Parole in order to leave and then reenter the United States as a K3/K4?
14.6)...Does the K3 status change after applying for Adjustment of Status?
14.7)...What if my EAD expires before my application for Adjustment of Status from K3 is approved?
14.8)...My status as K3 is about to expire, and I am still waiting approval of AOS. Is there anything I can do to keep my status?
14.9)...What is the status of a K3 after approval of Adjustment of Status?
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Section 20.0....RELATED ISSUES


20.1)...My foreign spouse passed away before applying for Naturalization. Is there anything that I, as a US Citizen, need to do?
20.2)...What about INS? Do I need to notify INS about the death of my foreign spouse or child?

Section 3.0...THE I-129F PETITION (completed by the American Citizen)

3.1)...I am engaged to a foreign national. What do I do to bring my fiance(e) here to get married?
A..Provided you are a US Citizen, you begin by filing an I-129F, petition for fiance(e) visa. As part of the initial petition process, you will be required to show that you have personally met your fiance(e) within the previous 2 years. It is difficult to obtain an exception to this rule.
If your fiance(e) has unmarried children under 21, they can move to the US also. List all children under age 21 on the I-129F petition, whether or not they are going to move to the United States.
When this petition is approved, the fiance(e) can apply for the K1/K2 visa. The K2 visa is used for the children. Any procedures applicable for the K1 visa are automatically applied to the children.
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3.2)...How do I obtain the I-129F and what other forms do I need?
A..The "easiest" way is to call the toll-free INS number given in the
links and say you want the "fiance(e) visa package", or mail-order the forms from the INS web site.
You can also download documents, and these are accepted with no problem. However, as one poster notes "Downloaded forms from the Internet do *not* provide all the information that is necessary. So far, every time I've requested forms by the Phone Request number, I've received additional and very necessary helpful information. Personally, I wouldn't do it any other way."
The "fastest" way might be to visit a local INS office where they will probably have the forms.

The package you will send to the INS Service Center must contain the following....

When you order the forms from INS they will include the M-378 Color Photograph Specifications. This sheet will show you how the required photos should look.
You will get a WR-627 Direct Mail Notice. This tells you where to mail the forms.
You will get an I-134 Affidavit of Support. (You may consider ordering the Affidavit as a separate item to insure that you do get it). The I-134 Affidavit of Support will be filled out by the US Citizen and sent to the fiance(e) for the K1 interview. It is not required to be sent to the Service Center with the I-129F. Some Consulates require extra information to be included with the Affidavit, so you need to hang onto it until you have learned whether or not there are additional requirements. These will be listed on the OF-167 "financial support" document the fiance(e) receives from the Consulate. You can also refer questions to the newsgroup about experiences regarding the Affidavit. (Also go and look at question 4.3.1)

FAQ Note about evidence. You need to send copies of evidence that you and your fiance(e) have met personally within the previous two years. Items such items as photos, copies of passport stamps, copies of airline tickets, help prove this. In the past many petitioners faced a delay when the INS sent them a request for additional evidence or information.
In addition, the I-129F (version 10-06-00) indicates the INS wants "original statements" from the US Citizen and foreign fiance(e) regarding mutual intent to marry within 90 days, plus "copies of any evidence you wish to submit to establish your mutual intent". (As time goes by, we will document what people tell the newsgroup regarding this evidence, but the "original statement" can be a simple letter attesting that you do indeed intend to marry within 90 days. Each of you can write such a letter, or a single letter can be written and signed by both of you.)

A..(newsgroup)..I have original signed statements from both of us (not notarized), evidence of meeting in the past two years, evidence of a valid relationship (by way of letters, engagement ring recpt and engagement photos, and tons of phone cards).
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3.2.1)...Do I have to send in my original birth certificate, passport, or Naturalization certificate?
A....Copies of these documents are sufficient. Prior to October 2000, the instructions for the I-129F were not written clearly, and the newsgroup would often hear from folks who sent their original US passport with the I-129F petition and wanted to know if they would ever get it back. You must be prepared to submit original documents only if INS decides they want to look at them.
If you like (but it is not required), you can put your signature on Notice #FC-029 (12-98) and include it with your package. FC-029 states that legible photocopies may be submitted of original documents, including Naturalization and Alien Registration Cards. Or you can just include a statement that "copies of documents submitted are exact photocopies of unaltered original documents and I understand that I may be required to submit original documents to an Immigration or Consular official at a later date", sign it, and date it.
A...(email)... You can contact the county clerk where you were born, and get a certified copy of your birth certificate. (Note: you will pay a few dollars for this, but you usually can get more than one copy. All US Citizens should have a certified copy of their birth certificate, but it is surprising how many can't seem to find it when they need it.)
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3.2.2)...(newsgroup)..How should a latin name (first name, fathers last name, mothers last name) be put on the G-325A and I-129F?
A..(newsgroup)..What others have done successfully is to use the first (fathers) last name on the forms. Then in the cover letter, state the full name including both last names and that you are only using the first (fathers) last name on the forms.
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3.2.3)...The instructions state the photos must be taken within 30 days of the petition or application. How critical is this?
A..(newsgroup)..If you do not anticipate a significant change in your appearance, get the pix taken and don't worry about the date. As long as there are no dates on the pix and they look like you, everything should be fine.
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3.3)...So what Affidavit am I *really* supposed to use? The I-134 or the I-864?
A..The I-134 is still used for some visa applications, including the K1. Good advice here is to also inquire at the foreign consulate about any particular additional requirements. You can also refer questions to the newsgroup to inquire about recent experiences. Your fiance(e) needs the I-134 affidavit for the actual visa interview at the foreign consulate, so you will not be sending it with the I-129F petition. You will send the I-134 affidavit to your fiance(e).
Altho the I-134 does not state minimum income requirements, there is a near 100% chance you will be required to show 125% of the poverty level for your household including your fiance(e) and any children. (See the link in the references section for Poverty Level guidelines). If you do not meet these requirements, you must still file an I-134, but you will need a co-sponsor who does meet the guidelines. The co-sponsor also fills out an I-134 affidavit.
You should make a COMPLETE copy of EVERYTHING in your affidavit package. Make a copy of the I-134 before you get it notarized *just in case* you have to supply another notarized copy. You WILL use the I-864 affidavit when filing the I-485 application for adjustment after marriage, so you should begin learning about it now.
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3.3.1)...Where can I get someone to notarize my documents?
A..The best place is at a bank, credit union, or savings and loan institution. If you do business with one, the services will usually be free. If not, each "signature" will cost a few dollars.
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3.4)...I filled out the forms, now where do I send them? Should I make extra copies of anything?
A..(newsgroup)..The American citizen should send the I-129F, G-325A (both copies), and all supporting documentation to the Regional INS service center having jurisdiction over their place of residence. This is not the state or local INS office, but one of 4 regional service centers. You may receive the Direct Mail Notice WR-627 with your package from the INS and it has all the addresses. Send the I-134 Affidavit to your fiance(e) for the visa interview.

A..(from the I-129F instructions)..If you live outside the United States, contact the nearest American Consulate to find out where to send or take the completed form.

Make a COMPLETE copy of the ENTIRE I-129F petition package. You should even have extra original photos. Don't send originals of your divorce decrees or passport. Send copies and attach a statement that the originals are available.
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3.4.1...Should I send a cover letter with the I-129F petition package?
A...A cover letter is not required, but it is a good idea to have one. It can be used to list all the documents submitted with the package, and can also be used to explain "how you met".
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3.5)...When I send the application package, should I request "return receipt"?
A..Yes. Go to the Post Office and mail it in person. You will feel better when you get the receipt in the mail a few days later, and you will know that your application has made it as far as the INS mailroom.
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3.6)...How does the US Citizen know the petition has been "officially" received?
A..The Citizen will receive an I-797 "Notice of Action" from the INS. This can be up to a couple weeks after you mail it. The notice will say how long it usually takes to process the applications and give you a "receipt number" by which you can obtain "case status information" direct from the "automated system". The telephone number will be provided on the form.
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3.7)...How does the US Citizen know the petition has been approved?
A..The Citizen will receive another I-797 "Notice of Action" from the INS, which is the actual "approval notice". It should have the same "receipt number" as the first NOA. Keep this form in a safe place. Approval times thru the 4 Sevice Centers very widely, roughly 30-45 days thru Vermont and as long as 3 months thru Nebraska (as of April, 1999).
This approval notice will specify the following:

At this time, the foreign US consulate will be notified, and the appropriate forms forwarded to the fiance(e). The fiance(e) is responsible for applying for the visa.
Special Note - Do not assume this I-797 "approval notice" is a form letter. Read it carefully, front and back. Many approval notices state..."The marriage and filing of the adjustment application must both occur within these 90 days". A copy of the approval notice must be submitted with your I-485 Adjustment of Status application.
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3.7.1)...My fiance(e)'s name was spelled incorrectly on the I-797 Approval Notice. What should I do?
A...(newsgroup)..All you have to do is get thru to your Service Center and correct the spelling over the phone. It will be no problem.
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3.8)...(This item deleted....info is now at question 3.2)

3.9)... (newsgroup)..We've noticed that the Bio form they gave to us is G325 (the two sheet version) and not G325A (the four sheet version) which is what I was expecting. Also, is it ok to use downloaded forms from the INS website?
A..If you do not want to spend the time getting the four-page form, then make two extra copies, fill them out and sign them as well. A newsgroup posting indicates this is an acceptable solution.
The sheets normally are marked at the bottom, thusly:

As of April, 2000, many newsgroupers are reportng downloading the four page G325A from the INS website and using it "as is" printed on white paper. The G-325A is a four sheet carbon copy form and is difficult to fill out, unless you fill it two sheets at a time or use a typewriter. It is also useful to note there are websites where you can fill out the G-325A online (and other forms as well) and print them out, either as a paid service or for free.

FAQ Trivia.... In the newsgroup, a retired INS examiner has said the INS Service Centers throw away everything except sheet 1 of the G-325A. He said the carbon form G-325A is only sent out cause the INS still has thousands of them lying around. We don't really know if that is true tho.
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3.9.1....(newsgroup)..On form G-325A, where can I get the file number started with "A-" ( it is the far right box of the first row of boxes) for both me and my fiance. Also in the last box with the heavy border how would I put my fiance's alien registration number there while she has none. Can I just leave it blank.
A..You can write "none" in both those spaces. At this early stage, the fiance(e) doesn't have an alien registration number. The file number (which will be the "A" number) is assigned when the petition is approved (see question 3.7). Just put your names in the "last box with the heavy border". The "applicant" on the form the US Citizen fills out is the US Citizen. The "applicant" on the form the fiance(e) fills out is the Fiance(e).
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3.10)...(newsgroup)..I'm trying to find out how old the U.S. citizen needs to be to file an application for K-1 visa for a foreign fiance[e]. Is it 18 or 21?
A..(newsgroup)..According to the INS, "Both petitioner and beneficiary must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States." I would presume that if one can conclude a valid marriage at age 18, then 18 would be acceptable.
A..(newsgroup)..For those under age 21, but over age 18 in some places, this requires a letter of consent from both sets of parents. The signatures on these letters of consent should be duly notarized, certified copies made, and one set submitted with the I-129F application.
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3.11)...(newsgroup)..Is there a special visa status for a fiance(e) from Mexico (south near Mexico city) or do I need to go thru the normal finacee visa process ?
A..(newsgroup)..Petitions from Mexico and Canada go through the same processes as other countries. You must file the same forms and affidavits and will be subject to the same responsibilities.
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3.12)...Do we need a lawyer to help us through the process?
A..You do not "need" a lawyer. If you can read and understand the forms, you and your fiance(e) can do it yourselves. You can also refer questions to the newsgroup. However, if you feel uncomfortable, unsure, or you just don't have the time to do the job yourselves, hiring an attorney experienced in fiance(e) visa procedures is certainly an option, and may help to reduce your worry and stress. Your attorney should be a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
A...(newsgroup)..IF your case is uncomplicated (fiance has no significant criminal record that might disqualify or other problem factors), you can do this yourself easily. All it takes is willingness to deal with the paperwork and attention to detail. The risk you have in using an attorney is that he/she won't know the particular information you get in this newsgroup, by the way, which can be the most valuable part of the information that is needed.
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3.14)...How often are these I-129F petitions rejected?
A.. In reading postings from the newsgroup, rarely. The I-129F petition is processed by the INS in the United States. This first stage is usually trouble-free, tho some petitioners worry too much and get nervous. They do sometimes get rejected when the fiance(e) is from certain areas of the world, such as the Philippines or Hong Kong.
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3.15)...(newsgroup)..Can I, while my fiancee will apply for a I-129F package, be with her in the US ? So we can stay together while the application is being processed or do I have to go to Holland again ?
A..As long as you do not go beyond your visa expiration date and leave in plenty of time to do your part of the application then it should be ok. Many couples file the I-129F while the fiance(e) is in the US. However, the visa application itself is accomplished in the fiance(e)s home country, so the fiance(e) must return home to complete the visa application process and the interview at the US Consulate.
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3.16)...(newsgroup)..Does anyone have any words of reassurance that we aren't looked upon as complete freaks for meeting on the net and falling in love (by the INS or the US Embassy anyway)?
A...(newsgroup)..You, me and about, ohhhhh, probably 80% of the people using this newsgroup (met on the net). INS doesnt care that you met online initially. Just that you HAVE met face to face.
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Section 4.0...THE K1/K2 VISA APPLICATION PROCESS completed by the Fiance(e)

4.1)...How long after the approval of the I-129F petition does the fiance(e) wait to get the paperwork?
A..This can take awhile...some INS offices send the info out to the Consulates via "diplomatic pouch" (very slow), while some do it in other modern ways. The process can take a month, depending on the INS office and the location of the foreign US Consulate. The foreign Consulate then forwards the paperwork to the fiance(e).
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4.2)...Can the foreign consulate be notified any faster???
A...(newsgroup)..One way to get the information from the U.S. Service center to the foreign consulate is to have it cabled. To do this, write "Please cable" on the I-129F form next to line 20. This may or may not work, but it is worth asking for.
A...(newsgroup)..The Vermont Service Center cables approval notices automatically to the US Consulate in the foreign country without needing the I-824 to be submitted. (This was posted May 98)
A...A few Consulates will open a provisional file for the fiance(e) if you fax them a copy of the I-797 Notice of Approval. This means they will send out paperwork to the fiance(e). They normally will not schedule an interview without receiving the approval from the US Service Center. Contact the Consulate and ask.
FAQ note...The old advice to use the I-824 as a "cable request" is no longer recommended due to steep fee increases for use of the I-824 form. But if you decide to use the I-824, send it with the I-129F petition. Also, if you decide to send your original I-797 Approval Notice around the world in order to save a few weeks, you do it at your own risk. It is nearly certain you will be asked to produce the original I-797 Approval Notice sometime during the Adjustment of Status process. Since children are not listed on the I-797 Approval Notice as beneficiaries, the Consulate will not schedule an interview if there is a K2 visa involved until the approval package from INS is received by the Consulate.
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4.3)...What type of paperwork does the fiance(e) receive from the Consulate?
A...Exactly what gets sent will vary depending on the Consulate, but the first packet to arrive will most likely contain the following:

Sometimes, the Consulate may forget to send extra copies of these application forms for the children for whom a K2 visa is intended. If so, contact the Consulate to obtain the forms.
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4.3.1)...What does the fiance(e) do with all these papers?
A..The process is not exactly the same for all countries, but works generally like this:


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4.3.2)...Can the fiance(e) start gathering documents and information right away to "speed things along?"
A..You don't have to wait for the packet to arrive to begin gathering the birth certificate, divorce or death decrees, photographs, military records, and medical information from your doctor about which immunizations you have had. You might not be able to request the police clearance without the actual checklist from the Consulate as "proof" that you need it. You can download the various forms and use them for "practice". Refer questions to the newsgroup, as there is a LOT of specific information that can save you weeks of time, depending on what country you are filing from. The fiance(e) also needs a passport, valid for at least 6 months from the time the visa is issued.
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4.3.3)...Do I need documents translated into english for the K1 application?
A..(newsgroup)..On the OF-169 form the K-1 fiance/e receives it states that English or the native language where the consulate is located is acceptable. There is a caveat which states *all* documents in Japanese must be translated. If the Consulate *must* have english translations, it will be stated on the OF-169 checklist.

A..(newsgroup)..While the translation of documents may not be required for the K-1 visa, the translation of foreign language documents WILL be required for adjustment of status. If your language is different from English, I would tactfully suggest that the foreign fiance get certified translations *prior* to entering the US on the k-1 visa.
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4.3.4)...(newsgroup)..Are the photographs supposed to be made the same way as the ones we sent in for the I-129F?
A...In the past, this seemed to vary per Consulate, with some using the ADIT type and some requiring "passport" type (full frontal, color or black and white). However, it has been noted the Consular Foreign Affairs Manual has been revised as of March 1999 to require the full frontal photo, altho mentioning "The consular officer may use a previously submitted photograph, if he is satisfied that it bears a reasonable likeness to the applicant".
Your checklist will describe the required photo.
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4.3.5)...(newsgroup)..What vaccinations are required and is it better to have had these done prior to the interview at the embassy?
A...The actual list of vaccinations given to the fiance(e) is rather long, and US government agencies publish these lists (look in the references section), however, depending on your age and previous history, you may only need a few of them, perhaps none at all.
A...(newsgroup)...When you go for your medical exam, the doctor there can help you determine what vaccinations (if any) you will require. You can opt to have them there, (at additional cost) or you can get them at a later date from your own doctor or clinic. You will have to have them by the time your adjustment of status is complete so you can even get them in the US if that is more convenient for you.
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4.3.6)...What should I bring with me to the interview?
A...You need everything from the checklist, of course, but you also need originals of everything that was originally submitted as a copy, even with the I-129F petition (except the US Citizens passport and the original I-797 approval notice). Original birth certificates, divorce or death decrees, and originals of any documents to support the I-134 fall into this category. The Consulate has the right to ask for the original of any document, so best be prepared.
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4.4)...When is the K1 visa actually given to my fiance(e)?
A..This will vary according to the individual consulate. For example:

The visa is given along with a sealed envelope of documents which must be given to the INS officer when entering the US. The visa is good for 6 months. The fiance(e) is allowed to enter the US once with the visa, with the purpose of getting marrried. The fiance(e) is not allowed to travel freely into and out of the US with the visa, it is good for one entry only. If there is a K2 visa involved, the K2 may enter up to a year after the K1. The K2 cannot enter the US before the K1.
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4.4.1)...Must the K2 child attend the interview at the Consulate?
A...Generally, yes. The Consulate sets the requirements. Some do not require the child to attend if they are under 14, and some will require the child to attend even if they are not going to move to the United States with the parent, but will "follow to join" later.
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4.4.2)...My child did not move with me to the United States, but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F petition. Can he still get a K2 visa?
A..(newsgroup)..I included my Ukrainian fiance's 18 year son on the 129 form. My fiancee went for her interview alone on Jan 27th, 1998. She immediately came to the US and we were married on Feb 21st. I called the US Embassy in Warsaw in July and explained that my Stepson was ready for his interview. He had 1 year to come the US on the k-2 visa. They set an appointment for him in 30 days. They mailed him the same forms as they did for my wife. He had to get the same documentation as my wife had to for her interview. As soon as he arrived in the US we applied for his change of status and work card.
(FAQ note: the son moved to the US in Sept 98, and even had the visa interview delayed a month due to problems obtaining an international passport. He was not even required to have a new I-134 affidavit, altho his stepdad sent one to him.)
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4.4.3)...Are K2 children required to have their own passports?
A...In general, a separate passport is not required if the child is under 16. If the Consulate requires the child to have a passport, it will be listed on the OF-169 (or UK85). Many countries will permit young children to be listed on a parents passport, but at least consider getting a passport for your young child. You can avoid any problems dealing with INS upon entry, the young person can travel independently (if required), and the passport provides an identification document if you are ever separated for some reason. Besides, it will make a cool addition to the scrapbook collection when the child is an adult.
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4.5)...Just what is inside that sealed envelope anyway?
A..(newsgroup).. Someone had asked me about the contents of the envelope from the consulate. It contained all the original I-129F documents, the K-1 forms which I completed for the consulate, our photos, birth and divorce certificates, my medical report, and the affidavit of support.
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4.6)...Can my fiance(e) come to the US to visit me once the visa process is started?
A..(newsgroup)..I wrote to the Embassy in London and I was given this reply: "If you wish to make a temporary visit to the US while your application for a Fiance(e) visa is being processed, you will require a visitor's visa (B-1/B-2) or, if you meet the conditions, travel visa-free. However, all travelers to the US are subject to inspection at the port of entry by an immigration officer who has the right to deny admissions. As the beneficiary of an approved Fiance(e) visa (petition) you may have difficulty convincing the officer that you are not an intending immigrant."

A.. If the fiance(e)..."Has a residence in a foreign country which the alien does not intend to abandon", and if the fiance(e) is "An alien coming to meet the alien's fiance(e)'s family (to become engaged; to make arrangements for a wedding; or to renew a relationship with the prospective spouse)", then they can enter the US on a B2 visa. (Quotes from the INS Inspectors Field Manual). This does not specifically address an alien with a "K1 visa application pending". Proving an intention to return home might mean showing....

This question does not have a good answer. Refer questions regarding experiences to the newsgroup.
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4.7)...(newsgroup)..Is an extract from the records (short form) a valid birth certificate, I know it is for UK stuff, but how about the K1 process ?
A..(newsgroup)..It has to be a full Certificate (long form), ie showing parents names etc...not the short form one. A Certfied Copy (ie on official paper, would be considered an original).
A..(newsgroup).. it is very easy to get copies of the BC in the UK.. just call the records officer controlling the district where you was born. I searched for the number on the net, called and got the address and cost (£6 pound each). Send a letter with a cheque and 4 days later got 4 original copies.
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4.8.. I am adopted and don't have a birth certificate - what do I do?
A..(email)..INS will accept a full adoption certificate. Showing adopting parents names and the same information shown on a birth certificate. The address of where to get these can be obtained from the local Registrar of Births Marriages and Deaths (in England)
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4.9...How often are the K1 visa applications denied?
A..In reading posts from the newsgroup, not often. The K1/K2 visa application process is handled by the US State Department thru the US Consulates. INS is not involved at this stage. It is assumed the fiance(e) meets the requirements for medical test, police records, etc. The newsgroup has experienced denials based on failure to disclose a prior minor criminal offense, and failure to disclose a visa overstay during a previous visit to the US. It wasn't the necessarily the minor crime or the overstay that caused the denial, but in both cases, the applicants did not admit to them.
If you have some sort of past problem, you will have a better chance at getting the K1 visa if you are honest and forthright. In early 1999, a UK man received a K1 despite past minor criminal problems, and he attributed his success to his total honesty. Depending on the particular reason for denial, a waiver may be available.
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4.10..(newsgroup)..I'm getting conflicting reports on what is required for a plane ticket to the U.S. I was told that you need to have a round trip ticket. Is that true?
A...(newsgroup)..This subject has been discussed in the newsgroup at great length. The plane ticket is irrelevent! Go for what ever fits your budget. (Note: this means it is not required to have a round trip ticket when entering on a K1 visa)
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4.11)...(email)..My alien fiancee has been issued a K-1 visa. Can we get married abroad and then come back together to the US with the K-1?
A..(email)...No. The alien must NOT be married when s/he enters the US on a K-1 visa. Also, if using the K-1, the couple must marry in the US within 90 days of the alien entering on the K-1.
(FAQ Note: Some couples arrange to have a nonlegal ceremony prior to the fiance(e) leaving their home country, in order to satisfy the wishes of family, or to have a celebration if the family is unable to travel to the US for a wedding.
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4.12)...(email)..Does the government, for visa purposes, distinguish between religious and civil marriages?
A...The government distinguishes between legal and nonlegal marriages. If the marriage is legal in the country in which it is performed, the US will consider it a legal marriage. It doesn't matter if it is a civil or religious marriage.
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Section 5.0...ENTERING THE UNITED STATES

5.1)... The airline staff ask if I need a visa waiver or if I'm traveling on a visa. Which form should I ask for?
A.. You are entering on a visa. You will need to fill out the "white" form. This will have the I-94 attached. This should be filled out at the departing airport or on the plane. Don't wait until you arrive in the US to fill it out or it may delay you.
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5.2)...What happens when we get off the plane?
A..You will queue up with all the others going thru Immigration. You might be directed to a waiting area until the other passengers are gone. Your sealed envelope will be opened, your passport will be stamped, you will have the I-94 form put in it, you may or may not get your 90 day work authorization or EAD Employment Authorization Document. In early 2001, it was becoming increasingly uncommon to obtain any work authorization at a POE. The officer may ask a few questions, and may say "Welcome to the United States". It doesn't take long. You leave the Immigration area, and then proceed thru Customs.
Altho your actual processing may not take long, if you must make a connecting flight then you better allow penty of time, maybe as long as 3 or 4 hours at a major airport where the queues may be long, and the distance between terminals even longer.

If you are flying in from Canada, the Immigration/Customs procedure will occur before you get on the plane in Canada. If you are driving into the United States, the procedure will occur at the border crossing.
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5.2.1...(newsgroup)..Does anyone know exactly what happens to this wad of papers in the brown envelope (after) the INS at POE goes through them?
A..(newsgroup)..It is sent to the INS district office closest to where you will reside, which will be the office handling your case once in the USA.
(NOTE: the envelope may "transit" thru one of the Service Centers, but it will end up at your local office)
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5.3)...How about employment? When can my fiance(e) begin working?
A..(generalized statement)..In principle, right away. It is currently unclear if a K1 can legally obtain employment without an EAD during the validity of the K1. One newsgrouper (Aug 2001) reported working without an EAD in this fashion, however, an inquiry to a local office (San Antonio) produced the answer that an EAD is still required. This particular office advises to visit them immediately after entry to the US to obtain a free 90 day EAD. Several local offices will do this. Just walk in there or call them on the phone and tell them you didn't get an EAD at the POE. The newsgroup has reported many successes by determined K1-ers who have done this. In order to be employed, it is also required to have a Social Security Number. A K2 still requires a specific work authorization from the INS to obtain a Social Security number. Any "90 day" employment authorization lasts only as long as the valid K1/K2 status (90 days from entry as noted on the I-94).
FAQ Note #1: If you receive an EAD (I-688B) card at the POE, check it to make sure it has the following info on it: your full name, your alien number, your signature, your picture, your fingerprint, the EAD issue date, the EAD expiration date and your date of birth.
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5.4)...What do we do if my fiance(e) does not receive a temporary work authorization?
A..If your intent is to put your fiance(e) to work as soon as possible, then get married immediately. Apply for "Adjustment of Status" (I-485) with an application for work authorization (I-765). If you are lucky, you can go in person to a local INS office with these applications and perhaps get an EAD immediately (the EAD will be good for one year). If you are required to submit the applications by mail, the EAD application will be processed in 30-90 days. The fiance(e) will be notified to appear in person to be photographed, and the EAD will be issued there.
The "official I-765 procedure" for obtaining a 90 day EAD based on a K1 involves sending the application to your INS Service Center, with photos and a fingerprint card. This option may actually get you a temporary EAD, but it will expire when your K1 expires. The processing times at the Service Centers make this option almost worthless.
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5.5)...Is there any way I can make absolutely, positively sure that my fiance(e) will receive work authorization so that they can go to work and help to pay the bills right away?
A..No.
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5.6)...(newsgroup).. We were wondering if anybody could tell us where to enter the U.S. from Canada to get the proper work authorization stamp for her visa. We want to bring her car over.
A..(newsgroup)..She can bring her car across the border as long as she can provide proof that it meets US emissions and safety standards for its model year. Contact the company's head office in Canada for a letter to that effect. Every border post will give your fiancee the I-94 form to complete and they will attach part of it to her passport. They might also be able to furnish her with her Employment Authorization card, although I'm not 100% sure. They should certainly provide her with the I-765 form to complete which is the application for employment authorization.
(FAQ Note: see the link in the references section for info on bringing a car from Canada)
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5.7)..How do we apply for a Social Security Number?
A..Upon entry, a K1 should be able to obtain a SSN upon presentation of a valid I-94. A memo (File no. EM-00154 dated November 1, 2000) issued by the Social Security Administration, states the unexpired I-94 is valid proof of employment for the purpose of obtaining a Social Security Number. Go in person to any local Social Security Administration office with your pasport and I-94. Fill out the form SS-5. There is no fee, and the cards are mailed within 2 weeks. It will be marked "valid for work only with INS authorization". A K2 can only get a SSN if they have an EAD.

A..(newsgroup Jan 19, 2001)..The first thing the clerk did when we sat down was look in her book that is supposedly supplied by the INS and tell us that K-1 holders were not work authorized. I started flipping out documents to the contrary and she went and got her supervisor. The supervisor maintained their information was correct for a while until one of the documents (the posting by Judith on the 9th) jarred something in her memory. She left for a few minutes and then returned with an apology and produced a memo which stated: "A nonimmigrant alien in K-1 alien status is authorized to work based on that status and is no longer required to show and employment authorization document (EAD) as proof of employment authorization when applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) card."

(FAQ Note): If your local Social Security office won't cooperate with you, then try another office, and you may experience success. However, once you have filled out the application and given it to a particular office, you can no longer shop around for cooperation.
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5.8)...How can my fiance(e) open a bank account or file income tax returns without a Social Security number?
A..You can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service using IRS form W-7. "Any individual who is not eligible to obtain an SSN and whose taxpayer identification number is required to be furnished to the IRS must apply for an ITIN on form W-7" (information taken from the instructions to form W-7). You can apply in person or by mail. You may use either the original or certified copy of passport, drivers license, birth certificate, identity card, or US Immigration documents when applying. Like the SSN, the ITIN is a 9-digit number.
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5.9)...My fiance(e) has a lot of household goods which are being shipped over. Will we have to pay "duties" on these things?
A..If the goods are really just household stuff (and more than a year old), there will be no tax or duty. If you show up with a lot of brand new stuff still in the original boxes and call it "household goods" you probably will pay some tax or duty. Your shipping company can answer questions regarding specific shipments and items. The shipping company will be familiar with the procedures and forms required to bring household good into the US.
A..(newsgroup)..Your shipped goods won't pass Customs in the United States prior to your entry as a K1. If you shipped your belongings prior to moving, then after entry, you will send or fax copies of your passport, visa, 1-94 and the "date of entry" stamp you received at the POE to the shipping company.
..(newsgroup)..When I made a list of my belongings from Canada to US at the Fort Erie/Buffalo crossing, I called the border official and asked about this. They told me that items such as linens, dishes, clothing don't have to be itemized, but just say 2 boxes clothes, 1 box dishes, 1 bed etc. What they want itemized with serial #'s are electronics and items of significant monetary value.
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5.9.1)..(email)..What process is required to bring firearms into the United States?
A..(email)..If you wish to include firearms in with your personal possessions, you must have an ATF permit (Form 6-Part 1, 5330.3A) approved in advance. This includes shotguns and hunting rifles (even those manufactured in the US). Application forms are available through The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Washington, DC, 20226, attn. Firearms and Explosives Branch) allowing 30-60 days for approval. The firearms will be inspected at the Port of Entry.
(FAQ Note...Some types of firearms cannot be imported into the United States, and individual states and cities have laws regarding firearm possession, so it is worthwhile to research this subject in advance. Most unmodified shotguns and hunting rifles will not be a problem.)
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5.10)...I hear the beer is really lousy in the US? Is this true?
A..Folks from the UK will complain about the beer, the Swedes will complain about the coffee, and the grocery stores have only tiny areas devoted to various ethnic groups. There may be some "culture shock" involved in transplanting yourself to a completely new life in the space of 24 hours. But you and your spouse will be a "team". Hang in there.
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5.11)...General Comment - Selective Service (military draft) Registration...males aged 18-26
A....Men aged 18-26 residing in the U.S. must register for Selective Service (after adjustment of status). This applies to the younger K1 and K2 men. The Selective Service System is the military draft system. You can pick up the Selective Service Registration Form at any U.S. Post Office and send it in the mail.
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5.12)...Is it okay for us to go to the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico on our honeymoon without Advance Parole?
A...Maybe not a wise thing to do. Even tho these islands are US territories or possessions, you may have to deal with Immigration and Customs to get back to the United States. You might have trouble getting back home if you encounter an insane INS inspector, plus, there are too many opportunities to "technically" leave US jurisdiction (by visiting the adjacent islands, for example). Best to take the honeymoon somewhere in the 50 States, where there is plenty to see and do.

A..(newsgroup)..Let me make it as clear as it was explained to me and which the regulation bears out: So long as the K-1'er does not depart ("depart" is also defined in the reg.) the US after making a legal entry s/he can travel to any other location which includes the USVI, PR, Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska.
The inspector I spoke to gave clear examples. (My alien fiancée) can enter the US and we can fly directly from the mainland to the USVI. We can go wherever we want on the islands so long as we don't "touch" ground or water not under US jurisdiction. When we leave she shows her K-1 and I-94 to immigration (which shows she legally entered the US) and off we fly directly to the mainland. However, if while we are there (USVI) we decided to take a trip to the British islands then she would be denied re-entry. I know I used "directly" in this example but we could fly "outbound" mainland-PR-USVI and "inbound" USVI-PR-mainland without fear because in this case she never "departs" the US.
Inspectors (both mainland and USVI) told me that this is not an unusual occurrence. They see K-1'ers all the time.
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5.12.1)...What about visiting Canada or Mexico prior to filing for Adjustment of Status?
A...There is a way for a K1 visa holder to do this, but only if you are not married yet. After marriage, you must have Advance Parole.
If you DRIVE into Canada or Mexico (not fly), and if you do NOT surrender your I-94 (which is normally surrendered upon leaving the United States), you can re-enter the United States before the expiry date on the I-94. One newsgroup participant did that in early 1999, when he was required to take his K2 kids back into Canada in order to comply with child visitation requirements. He received conflicting answers from INS when researching the issue. He left and re-entered the US at the same POE (Detroit, Windsor Tunnel), and consulted with the INS folks there before doing it.
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5.13)...My fiance had to return home because of a family emergency just a couple weeks after arriving. Due we have to go thru this entire process again in order for him to come back to the US?
A...Hopefully not. A K1 visa may be re-validated by the Consulate if the fiance is not yet married. The re-validated visa will still expire the same date as the original, and you must be married and file for Adjustment 90 days from the original first entry. As part of this process, you will probably fill out another OF-156 non-immigrant visa application and pay another visa application fee.

FAQ Note: Revalidating a K1 has been done once in the newsgroup experience, early in 2000. The Consulate was unwilling to cooperate, and help from the US Citizens Congressional Representative was required to achieve success. The Representatives office contacted the State Department to verify the situation regarding revalidation. Correspondence between the Representatives office and the Consulate helped assure the revalidation. The revalidation process took about two weeks.
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Section 6.0....AFTER MARRIAGE - ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS


FAQ Note- Beginning in mid 1999, K1 folks who submitted the AOS application packages IN PERSON at the Detroit and Dallas offices had adjustment interviews the same day, and were given the I-551 stamp in the passport. According to one newsgrouper, the INS adjudicator said it was being done as a test for AOS based on being a K1. (This also meant those lucky folks did not have to spend dollars on applications for work authorization and advance parole)
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6.1)...How soon after we get married should we apply for Adjustment of Status?
A..Right away, or at least right after your honeymoon. It might take a year or more for a Green Card to be issued for "Conditional Permanent Residency". You should make every effort to get the Adjustment application filed within 90 days of the fiance(e) entering the United States. (Go back and read the Special Note at question 3.7)
Many INS offices will allow you to file for Adjustment based on being a K1/K2 after the 90 day period is over, but this is not guaranteed.
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6.1.1)....(newsgroup)..When we file for adjustment of status, what do we need to do about the child's K2 status? Are we required to file the adjustment for him too and pay the fees for each application?
A..You will file an application for Adjustment of Status for the child as well. Prepare the application the same way (as a separate pile of paper), but mail them together. Also send a separate I-765 application for work authorization if the child is old enough to seek employment. You will pay fees for each application.
K2s must be adjusted to conditional permanent status by age 21 or lose the benefit of having moved to the United States as a dependent of the K1 spouse. If you are in this situation, try to file the Adjustment applications in person, or include a cover sheet with a large note "K2 turns 21 on (date)". The INS will expedite cases like these. Find a way to contact the local INS in case the 21st birthday is approaching (say, within 3 months). If a K2 is not adjusted by age 21, they will be required to return to the home country.
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6.2)...What forms and other items are required for Adjustment of Status?


As with the fiance(e) visa package, the "best" way to get these forms is via the INS toll free number (given in the references section) or by ordering on-line via the INS site on the internet. You will receive helpful information about filing at your particular local INS office if you obtain your forms this way. You should also recieve the latest versions of the forms in case there has been a recent update. Request the "I-485 package" or the "adjustment of status package" And sending "copies" of documents is ok (go back and read question 3.2.1)
Because policies and procedures at INS vary from office to office, it is worth the effort to contact your local office by phone, mail, or in person to inform yourself of specific filing requirements prior to filing. Ask questions such as: By reading the newsgroup, you can get an idea of what things you need to know.
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6.2.1)...(newsgroup)...I-485 - Adjustment of status.... I am asked for my Nonimmigrant visa number, is this the one under the control number or is it the one at the bottom of the visa ??
A..(newsgroup)...On the adjustment of status forms, there is a box for the visa number. This is the red number printed on the K-1, not the visa control number. I know this because the interviewer went over the forms in front of us, and crossed out what I wrote in there (the visa control number) and replaced it with the red number.(Note: this is on the lower right side, under the "expiry date". It is not the long number written along the bottom edge of the visa.)
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6.2.2)....Will I need to take another medical exam since the medical report is only good for one year??
A...In most cases, no. The results of your K1/K2 medical were in the "sealed envelope" that you brought with you from your home country. The I-485 intructions mention that no additional medical is required if filing for AOS within a year of the medical required to obtain the K1/K2. And...according to a newsgroup posting...."Went up to the local INS office in Omaha today and they told me that the letter saying "Adjustment of Status / I130 Interview" is just a form letter they send out whether you've applied under a I485 OR a I130.... They also told me that, despite what the letter says, I do NOT need to get another medical done even though its been more than 12 months since my K1 medical at the London Embassy."
FAQ Note: The current I-485 instructions now mention a "vaccination supplement". You may have to make an appointment with an INS approved physician in your area to obtain this paperwork and/or additional vaccinations. We will await more newsgroup reports to see how this affects AOS processing. In any case, your local INS office will inform you of specific requirements at some point in your Adjustment process.
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6.2.3)...How can we file for Adjustment of Status "immediately" if we have to wait several weeks or more to get a certified copy of the marriage certificate?
A..(newsgroup)...Make sure to ask the priest/rabbi/judge who marries you to let *you* take the marriage certificate to the recorder's office yourself (You have to do this within 4 days of the marriage). Then, you can get certified copies right then and there while you wait. Otherwise the priest/rabbi/judge *mails* it to the recorder's office, where it sits for weeks without being opened and recorded, which is why it can take up to two months to get a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
(FAQ Note: This is a great idea, but not all folks will be able to do this. As one emailer wrote "A quick note on an experience we had here in Los Angeles. We were married at the Office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk by a court commissioner. The ceremony was great, but afterwards I discovered that they are unable to issue the marriage certificate then and there. It takes at least a few weeks for the certificate to be generated, copies generated, and then sent out to those married."
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6.3)...So where do we send the Adjustment of Status application package?
A..This depends on where you are. In a few locations, you may still be able to take these applications to a local office in person, and maybe even be processed for the EAD while you are there. However, you probably will have to submit by mail, to a local or district INS office. Send it "return receipt". Many district and local offices will not send you any kind of "official" receipt notification. It is much more common to get a form letter and a "cash register" receipt for the fees you have paid, and this could be up to 10 weeks after you send in the package. DON'T LOSE THESE RECEIPTS. In fact, the cash register receipt may well have your name printed on it. It is your proof that your I-485 has been filed.
It is worth the effort to try and file these forms in person, even if your local INS office has a mail-only policy. It can make a great difference in processing times for EAD and advance parole documents. And as mentioned previously, it is worthwhile to contact your local INS office prior to filing in order to learn about specific requirements.
FAQ Note: In early 2000, reports were coming into the newsgroup that folks who would file for AOS thru the Baltimore offiice were being required to submit the AOS package to the Vermont Service Center, as part of a test program.
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6.3.1)...I read somewhere that October 1st is a bad day to go visit an INS office. Why?
A..(newsgroup)..NEVER, EVER GO TO AN INS OFFICE ON OCTOBER 1st!!!!! Why? It's the first day of the new fiscal year and all those folks who've won in the various visa lotteries are there!

A..(newsgroup)..Here's how it works. If you win (the lottery) and you are in the US and choose to adjust status you do this through your local office by applying on October 1st or later (obviously one year later than you originally applied for the lottery). Note that it doesn't take much to swamp the local INS offices - when I filed at Arlington there were just 11 other AOS applications ahead of us in line and we didn't get seen until 12.45!

Note: The "October 1st" effect will depend on the location of the local office and the makeup of its immigrant population. This extra activity only lasts a few days.
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6.4)...I thought we were also supposed to submit fingerprints as well?
A..Fingerprints are still required for nearly every K1/K2, but there seems to be no way to tell in advance who will *not* require them. The INS will notify you when and where to go for the fingerprinting procedure. The "old system" suffered from poor quality control, and many fingerprint sets were being rejected by the FBI on the basis of technical errors. There is a fingerprinting fee which must be submitted with the I-485 application. You may wait months for the notification.
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6.5)...Why is the FBI looking at my fingerprints?
A..Standard procedure. The US doesn't want people with seriously undesirable backgrounds to become Permanent Residents.
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6.6)...Why is the I-864 Affidavit of Support now used for the Adjustment of Status application when we used the I-134 Affidavit for the Fiance(e) petition?
A..This legally enforceable affidavit is a result of immigration reform legislation. Now that the foreign national spouse has indicated an intention to remain here permanently, the US wants to make sure the new immigrant does not become a burden on society. The financial responsibility for this guarantee lies on those who sign the I-864 affidavit, and lasts until the sponsored immigrant becomes a naturalized US citizen or can be credited for 40 quarters of work. Whoever signs the affidavit must also inform the INS when they move, using form I-865, Sponsors Change of Address, after the immigrant gets approval of Adjustment of Status.
If you do not meet the guidelines for income level (125% of poverty level...see the Poverty Level link in the references section) you will need a joint sponsor who does meet the guidelines. The US Citizen spouse must submit an I-864, and the joint sponsor will also submit an I-864. If the joint sponsor is a member of your household, they will submit an I-864a "Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member". Any joint sponsors must be domiciled in the United States, territories or possessions, and must be a Citizen or Permanent Resident.
It is worth nothing that some local INS offices will accept an incomplete affidavit of support with the initial AOS package, but will require the completed affidavit at the AOS interview. The only way to know is to contact the local office and ask.
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6.7)...Can my spouse leave the United States, and then re-enter, before receiving the Green Card (conditional permanent residency)?
A...The spouse cannot re-enter the US unless they have "advance parole" authorization (application form I-131). Advance parole allows you to re-enter the US before approval of Adjustment of Status. Without advance parole approval, leaving the United States is considered an abandonment of your application for Adjustment of Status. Without advance parole approval, the INS will consider you an intending immigrant without a valid visa, and you will be denied entry. If you do not apply for advance parole when you file for Adjustment of Status, contact your local INS office to find out how long it takes them to issue Advance Parole. Altho advance parole is supposed to be issued to anyone who wants it for any reason at all, some local INS offices may take weeks or months, and may require proof of a serious emergency.
If you have left the US without advance parole approval, you will most likely have to apply for a "spousal visa" (I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) to re-enter the US. This can take months. Any other legal remedies thru US Consulates will be time-consuming as well.
Not all local INS offices will accept the I-131 advance parole application with an adjustment of status package, as some will require that you have proof of filing the I-485 when you send in the I-131. Also, a local INS office may require that you apply for advance parole "in person" (Chicago, for example). Ask your local INS or the newsgroup regarding specific advance parole filing requirements and supporting documents
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6.7.1)...(newsgroup)...Well, my wife received her advance parole documents today. I had thought maybe we would receive some instruction on how to use them properly from INS, but no such luck. She got three sheets; one original with picture attached, one copy with picture attached and one copy with no picture attached.
A...(newsgroup)...When your spouse leaves the USA, she should have all three copies (of the advance parole document) and her passport. The first time your spouse re-enters the USA, the POE will forward one of the copies of your letter to the office or service center you applied for AP from. You should receive the copies labelled TO TRANSPORTATION LINE and TO ALIEN back. If you enter the U.S. on some carriers, it's possible that the "transportation line" copy may be lifted from you. (FAQ Note: another poster mentioned on Aug 17, 2000 after returning from the UK "The airline (US Airways) didn't want the "To transportation line" and the INS guy left it too so I now have the top copy with the photo and a "To transportation line" should anyone want it in future.")
The INS at the POE should also place a stamp in her passport like this:


        PAROLED until:
        Purpose:

        Port:         Date:     Officer:

The port is the POE, the Date and Officer are obvious. The "paroled until" should indicate the expiry of your AP document (the letter). The "Purpose" may be one of either "Adjustment of Status" or "Humanitarian"...there seems to be some confusion about which one is "correct" but both seem to work.
They may also place an identical stamp on your I-94 (which is normally stapled to your passport).
Once you've been through the initial entry and assuming your AP document permits "multiple entries", you need only show the passport stamp and letter each time you re-enter the U.S..
(FAQ Note: The advance parole documents are issued on Form I-512, a U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service form. Not all advance parole documents are prepared exactly the same, some are two pages, not three. POE procedures will vary when using the AP. Don't worry. Like the newsgrouper who gave this FAQ answer noted, "Relax about the form...let them worry about it. If they hassle you, remind them that you were trusting the INS office that issued it to get it right...politely, of course."
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6.8 and 6.9)...(These items deleted...see section 7.0)

6.10)...We never received the 90 day work authorization, and we could not take the I-765 to a local office. When do we finally get the EAD?
A..Most EAD applications are processed between 30 and 90 days after the INS gets the application. You will get an official "appear for an interview" letter from the INS. Bring that letter and show up on time and you will get the EAD. It isn't really an interview, but you must go in person. They will take your photo and a fingerprint, and give you the EAD, which is a small laminated card. The EAD is good for a year. If it looks like you are going to have to wait more than a year for the Adjustment of Status interview, then apply for a new EAD "well in advance" (say, 3 months) of the expiration date. You cannot legally work without it.
(FAQ Note: If your employer wants to get involved, you can ask them to write a letter saying it would hurt their business if they had to lay you off, or not hire you, due to your not having work authorization. You can attach this to a letter addressed to the District Director requesting expedited processing. The newsgroup has reported at least two successes with this.)
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6.10.1)...(newsgroup)..Correct me if I'm wrong (as I haven't gotten married yet), but don't you have to officially "change" your name at the Social Security office?
A..(newsgroup)..Yes, if you are taking a different name when you get married you will have to change your name at the social security office. Make sure you take a copy of your marriage license so they can see why you are changing you name. When I changed my name they asked for a copy of the marriage certificate as proof. (FAQ Note: You may be asked to show the original marriage certificate)
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6.11)...What should we do during the time we are waiting for the Adjustment of Status interview?
A..Begin building your new life in the United States. Your EAD, Social Security number and passport (until you get a drivers license for identification) give you the means to get nearly anything you want, except a cup of coffee and the right to vote. Get to really know your new wife or husband. Get a job. Set up a joint checking account. Go exploring. Get a library card. Meet the relatives. Make new friends. Start up a new business. Try to shake off old ways of thinking about "how things are done", because things are going to be different.
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6.11.1)...What should we do if we move before the interview happens?
A..First, the foreign spouse should notify the INS office (where the case is being handled) of the address change, using form AR-11 or by sending them a certified letter with the information, including your "A" number.
Second, the US spouse (who is the sponsor for the I-864 affidavit) notifies INS of a "sponsors change of address" using form I-865 (or a certified letter) sent to the Service Center in which district you will be residing. (FAQ Note: The I-865 address change is not actually required prior to the Adjustment of Status being approved, as the I-864 is not enforceable until then.)
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6.11.2)...How will we know when the interview is scheduled? What *evidence* do we need to take?
A..(newsgroup)..Wow!! On Friday 7/10 We received our adjustment of status interview notice in the Mail from the Albany, NY INS office. One month after filing the I-485. The Appointment is for October 27th at 10Am. A list of things to be brought was included.

Sheesh, Guess a handshake and a mans good word ain't enough anymore!!!! On to collecting paper.

FAQ Note: The list you get from your local INS office prior to the interview will vary from the one given here, but it gives you an idea what to expect.
Comment about Interview Notices: You may be scheduled for an interview date on the day you file, if you file in person. This date may be well into the future. Don't lose track of the date, as you probably will not receive a follow up notice.
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6.11.3)...What kind of questions will they ask in the interview?
A..(newsgroup)..Our AoS interview was very chatty and astoundingly mundane (where do you both work; how did you meet; did you marry within 90 days of K-1 entry). Married couples will have no difficulty with the interview.
A..(newsgroup)..All we had to do was show a few documents - bills, tax returns, apartment lease, that showed we were living together as a married couple. We can't remember what the other questions were, but they were pretty trivial. It was a breeze.
A..(newsgroup)..For the Adjustment of Status (I-485) Interview, you must prove that you are a viable married couple that is living together as husband and wife at a common address. Letters from friends who know this are useful...as of May 1998, the INS still considers those letters to be useful evidence.
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6.11.4)...When do I get the green card?
A..After the interview, your passport will be stamped with the I-551 Alien Registration Receipt stamp. (Congratulations. You are now a Conditional Permanent Resident). You will also have a fingerprint taken for the green card. The photos you submitted with the I-485 will be used for your green card picture. The actual laminated card will follow in the mail, and may take a few months.
However, if you have been married more than two years when you have your Adjustment interview, you may well become a permanent resident with no conditions. As of early 2000, this was beginning to happen in some cases, due to the long wait at a few local offices.
As a Conditional Permanent Resident, you do not need advance parole to reenter the US after traveling abroad. The I-551 stamp is also proof of authorization to work.
By law, you need to carry your passport with the I-551 stamp with you at all times as proof of your status. When your greencard arrives, you can put away the passport, but you need to carry your green card in your purse or wallet. However, as one newsgrouper posted in Jan 2001, "My alien spouse asked whether there is any substitute for the real I-551 document that one could carry in a purse and afford losing it in a mall. The Bloomington ( MN) INS person said that one could use a form FC-029 used for submitting copies of documents to the INS instead of the originals and carry stapled with it photocopies of the front and back of the I-551 or the relevant passport pages."
FAQ Note: During early 1999, a number of newsgroupers began reporting they did NOT get the I-551 stamp in the passport after a succesful interview, because the CIA had not yet completed the background checks, apparently being severely backlogged. The delay in "final approval" was expected to be up to 6 months or so. As of November 24, 1999, new rules were in place which allowed applicants to be adjusted without the results of the CIA check, and letters were being sent to newsgroupers to come into their INS office to get the I-551 stamp. However, during 2001, reports were once again made that the CIA check was delaying final approval.
Final approval may also be delayed after the AOS interview for other reasons. If your fingerprint check is done the same day as the interview, or if you are required to submit a missing document, or vaccination supplement, there can be a delay. Some newsgroupers report that they subsequently receive a letter from the local office informing them the AOS has been approved, and that they may visit the local office to obtain the I-551 stamp in the passport, or that the letter itself is proof of approval.
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6.11.5)..(This item deleted. See Section 7.0)

6.11.6)..Can I travel abroad after becoming a permanent resident?
A..Sure, but if you need to be out of the United States for over 12 months, you must file form I-131 and obtain a "re-entry permit". As a *brand new* permanent resident, you should consider getting a re-entry permit if you expect to be out of the United States for 6 months or longer.
This complicated question does not have a perfect answer. Extended absence from the United States does not count towards the time required to become a naturalized citizen. The United States expects those who have been granted permanent resident status to actually be "residents".
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6.11.7)..(newsgroup)..OK, so my K-1 wife will file I485 for AOS.....Question is, what will her immigration status be from the date she files the AOS paperwork until the interview where she receives (conditional)green card?
A..(newsgroup)..She is official under a "period of stay authorized by the Attorney General". (FAQ Note: This is due to being an Adjustment Applicant who is awaiting a decision regarding an adjustment of status application)

6.11.8)..Can I go get a "normal" Social Security card after AOS?
A..If you have a Social Security Card with "valid only with INS authorization" on it, then go to the Social Security office after AOS with your passport or green card and get a new Social Security card that does not have the restriction. You will still have the same Social Security Number. Do this as soon as practical. It is in your best interest to inform the Social Security Administration of your immigration status after Adjustment of Status.
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6.12)...Taxes. How do we find out about taxes?
A..The Internal Revenue Service has several publications you can download or obtain from a local IRS office.

Altho it is not the intent of this FAQ to provide answers for tax questions, we can at least point you in the correct direction. The first tax return filed after marriage just may get you a significantly larger refund. You can check out the Internal Revenue Service site listed in the links and you can ask questions in the newsgroup.
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6.13)...What happens if we do not get married within the 90 day validity of the K1 visa?
A..In this case, you can no longer file for Adjustment of Status based on being a K1.You will have to submit an I-130 relative petition along with the I-485 and all the other paperwork to the local INS office. You may have to have another medical exam, and you will need to be prepared to answer questions about why you did not get married within 90 days. In effect, you will have become an out-of-status alien who is adjusting status based on marriage to a US Citizen.
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6.14)..(newsgroup)..Finally I received the green card. Unfortunately my first name is misspelled!
A..(newsgroup)...File a Form I-90. Note that the error was the INS's problem. You should be able to file this in person at your local/district INS office. They will not charge you the I-90 fee.
My wife's GC came through with our married name as her middle initial and her maiden name as her last name. This in spite of all records showing things properly with her maiden name as middle initial and our married name as her last name.
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Section 7.0...LIFTING OF CONDITIONAL STATUS


Introductory Note: As mentioned previously, if you have been married more than 2 years when your Adjustment application is approved (I-551 stamp in the passport), you probably will become a permanent resident with no conditional period. If so, the information in this section will not apply to you.

7.1)...Please explain "Conditional Permanent Residency"?
A..A two year Conditional Residency is granted to those who apply for Adjustment of Status based on marriage to a US Citizen. This two year period helps to deter visa fraud and marriages of convenience. During the "conditional" period, you still have all the rights of a Permanent Resident. Your status as a permanent resident expires at the end of this two year period unless you file for lifting of the conditional status.
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7.2)..When do I become a Permanent Resident (conditional status removed)?
A..You become a permanent resident (conditional status removed) after approval of the I-751 "Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence".
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7.3) ..Okay, when do I file the I-751 to lift conditional status?
A..When your passport is stamped with the I-551 at the adjustment of status interview, the stamp has the AOS approval date written on it. Your 2 year conditional period begins with that date.
Ninety (90) days prior to the end of the conditional period, you and your US Citizen spouse will apply together for a removal of the "conditional" status by filing form I-751 together as a married couple.
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7.4) ..How to we file for lifting of conditions for my K2 child?
A..If your K2 achieved permanent resident status at the same time as the K1, or within 90 days afterwards, then include them on the joint petition. If the K2 achieved permanent resident status more than 90 days after the K1, or if the parents are NOT filing a joint petition (due to termination of the marriage), the K2 will file their own I-751.
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7.5) ..Where should I send the application package?
A..You will send the application package to the INS Service Center in which district you are currently residing.
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7.6) ..Why is filing 90 days before the expiration of my 2 year green card so important?
A..You need to file the I-751 petition at the earliest possible opportunity, because when your two-year green card expires you no longer have status as a permanent resident, you are not authorized to work, and technically, you are deportable. You must allow yourself and the INS the maximum amount of time to get the petition approved.
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7.7) ..Is there another interview required to lift my conditional status?
A..It is not required to have another interview. If the INS is overwhelmed with evidence that your marriage is based on an honest relationship entered in good faith, and you are still married with all sorts of everyday evidence of your married relationship there will be no interview. This should not be a problem for any K1 couple because collecting evidence is something you are somewhat used to by now.
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7.8) ..What "evidence" should I submit in order to avoid an interview?
A..The list is endless, and you can send whatever evidence you want to overwhelm the INS in support of your petition. You are free to send in a ton of evidence.

Your list might include:


You should include a cover letter listing all the evidence so that the inspecting officer can quickly see what is in the package. This will help INS to determine if all the evidence which they require has been included without having to wade through many pages.
INS may ask for additional evidence after the petition has been filed, or they may schedule an interview for you some weeks or months into the future. Since your goal is to avoid an interview, gather as much information as you can and send it in. It is not required, for example, that both of you need to be listed on a mortgage statement or a car loan. There are probably a multitude of small things you can show instead.
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7.8.1) ..So what does INS want to see in the affidavit from people we know??
A..(newsgroup)..I did the I-751 in 1997, and it was approved without an interview. I asked the INS the very same question. I did exactly what they told me to do for the affidavits.

- Choose 2 friends who know you well *as a married couple*
- Have EACH friend write a letter
- Letter format:
   - Must include the person's name, date of birth, SSN, address, and phone.
   - Must be dated.
   - Must state how the person came to know you [and list each of you by name).
   - When and for how long they have known you.
   - Must state that they have seen you a certain amount of time ['frequently'
     works] since you have been married and that you appear to be a married
     couple.
   - Must be signed, but does not have to be notarized.

The above poster then described the format used for her letters:
David Smith
Address
City, State zip
(telephone number)

Date

To whom It may concern:

I am writing this letter to support the I-751 petition by Jane and
John Doe.  I have known Jane and John since (date), when we met while
John and I were co-workers.  I served as best man at their wedding.

Since their marriage, I have seen Jane and John together as a couple
many times and in a variety of situations, both at my house and
theirs, as well as in public. They appear to be a legitimately
married couple.

The most recent time that I saw them as a couple was at Jane's
surprise birthday party hosted by John.

If you have any questions, I may be reached at the phone number or the
address above.

sincerely,

David Smith
(social security number)
(date of birth)

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7.8.2) ..(newsgroup)..Does the INS do any background checks for conditional residents such as FBI and CIA checks?
A..(newsgroup)..There is no new check but you do have to answer questions about your criminal history since becoming a permanent resident (and obviously, if you lie, this is grounds for deportation either now or at a later date). If you later apply for naturalization there will be a further FBI check.
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7.9) ..How will I be notified by INS? What is my status before I get a new green card?
A..When the INS accepts your petition, they will send a filing receipt. Nigel reported (Feb 2000) this receipt was an I-797C Notice of Action which stated "Your alien card is extended one year - employment and travel authorized." Keep the receipt with your green card.
If a K2 is also listed on the petition, they will receive their own "duplicate notice" (which is a letter, not an actual I-797C) from INS which will state they have been included on the petition as a dependent, and that they also have work and travel authorization, and that the letter serves as proof.

When the petition is approved, you will get a letter from INS notifying you of the decision. Your new permanent status will be IF1, or "Immigrant Fiance(e) 1". If there is a K2 involved, they will get a separate letter from INS notifying them of their status, which will be a IF2, or "Immigrant Fiance(e) 2".

Nigel reported the text of this letter in a newsgroup posting (March 2000) as follows:

(...begin quote...)
                                        File Number: 
                                        Date of Decision: 03/08/2000

                                        New Classification
                                        Symbol: IF1

                                        Admission Date: 01/29/1988

Your request for the removal of the conditional basis of your permanent
resident status has been approved. You are deemed to be a lawful permanent
resident of the United States as of the date of your original admission or
adjustment of status.

You must obtain a new alien registration receipt card (Form I-551). To do
so, appear in person at the Service office show below. Bring two recent
photos of the same type as on your present alien card (if needed, exact
specifications may be obtained from the Service office shown below). Your
new alien registration receipt card will be mailed to you within six months.

You should not travel outside the United States before receiving your new
card unless you have first received a passport endorsement from this Service
indicating that your new card is being processed.

(...end quote...)

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7.9.1) ..So I have to go back to the local INS office even after I have received unconditional permanent resident status?
A..Yes. Your approval letter will have the address of your local office listed at the bottom. You won't need a scheduled appointment, but you will take your Approval Notice letter, your conditional greencard and your passport and go to the local office for two reasons.

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7.10) ..The green card is only good for 10 years!!
A..Altho your new permanent resident green card is good for 10 years, your permanent resident status does NOT expire after 10 years. You should apply for a replacement card, however, otherwise you won't have anything in your purse or wallet to prove your status regarding work authorization or reentering the US after travel abroad.
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7.11) ..My marriage fell apart and we are divorced. Can I still get the conditional status lifted?
A..The I-751 is normally filed by a married couple, but if you have divorced, or your US Citizen spouse has died, you may file the petition on your own. The I-751 form itself contains provisions for a waiver of the requirement to file jointly with the US Citizen spouse. You may file the I-751 immediately upon divorce or the death of your spouse, and you will be required to provide evidence that you married in good faith, rather than to just get a green card by marrying a US Citizen. You will be required to submit a copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.
The I-751 also makes provisions for a waiver for filing jointly with your spouse, if you are still married, but "battered or subject to extreme mental cruelty". If you are in this unfortunate situation, you need the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
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Section 8.0...NATURALIZATION (UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP)

8.1)...When can I apply for United States citizenship?
A...As a spouse of a US Citizen, you can apply for citizenship 3 (three) years after approval of your Adjustment of Status. Back at the AOS interview, your passport was stamped with the I-551 stamp and a date. The 3 year countdown begins with that date. This 3 year period does not include long absences from the United States.
If you came to the United States on a K2 visa, you can apply for citizenship 5 (five) years after approval of Adjustment of Status, as only spouses of US Citizens are eligible to apply for Naturalization after 3 years.
(FAQ note: A bit more info on the "long absences" stuff will be included when I can nail it down)
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8.2)...Am I obligated to apply for United States citizenship? If not, why should I?
A..You are not obliged to become a United States Citizen.
Probably the most logical reason to become a Citizen is to release your US Citizen spouse from the legal obligations of the I-864 affidavit. The financial responsibility of the I-864 is a liability to the US Citizen spouse which should be removed at the earliest opportunity.
As a United States Citizen, you can vote, be a juror in the criminal process, apply for employment in areas reserved for Citizens, and you cannot be deported. Retaining citizenship in your home country may involve continuing responsibilities regarding taxation or military service.
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8.3)...Special Note: Be sure to notify the Social Security Administration after Naturalization
Note...(newsgroup)...Go to your SSA office ater your Naturalization and show them your Natz Certificate so that the SSA computer system knows you are a citizen so that when other government agencies try to confirm your citizenship status with the SSA they can actually confirm it instead of saying you aren't one, thus resulting in your having to go through additional time and trouble in order to prove it to a whole bunch of different people/agencies.
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8.4)...Can I still apply for Naturalization even tho my I-751 has not yet been approved?
A..Some people will wait over a year for the I-751 approval, so yes, even tho the I-751 has not yet been approved, you can still apply for Naturalization. What happens is the I-751 is processed as part of the Naturalization process, since the I-751 must be approved in order for you to apply for Naturalization 3 years after AOS based on marriage to a US Citizen.
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8.5)...(newsgroup)..I was reading a page on the naturalization oath you have to take. I am an atheist and don't want to do the 'so help me God' part. Do I have to say that?
A..(INS Naturalization Guide)..If INS determines you are unable to use the words "so help me God" because of your religious training or beliefs, you may omit those words.
A..(newsgroup)..When I filed my Natz application, I included a letter that explained that I was agnostic and therefore could not, in good conscience, say "so help me God", and that I was therefore requesting an affirmation instead of an oath. When I went for my interview, the officer addressed this issue and said that it was *not a problem*. He affirmed that I COULD take the oath as long as I omitted the words "so help me God". He told me that when everyone else said those 4 words, that I should simply NOT say them. On the Natz oath form that you sign, he lined through those words.
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FAQ Note: We are currently gathering more info on Naturalization. We will include more on Naturalization experiences as more newsgroup members approach this stage, since the content of the FAQ is primarily derived from actual newsgroup experience. However, the INS publishes quite a lot about naturalization on their website, including a list of 100 typical test questions used for the written citizenship exam, and a comprehensive naturalization guide.


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Section 9.0...The K3/K4 Process General Outline

On December 21, 2000 the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) was signed into law. One of the provisions this legislation is the creation of K3 and K4 non-immigrant visas for spouses of US Citizens who are outside the US, and the children of those foreign spouses. These visas were created to allow reunification of families of US Citizens, by allowing the spouse and children to enter the United States as non-immigrants, and filing for Adjustment of Status inside the United States, rather than waiting for Consular immigrant visa processing. Provisions for processing for the K3/K4 became effective on August 14, 2001 after coordination required between INS and the State Department.
The best government sources for information about the K3/K4 are through the INS website, the Federal Register publication of August 14, 2001, and a FAQ written by the London Consulate.
Whereas the K1/K2 visa process is fairly straightforward, the K3/K4 is not as simple. It is important for the US Citizen to be informed and attentive to detail, because there are several opportunities to make mistakes and omissions which could result in unpleasant surprises. Immigrating to the United States via the K3/K4 is not such an automatic process as is experienced by the K1/K2.

Briefly, the process is as follows:


The K visa for spouses *may* provide a major benefit for older stepchildren. Until now, a US Citizen would file an I-130 for the foreign spouse, and separate I-130 petitions for each child or step-child. Stepchildren would only be eligible if the marriage took place before the stepchilds 18th birthday. The revised I-129F will automatically include all children under 21, with no separate petition required, removing a major disparity between current K1/K2 and spousal immigrant visa processes. However, altho a separate I-130 petition is not required for the children to obtain a K4 visa, an approved I-130 petition is required before they may be approved for Adjustment of Status to permanent resident. The I-130 petition still states the U.S. Citizen petitioner may not file for a stepchild, unless the marriage took place before the stepchilds 18th birthday. This detail must be addressed, in order to prevent an older stepchild from moving here on a K4 visa, yet being denied approval of the I-130 petition.

Altho the K3/K4 visa may allow the spouse and children into the US faster, they may now undergo the Adjustment process in the US, rather than entering the US with Permanent Resident status. This means filing for Adjustment of Status and work authorization, and paying the fees associated with these applications. It may mean problems with non-resident tuition fees at colleges, and other minor and major headaches experienced by current fiance(e) visa holders, including the sometimes nerve-racking experience of getting an older child adjusted to Permanent Resident status before turning 21.
The "basis" for Adjustment is the same as for current K1/K2 visa holders, who cannot change status to anything except Permanent Resident based on marriage to the original US petitioner. In other words, the spousal K visa holder will still need to be married to the US Citizen spouse (who filed the I-129F) at the time of the Adjustment interview.

The new K visa procedures allow the US Citizen and foreign spouse to bypass long I-130 petition approval times, and visa/affidavit of support processing steps at the National Visa Center, but will not decrease the time required to process and issue the new K3/K4 visa at the US Consulate.

As the implemention of these new visas processes progresses, there will be plenty of newsgroup discussion, and we shall begin filling out this section of the FAQ with specific information and experiences. Spousal K visa couples may anticipate needing an english translation of their marriage certificate, school records, medical histories, divorce and death certificates, and whatever common sense indicates they should bring with them to the US "just in case" these items may be required for any further immigration or Naturalization processes.
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Section 10.0...The I-130 Petition (for K3/K4)

10.1)...I am a Permanent Resident, not a US Citizen. Can I still use the K3/K4 process?
A..Unfortunately, no. However, provisions have been made for you if you and your family have been waiting for an immigrant visa to become available for over 3 years. You would use the "V" visa process, and you can find out about this from the INS website.
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10.2)...How do I prepare the I-130 package to start the process for a K3?
A..Your package must contain the I-130 and the appropriate documentation listed in the I-130 instructions. For question 21, write down that your spouse will apply for a K3 visa and apply for Adjustment of Status in the United States.
The documention required for the I-130 is nearly the same for the I-129F petition, so you might as well prepare both packages at one time, rather than experience surprise and aggravation several weeks later, when you realize you need MORE copies of the exact same stuff. Here is what you will need:


It would be advisable to include a cover letter explaining that the I-130 petition is being submitted with the intention of applying for a K3 visa.
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10.3)...When starting the K3/K4 process, must I submit an I-130 for our children when I submit the I-130 for my spouse?
A..It is not required to send an I-130 petition for the children when you first submit the I-130 for your spouse. However, it is highly advisable to do so, in order to avoid complications and delays during the Adjustment of Status process. The children will not be able to complete the Adjustment of Status without an I-130 petition being approved.
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10.4)...Where do I send the I-130 petition when used as part of the K3/K4 process?
A..The completed I-130 package is sent to the INS Service Center in which district the U.S. Citizen resides. Make a complete copy of the entire petition package, even retaining extra original photos. Go to the Post Office in person and send it "return receipt".
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10.5)...What notification will I receive from INS that my I-130 petition has been filed?
A..The Citizen will receive an I-797 "Notice of Action" from the INS. This can be up to a couple weeks after you mail it. The notice will say how long it usually takes to process the applications and give you a "receipt number" by which you can obtain "case status information" direct from the "automated system". The telephone number will be provided on the form.
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Section 11.0...The I-129F Petition (for K3/K4)


Note: You can also read Section 3.0, because Section 11.0 only concentrates on the "differences" for the I-129F when filed for the K3/K4, as opposed to the K1/K2.

11.1)...The I-129F is a Fiance(e) petition!!! Why is it used for my spouse and children?
A..The INS knows that the I-129F is normally used for the fiance(e) visa, however, rather than delaying implementation of the K3/K4 process by developing a new form, the INS decided to use the I-129F for the K3/K4 until some date in the future when a new form is developed.
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11.2)...How do I prepare the I-129F package for the K3/K4 and what documents do I need?
Your package must contain the following....
A..Nearly all the same stuff you sent for the I-130...plus a copy of the I-797 Notice of Action you received after filing the I-130. The things you do not need to submit are involve evidence of termination of previous marriages due to divorce or death, as mentioned in the instructions for the I-129F, section 5.
You need to begin preparing an I-134 Affidavit of Support. The I-134 Affidavit of Support will be filled out by the US Citizen and sent to the spouse for the K3 interview. It is not required to be sent to the Service Center with the I-129F. Some Consulates require extra information to be included with the Affidavit, some may not even require the Affidavit itself, but still require the supporting documentation, so you need to hang onto it until you have learned whether or not there are additional requirements. These will be listed on the OF-167 "financial support" document the spouse receives from the Consulate.
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11.3)...What must I do to fill out the I-129F correctly for my spouse?
A..The INS states merely to omit section (B)(18) and (B)(19) by entering N/A. Otherwise, wherever it says "fiance(e)" on the form, consider it to mean "spouse".
On question 20, you must indicate that your spouse will apply for the K3/K4 visa in the country in which you were married. If you were married in the United States, this answer should indicate the country where your spouse has residence. If the United States does not have a Consulate in the country where the marriage took place or where the spouse has residence, the INS will send the visa information to the Consulate that normally handles visa applications for that country. If you wish to apply for the K3/K4 visa at a U.S. Consulate other than in the country where you were married or where the spouse has residence, you must contact the Consulate and ask them if they will process the application for the K3/K4. There is no guarantee that the requested Consulate will agree to your request. The requirement for processing in the country of marriage or residence is written into the LIFE Act, and the processes for gaining exception to the requirements of the law must evolve over time.
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11.4)...Do I list our children on the I-129F petition as well?
A..All children under 21 should be listed on the I-129F petition, whether or not they are going to move to the United States. Whether your children actually require a K4 to move to the United States depends on certain factors. If you have unmarried children under 21 that have no claim to U.S. Citizenship, they can apply for the K4 visa. This will usually mean those children who are the U.S. Citizens step-children, or children born into the marriage prior to the U.S. Citizen becoming naturalized as a U.S. Citizen.
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11.5)...Where do I send the I-129F petition when used for the K3/K4?
A..INS instructions state applications for K-3/K-4 status should be sent to the following address: Immigration and Naturalization Service, P.O. Box 7218, Chicago, IL 60680-7218. This is a Service Center partially dedicated to the processing of I-129F petitions used for the K3/K4 visa.
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11.6)...What notification will I receive from INS that my I-129F petition has been filed, and then approved?
A..The Citizen will receive an initial I-797 "Notice of Action" from the INS, and again, this can be several weeks after you mail it. The notice will say how long it usually takes to process the applications and give you a "receipt number" by which you can obtain "case status information" direct from the "automated system". The telephone number will be provided on the form. The actual approval notice itself will be yet another I-797, which will list the name of the beneficiary (the spouse), but not the children, even tho they were included on the I-129F petition.
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Section 12.0...The K3/K4 Application (at the Consulate)


Note: You can also read Section 4.0, because Section 12.0 only concentrates on the "differences" between visa application processes when filed for the K3/K4, as opposed to the K1/K2.

12.1)...How will the Consulate be notified of my approved I-129F Petition for the K3/K4?
A..This will be the same procedure as is in place for the various Consulates already. Some will get the information via "diplomatic pouch" and others in more modern ways.
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12.2)...What kind of paperwork will the Consulate send to my spouse?
A...Exactly what gets sent will vary depending on the Consulate, but will be the same as what K1/K2 applicants get. The first packet to arrive will most likely contain the following:

The Consulate may forget to send extra copies of these application forms for the children for whom a K4 visa is intended. If so, contact the Consulate to obtain the forms.
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Section 13.0...Entering the United States with the K3/K4 Visa


Note: You should also read Section 5.0, because Section 13.0 only concentrates on the "differences" the K4/K4 and the K1/K2.
The actual entry procedures will be nearly identical for the K3/K4 as with a K1/K2. Like the K1/K2, you will be entering the U.S. on a visa, and you need to fill out the "white" form, with the I-94 arrival-departure card attached. You will need to make sure you have plenty of time if you making a connecting flight.
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13.1)...I am coming in on a K3. What happens when we get off the plane?
A..You will queue up with all the others going thru Immigration. You might be directed to a waiting area until the other passengers are gone. Your sealed envelope will be opened, your passport will be stamped, you will have the I-94 arrival-departure card put in it. The officer may ask a few questions, and may say "Welcome to the United States". You leave the Immigration area, you will go to the baggage area to get your stuff, and then proceed thru Customs.
Altho your actual processing may not take long, if you must make a connecting flight then you better allow plenty of time, maybe as long as 3 or 4 hours at a major airport where the queues may be long, and the distance between terminals even longer.

If you are flying in from Canada, the Immigration/Customs procedure will occur before you get on the plane in Canada. If you are driving into the United States, the procedure will occur at the border crossing.
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13.2)...How long is my K3/K4 status good for?
A..Your status as a K3 is good for two years after entry into the United States. Your status will end sooner if your marriage ends, or if you are adjusted to Permanent Resident. A K4 status is good for two years, unless they turn 21, get married, or when their K3 parent becomes adjusted to Permanent Resident.
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13.3)...Do I have work authorization based on my K3 status, before applying for Adjustment of Status?
A..Yes. A K3/K4 is authorized to work based on their status, same as a K1/K2. There is a difference in actually *obtaining* the work authorization document, based on being a K3/K4. The only specific method outlined by INS thus far is to fill out the I-765 request for work authorization application and send it, with the fee, to the Chicago address used for the K3/K4 I-129F petition. The basis for eligibility will be your status as a K3/K4. Until the I-765 form is revised to include an eligibilty category for K3/K4, send a cover letter along with the I-765 explaining this. You will need to submit photographs and a fingerprint card as part of the I-765 application, and you will need to wait until the EAD arrives in the mail before legally obtaining employment. And you will also need a Social Security number.
This procedure is completely different than the methods a K1/K2 uses to obtain their initial 90 day EAD based on K1/K2 status, usually involving a visit to a local INS office, where they may obtain their 90 day EAD immediately, usually free of charge.
You only other option for getting an EAD is by applying for work authorization when applying for Adjustment of Status. Many local offices will allow filing the AOS package in person, and an EAD can be issued the same day.
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13.4)...How do I apply for a Social Security Number based on the K3/K4 status?
A..It is very possible that the Social Security Administration will amend their procedures and allow a K3 to obtain a SSN by simply showing proof of their status as a K3, similar to what the SSA does for the K1. Until the SSA indicates by word or action that this is what they will do, the K3/K4 will need to obtain an EAD prior to obtaining a SSN. The Social Security card will state "valid for employment only with INS authorization".
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13.5)...My child did not move with me to the United States, but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F petition. Can he still get a K4 visa?
A..There is nothing in the information thus far provided by INS or the State Department regarding this. It seems logical that a young person may apply for the K4 visa up till one year after the K3 is admitted to the US, same as the K1/K2. However, logic may not prevail in the face of real life. Once the K3 has adjusted to Permanent Resident, they no longer have K3 status, and since the K4 is a "derivative beneficiary" of the K3, the young person would no longer be eligible for a K4 visa. Since AOS can happen very quickly at some local offices, one should assume at this time that no opportunity will be available to apply for a K4 visa after the issuance of the K3. Those K3 folks with potentially eligible children "remaining behind" may want to carefully consider the timing of their AOS application.
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13.6)...I just arrived in the United States as a K3, but if I have an emergency and need to return to my home country, can I return to the United States with no problems using my K3 visa?
A..Yes. A K3/K4 is a multiple entry visa, and you may leave the United States and return using the same visa, even if you have applied for Adjustment of Status. Unlike a K1/K2, the K3/K4 does not need to obtain an "advance parole" document to reenter the United States, and applying for Adjustment of Status does not terminate the K3/K4 status.
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Section 14.0...Adjustment of Status from K3/K4


Note: You can also read Section 6.0, because Section 14.0 only contains specific K3/K4 information, whereas Section 6.0 has much more in the way of general AOS info as well.

14.1)...How soon after we arrive in the U.S. should we apply for Adjustment of Status?
A..For most people, this will be "as soon as possible". The INS has made an assumption that nearly all K3/K4 folks will want to apply for AOS, even tho a few will still choose to apply for an immigrant visa at a Consulate outside the United States.
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14.2)...Since my K3 status is good for two years, why am I obligated to apply for Adjustment of Status as soon as possible?
A..The INS is looking for a good faith effort on the part of the K3 to obtain residency in the United States. After all, the K3/K4 visas were created in order to allow families to be united. If the K3 makes no effort to obtain residency, the INS is going to assume the K3 has no genuine interest in being united as a family.
The INS has put a two big roadblocks in the way of a spouse who enters the United States on a K3 visa, but who makes no attempt to apply for permanent residency. The INS will deny renewal of work authorizations, and they will deny applications to extend status of the K3/K4.
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14.3)..When we file for adjustment of status, what do we need to do about the child's K4 status? Are we required to file the adjustment for the K4 and pay the fees for each application?
A..Yes, you are. The AOS packages may be submitted together, but they each must contain their own sets of documentation, including a notarized I-864. If the K4 has never had an I-130 filed on their behalf, this must be done now, submitted along with the AOS package.
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14.4)...How do I file for Adjustment of Status from a K3 and what forms do I need?
A..The process is similar to adjusting status from other types of visas. The best way to obtain the forms is to order them from INS or obtaining them from your local office, but you can also download from the INS website. Here is basically what you will need:


If you have not applied for work authorization until this point, you can also submit the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. You will apply as category (c)(9), "adjustment applicant".
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14.5)...Will I need to apply for Advance Parole in order to leave and then reenter the United States?
A..Not as a K3/K4. You will need Advance Parole to reenter the United States at any time after your status as K3/K4 has ended, but before obtaining Permanent Residency.
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14.6)...Does the K3 status change after applying for Adjustment of Status?
A...The K3/K4 status does not change *because* an AOS application has been filed. The K3/K4 status expires on its own, generally after two years. However, after the K3/K4 status has expired, but prior to gaining approval for permanent residency, the status will be a "period of stay authorized by the Attorney General", based on being an Adjustment Applicant who is awaiting a decision regarding an adjustment of status application.
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14.7)...What if my EAD expires before my application for Adjustment of Status is approved?
A..Apply for a new EAD, thru the local office where your AOS was filed. Make sure you apply well in advance, since processing may take several weeks or months.
If you have never applied for Adjustment of Status, then you will be required to show that your initial I-130 petition is still awaiting approval, or, if the I-130 was approved, that you have applied for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate.
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14.8)...My status as K3 is about to expire, and I am still waiting approval of AOS. Is there anything I can do to keep my status?
A..Yes, you can apply for an extension of status with the INS. This will enable you to leave the United States and return without needing Advance Parole. It is probably a good idea to extend the K3/K4 status if you plan on being outside the country.
As with renewal of EADs, you status as K3/K4 will not be approved if you have never applied for Adjustment of Status, unless you show that your initial I-130 petition is still awaiting approval, or, if the I-130 was approved, that you have applied for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate.
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14.9)...What is the status of a K3 after approval of Adjustment of Status?
A...If Adjustment of Status is approved after the marriage is two years old, then the K3 (and K4) will become Permanent Residents. If the marriage is less than two years old when AOS approval is obtained, the K3/K4 will be Conditional Permanent Residents. For more information on Conditional Permanent Residence, and the subsequent application for Lifting of Conditions on Conditional Status, see Section 7.0.
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Section 20.0...RELATED ISSUES

20.1)..My foreign spouse passed away before applying for Naturalization. Is there anything that I, as a US Citizen, need to do?
A..The most important thing to remember is that your deceased spouse (or K2 child) is still a Citizen of another country, and that country still has an interest in them. You will need to notify that country's Consulate in the United States of the death.
A..(experience)..When our K2 son passed away in October 2000, my wife emailed the Swedish Consulate in Washington DC, who replied that we should send them a certified copy of the death certificate. The certificate was returned with a letter of acknowlegement within a couple weeks.
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20.2)..What about INS? Do I need to notify INS about the death of my foreign spouse or child?
A..You do not NEED to notify INS. There may be considerations however, because a persons "legal status" may still be important even after that person has died.
A..(experience)..Our K2 son passed away shortly before we were to submit the I-751 for lifting of conditional status. We submitted the I-751, listed his name where it would normally go, but wrote "(deceased)" next to it. We enclosed a copy of the death certificate and explained the situation in our cover letter. He was still processed normally, and his legal status was extended.
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APPENDIX - Forms and Terminology


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