At the request of our readers, we are providing more information about the above referenced process. Although it may seem to be simple, we suggest you consult a qualified immigration attorney before filing the application to become a permanent resident based on marriage to a US Citizen.
1. U.S. Citizen Petitioner Completes and Signs the Following USCIS Forms:
Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative
Form G-325A – Biographic Information
Form I-864 – Affidavit of Support
• Always check USCIS website at www.uscis.gov for the most recent version of the forms or check with our website for the most recent news and updates.
2. Alien Spouse Completes and Signs the Following USCIS Forms:
Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization
Form G-325A – Biographic Information
Form I-131 – Application for Travel Document – Optional
Form I-693 – Medical Examinations of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status
• If the Alien beneficiary overstayed their visas, form I131 can not be used and the Alien must not leave the country until the adjustment of status process is complete.
• Medical examinations can be performed only by approved USCIS doctors, please check our website for a national link to approved USCIS doctors.
3. Gather the documents following the provided checklist
4. Make money orders payable to “Department of Homeland Security” or USCIS.
• You can make one money order for the entire amount. For example a complete case will be $1365.
5. Make a complete photocopy of every form and document that you send to the USCIS for your own records. Do not send original documents to the USCIS (e.g. your passport, I-94, marriage certificate, etc.).
6. Mail or Overnight the package certified return receipt via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, etc. For Mail, send the complete application to:
USCIS Lockbox Addresses:
For United States Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:
P.O. Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120
For private couriers (non-USPS) deliveries:
131 South Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
1. The USCIS will contact you within 2 weeks and will mail you all the case receipts. At that point your status will change and you will be considered adjusting your status to that of a US resident.
2. Next step is your finger prints appointment.
3. You should be getting the work permit in 90 days or so. If the card is not delivered, you can make an inquiry with the local office via infopass appointment.
Advance parole applications or travel permit should be processed in 90 days as well. This will give you permission to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad.
4. Next step is your Marriage visa interview, they usually notify the applicants 4 weeks to 3 months in the future.
At the interview, you are to present the forms and documents the USCIS has requested, if any. They will ask you some basic questions (see our interview questions section) and upon approval place the alien spouse in Conditional Permanent Residence Status. The alien spouse will remain in this conditional status for 2 years. Within 90 days of the end of the 2-year period, you may file to have the conditional status removed, provided you are still married. File USCIS Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence. When this is approved (6-12 months) you will be a Permanent Resident of the United States.
• Make sure to bring duplicate copies of all important documents, such as tax returns, joint bills, bank accounts, etc. Sometimes the officer would like to keep extra copies.
• If the US citizen sponsor’s income fell below the required guidelines be prepared to provide co sponsor affidavit of support
• In case the officer decides to separate the couple, stay calm and do not argue woth the official
• Come prepared and organized, dress professionally.
CHECK LIST—MARRIAGE BASED GREEN CARD INTERVIEW
Petitioner’s financial information for Affidavit(s) of Support (See attached.)
Tax returns—last year (individual and joint returns for both spouses)
Certified copy of birth certificate with translation of beneficiary
Certified copy of marriage certificate with translation
Certified copy of divorce orders or death certificates—re prior marriages of either spouse
Original petitioner’s naturalization certificate, U.S. passport or certified copy of birth certificate of petitioner if born in the U.S.A.
Wedding pictures, photos of the couple with family/friends, family photos (please label as to date, location and names of individuals in the photographs)
Bank accounts, property registered in both names
Insurance policies (medical, life, auto, etc.) with both names
Letters from family regarding knowledge of marriage (include envelopes)
Lease or mortgage showing joint signatures/tenants
Receipts for items purchased together (e.g., furniture)
Affidavits from friends, relatives, business people with knowledge of bona fides of marriage
___ Certified copies of children’s birth certificates if born in the U.S.; also required if a minor child will also be immigrating through the petitioner.
Cards (holiday, birthday, misc.)
Medical Examination*—applicant only (form and list of doctors attached)
Photographs—both spouses (instructions attached)
Applicant entry documents (passport, I-94, I-20s, DS-2019, etc.)
Miscellaneous: anything else regarding bona fide marriage
• You will be asked about your vaccination history. If available, bring immunization records to your appointment.
The applicant for a visa based upon a marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident has the burden of proving the bona fides (good faith) of the marriage. Although not every item above is required, the more you have, the better, since the philosophy or practice of the USCIS is that couples are presumed to engage in marriage fraud until proven otherwise where the marriage is less than two years old.
The adjustment of status interview is much like a job interview. You should dress well, be prepared, and give the interviewer the impression that YOU are the right person for the visa.
Understand the visa process and the purpose of the interview. Remember the interviewing tips from our guide.