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K-1 Visas For Thai And Khmer Fiancees And Issues Associated With Advance Parole

The author's purpose in writing this article is to provide insight to those seeking information regarding K-1 fiance visas and the ancillary issues of advance parole and employment authorization.

In some cases, those who enter the United States of America in K-1 visa status wish to undertake employment prior to having their status officially adjusted to lawful permanent residence ("Green Card" status). For those in this position the issue of employment authorization is pertinent. It could be possible to petition for an employment authorization document (EAD) prior to acquiring one's permanent resident card (a permanent resident is allowed to undertake employment without the need for specific authorization). Some are under the mistaken impression that those entering the USA in K-1 visa status are permitted to undertake employment. This is simply not true as such individuals must receive employment authorization prior to taking up employment.

Another issue that is connected to the issue of employment authorization is advance parole. Advance parole is permission for a non-immigrant to leave the United States and return without falling out of status. This issue is especially relevant in the context of the K-1 visa as those entering the United States in K-1 visa status cannot leave the United States without first adjusting status, lest they fall completely out of lawful status. K1 visa holders who fall out of lawful status need to either apply for an immigrant visa (usually categorized as either an IR1 visa or a CR1 visa, depending upon the situation) pursuant to marriage or must apply for a second K1 fiance visa (which could prove difficult under some circumstances particularly in light of the language of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, IMBRA).

At one time, an employment authorization document and an advance parole travel document were two separate instruments. Recently, it came to this author's attention that both of these documents have been combined into one sort of "all-purpose" advance parole/employment authorization document. It should be noted that the need for such instruments can be mitigated if a couple opts to marry and apply for an immigrant spouse visa rather than a fiance visa. However, it should be noted that immigration decisions must be made pursuant to the unique facts in a given couple's case.

Due to the complexity inherent in the United States visa process some couples opt to retain the services of a professional to provide assistance. It ought to be noted that it is generally wise to ascertain the credentials of anyone claiming qualification in United States immigration matters as only a licensed American attorney is permitted to engage in the practice of U.S. immigration law.

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