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Can a K-1 visa holder work in the U.S.?

Various family immigration issues can come up for an American citizen. For example, when they are engaged to someone from another country, they may desire to bring their fiancé(e) into the U.S. to get married. 

Fiancé(e)s are one of the classes of family members that U.S. citizens can petition for a visa for. The standard visa for fiancé(e)s is the K-1 visa. This visa allows a fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen.

This visa grants its holder 90 days of entry into the United States. A K-1 visa cannot be extended beyond this 90-day mark. However, once the fiancé(e) has married the U.S. citizen, they can pursue a U.S. green card. When they do this, the now-spouse of the U.S. citizen can be eligible to stay in the country while the green card application is being considered. 

There are many questions a U.S. citizen may have in relation to pursuing a K-1 visa for their fiancé(e). One is: Would my soon-to-be spouse be able to work in the U.S. when they are in the country on such a visa?

A K-1 visa does not automatically give its holder permission to work in America. However, after being admitted to the U.S., a K-1 visa holder can apply for such work authorization. This authorization would go for 90 days following entry, if granted. It could be extended though if the fiancé(e) pursues a U.S. green card after marrying the U.S. citizen. 

How the various unique immigration issues related to efforts by a U.S. citizen to bring a foreign fiancé(e) into the U.S. for their wedding, including work authorization issues, are handled can have major impacts on both the U.S. citizen and their fiancé(e). There can be various complex aspects to these issues, so having the right information when dealing with them can be critical. Skilled immigration lawyers can provide U.S. citizens with information and guidance on pursuing a K-1 visa for a fiancé(e) and related issues.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Fiancé(e) Visas,” Accessed Feb. 13, 2017

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