Integrity Legal

22nd October 2009

There is something of an “alphabet soup,” when it comes to discussing United States Immigration. There are many agencies under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the most important from an Immigration standpoint are: the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Meanwhile, the United States Department of State (DOS) has jurisdiction over the National Visa Center (NVC) as well as United States Embassies and Consulates outside of the USA. This mix of acronyms alone can cause a sane man to go crazy, add on top of this the fact that sometimes different phases of the Immigration process have the SAME acronym and one is left very befuddled.

For example, the process of converting a K1 visa to permanent residence (Green Card) is called Adjustment of Status. when a Thai fiancee travels to the United States on a K1 visa she has 90 days to execute a legal marriage and submit an application to regularize her status. As stated previously, this is commonly referred to as adjustment of status.  It is possible to adjust other non-immigrant visas, such as J1 visas, F1 visas, or B2 visas, but it can be more difficult and one should not travel to the US using one of these visas with the intent to adjust as these categories do not allow for dual intent. One should not confuse the adjustment of status process with the change of status process, which is the process of converting a visa from one non-immigrant visa category to another.

Another “AOS” commonly used in United States Immigration vernacular is the Affidavit of Support. The affidavit of support is the document showing that a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can financially maintain a foreign fiancee or spouse in the United States. The worry of government officials is that the foreign loved one may become a “public charge,” the affidvait of support is used to illustrate that this will not be an issue. An affidavit of support is signed by a K1 visa petitioner and submitted at the visa interview at the United States Embassy. At the time of the adjustment of status a different affidavit of support is submitted. K1 visa applications also utilize a different affidavit of support compared to visa petitions for a foreign spouse (K3 visa, Cr1 visa, Ir1 visa).


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