Is it possible to work outside of the US on a K1 fiance Visa until you are allowed to work (receive I-765) in the United States? Or do I have to stay in the United states for that time?


There are two issues here:

  • K-1 is a single-entry visa, so you will not have a valid U.S. visa after entering. So if you leave the U.S. you will need a new visa (paying the fee again) to enter. (Plus, if you're married at that point, you won't qualify for a K-1 visa, so the only way to immigrate would be through Consular Processing abroad.) The only exception is travel of less than 30 days to Canada or Mexico within the 90-day I-94 validity period, after which you can re-enter the U.S. with automatic revalidation.

  • If you leave the U.S. while Adjustment of Status (I-485) is pending, you will automatically abandon the Adjustment of Status (which would be a huge waste of money and effort) unless you have H, L, or K-3/K-4 status (which you don't), or you have Advance Parole. From your description ("waiting for green card"), it seems like you have already applied for Adjustment of Status. You can apply for Advance Parole at the same time as applying for Adjustment of Status, and if you also applied for an EAD (I-765) based on AOS, then the EAD and AP (I-131) will usually come together on the same card. They are both free, and they both take almost 90 days to get. After you have Advance Parole, you are free to travel out of the U.S. while waiting for the Adjustment of Status to finish. (However, by that time you will also have an EAD, which will obviate your reason for wanting to leave the U.S. in the first place.)

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From the USCIS:

After admission, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for permission to work by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Any work authorization based on a nonimmigrant fiancé (e) visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry. However, your fiancé (e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. In this case, your fiancé(e) would file Form I-765 together with Form I-485 as soon as you marry.

Based on that you should be able to obtain employment authorization as soon as you enter the country and continue it until you receive the Green Card.

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  • I heard to receive the employment authorization (I-765) takes about three month. So my question is do I have to stay in the country till I receive that? expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/1232/… – Benedikt Jan 7 '15 at 20:09
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    From personal experience I-765 didn't take 90 days to get. Also you will need Advance Parole anyway to leave and re-enter: lawandborder.com/… – Karlson Jan 7 '15 at 21:27
  • So I guess the correct answer to my question would be: "A K-1 visa is valid for a single entry. No international travel is possible until the foreign spouse files a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, along with an application for advance parole. Advance parole is typically issued within 90 days of filing, although expedited processing is sometimes granted. Only then may the foreign spouse depart the U.S." So until I apply for the adjustment of status which happens after marriage I can not leave the country. But after that I could work in another country? – Benedikt Jan 7 '15 at 21:44
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    EAD takes around 75-90 days to get. Getting an EAD based on K-1 is a huge waste of money because it takes almost 90 days to get, and it will only be valid until the end of K-1 status, which is 90 days after entry. So, at best, you will just get a few days of work authorization on it, and, at worst, you won't be able to use it at all. On the other hand, the EAD for an I-485 applicant is free and can be extended indefinitely (as long as I-485 is pending). – user102008 Jan 8 '15 at 0:14

No you can not. This is because AFTER arrival on a k-1 visa you may not depart the USA until AFTER either your green card is approved and issued, or until you are granted Advance Parole. Advance Parole provides you with specific permission to exit/enter while the green card is in process. When applying for Advance Parole, you ALSO have the option to apply for Employment Authorization. Employment Authorization allows you to work while the green card is in process. Both employment authorization and advance parole are granted the SAME time. In fact a single card is issued for both. This means the EARLIEST date you are allowed to leave (advance parole) is ALSO the earliest date you are eligible to work,

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