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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Shaffer, Esq.

Navigating the Marriage-Based Green Card Adjustment of Status Process (2023)

The journey towards obtaining a green card through marriage can be both exciting and complex. The adjustment of status (AOS) process allows foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for permanent residency within the United States. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the marriage-based green card AOS process successfully.

Picture of 4 bridesmaids bouquets lined up on a window sill.

Step 1: Understand Eligibility Requirements:

Before embarking on the AOS process, it is crucial to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. You must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and have entered the marriage in good faith, with a genuine intention to build a life together. Additionally, you must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing the application. Please note: at the time of writing, spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) may have difficulty applying for adjustment of status because of recent retrogression in the F2A category. Consult an attorney before submitting any applications in this category.

Step 2: Prepare and File the I-130 Petition and AOS Application Package

The first step in the AOS process is to file Form I-130 along with Form I-485 and all supporting forms and evidence. The I-130 establishes the relationship between you and your spouse and serves as evidence of your eligibility for a green card based on marriage. Along with the form, you will need to submit supporting documents, such as a marriage certificate, evidence of joint finances, proof of shared assets or property, photos of you and your spouse together, the I-130a, and other proof of the bona fides of your marriage. You can also proceed with the AOS application by filing Form I-485 simultaneously with the I-130. This form is used to request a green card and should be accompanied by various supporting documents, including but not limited to:

  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record;

  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, demonstrating that your spouse meets the income requirements to support you financially, along with all required evidence;

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (optional but recommended), along with all required evidence;

  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (optional but recommended), along with all required evidence;

  • Supporting evidence required to accompany Form I-485

Review the instructions for the I-485 here to be sure no supporting evidence is missed.

Step 3: Attend the Biometrics Appointment:

After filing the AOS application, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. At this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be collected for background checks and identification purposes.

Step 4: Attend the Green Card Interview:

Following the biometrics appointment, you and your spouse will be required to attend an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. The purpose of this interview is to evaluate the bona fides of your marriage and determine if you meet the requirements for a green card. It is crucial to be well-prepared for the interview by reviewing your application and supporting documents. USCIS has recently started to waive many of these interview, so it is possible that your case will be approved without an interview, especially if the initial application is strong.

Step 5: Receive the Green Card:

If your application is approved, you will receive your green card in the mail. The green card grants you lawful permanent residency in the United States, allowing you to live and work in the country indefinitely. It is essential to review the green card carefully for any errors and to ensure that the information is accurate.

Obtaining a green card through marriage can be a life-changing event. The marriage-based green card AOS process involves several steps and requires attention to detail and thorough preparation. By understanding the eligibility requirements, filing the necessary forms, gathering supporting documents, and attending interviews, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Remember, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and address any specific concerns or questions you may have. Good luck on your journey to obtaining permanent residency in the United States!

Applying for a marriage-based green card can be a lengthy and complicated process, whether accomplished through adjustment of status or consular processing, but it can be a great opportunity for non-US citizens to establish a permanent life in the US with their spouse. If you are interested in learning more about the process, discussing your eligibility, or are ready to get started, contact us.

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Disclaimer: This post is attorney advertising. It is meant as general information only, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. We suggest you set up a consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes; every case is unique and must be analyzed individually.

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