New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Adjustment Of Status Process: Green Card Based On Marriage

Author: Marriage Visa Attorney Alena Shautsova

The process of adjustment of status based on marriage starts with the marriage itself. A couple can file their immigration forms the next day following their wedding: the law does not require that the couple waits any specific time to submit their applications.

First, both spouses have to collect all necessary documents: marriage certificate; birth certificates; if there were prior marriages, there have to be submitted certificates for divorce for each prior marriage; in addition, the couple has to present proof of a bona fide marriage: statements of joint bank accounts; copies of utility bills; photos with friends and family members; other documents that show that both spouses share residence, comingle funds, travel together, etc.; passport style photos.

Second step would be to fill out all the forms. The forms come with instructions and call for a lot of specific information. One of the requirements of adjustment of status, is for the non-citizen not become a public charge. That is why in case of adjustment of status based on marriage, a non-citizen has to present an affidavit of support from a person who will be providing for the non-citizen.

At some point, the non-citizen has to complete medical exam. Please note that USCIS does not longer require the submission of the medical report together with the application. The change came from the updated rules that state that the results of the medical exam will be valid only for one year. Only when the whole package is ready, including all the required documents, copies of the tax returns; photos, and necessary filing fees, the application is ready to be mailed out. (For more information on the forms please see here)

After the forms are submitted, USCIS will issue acceptance receipts. It is also possible to receive an email or text message notification of the forms’ acceptance. Within 45-60 days, the non-citizen should receive an employment authorization. Following the submission, the non-citizen will be called for a fingerprint appointment.

The next and final step would be to pass the immigration interview. Currently, it is scheduled within 4-6 months from the submission of the complete package. If everything goes well at the interview, the non-citizen’s passport shall be stamped with the I-551 stamp allowing the non-citizen to travel. Usually, in two weeks, the non-citizen receives his/her permanent resident card by mail.

If at the time of the adjudication of the adjustment of status application, the marriage to the US citizen was younger than 2 years old, the non-citizen will receive conditional permanent residency. The non-citizen will have to file another application to remove condition. It has to be done within 90 days prior to the second anniversary of the conditional permanent residency.

04 June 2014
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