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What is the Process Like to Obtain a Family or Marriage Green Card / Residency?

There are three different procedures depending upon the status of the petitioner, their relationship with the beneficiary and individual circumstances of the applicants. Navigating through each stage in the process can be easier with the guidance of an experienced marriage green card lawyer or family immigration lawyer.

I-130 & I-485 Concurrent Filing Process

For immediate relative of U.S. citizens, defined by immigration as: the spouse of U.S. citizen, parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 years of age, son or daughter of a U.S. citizen who is under 21 and unmarried.

Stage One:

Prepare and file the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the appropriate U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services office

  1. Form G-28
  2. Form I-130
  3. Form I-130 A
  4. Form I-131
  5. Form I-485
  6. Form I-485 A (only if beneficiary requires benefits under the former 245(i) law)
  7. Form I-864 (petitioner)
  8. Form I-864 (additional/ joint sponsor if petitioner’s income doesn’t qualify). This should be accompanied with evidence of citizenship or legal permanent residency of joint sponsor.
  9. Form I-765
  10. Form I-693 (medical examination by a USCIS approved doctor)

Stage Two:

  • Appear at the U.S. Immigration Service support center for fingerprints on date scheduled by the U.S. Immigration and Citizens Services
  • Prepare for the U.S. Immigration Service interview if one is required and prepare documents in support of the petition to the U.S. Immigration Service
  • Appear at the U.S. Immigration Service office for an interview and obtain legal permanent residence (spouses of U.S. Citizens get a conditional legal permanent residence if marriage is less than 2 years on date of green card approval)

I-130 with separate and subsequent I-485 Filing Process

Stage One: I-130 Petition

  • Prepare and file the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the regional USCIS Service center
    1. Form G-28 (if applicable)
    2. Form I-130
    3. Form I-130 A
    4. Supporting documents
  • Obtain approved I-130 petition

Stage Two: I-485 if beneficiary is lawfully in the U.S. and eligible for “adjustment of status”

  • Wait for green card availability (according to priorities specified in eligibility section)
  • When a visa is available prepare and  file I-485 (adjustment of status) petition with the appropriate U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services office
    1. Form G-28
    2. Form I-485
    3. Form I-485 A (application pursuant to 245 (i) law)
    4. Form I-864 (petitioner)
    5. Form I-864 (additional joint/ sponsor if petitioner’s income does not qualify). This should be accompanied with evidence of citizenship or legal permanent residency of joint sponsor.
    6. Form I-765 (work authorization)
    7. Form I-131 (Advanced parole or travel/ re-entry authorization)
    8. Form I-693 (a medical examination by a U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services approved doctor)
  • Appear at the U.S. Immigration Service support center for fingerprints on date scheduled by the U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services
  • Prepare for the U.S. Immigration Service interview if one is required and submit documents in support of the petition to the U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services
  • Appear at the U.S. Immigration Service office for an interview and obtain legal permanent residence (spouses of U.S. Citizens get a conditional legal permanent residence if marriage is less than 2 years on date of interview)

Consular processing

Stage One: I-130 Petition

  • Prepare and file the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the regional USCIS Service center
    1. Form G-28 (if applicable)
    2. Form I-130
    3. Form I-130 A
    4. Supporting documents
  • Obtain approved I-130 petition

Stage Two: Consular Processing if beneficiary is outside of the U.S. or he/sge is not eligible for “adjustment of status”

  • Receive Notice from the National Visa Center (NVC) with the invoice for the filing fees.
  • Prepare  and file the G-28, I-864 and DS-260 Forms with the supporting documents
  • Appear at the U.S. Consulate for the interview
  • Enter the U.S.: Legal Permanent Status (Green Card) will be issued upon entrance to the United States.

For conditional residency only:

  • If granted conditional permanent residency, the alien must submit an additional petition to the U.S. Immigration Service 90 days prior to the expiration of the conditional residency. Failure to remove conditions of a conditional U.S. residency may result in termination of your residency and removal from the U.S. (Note: a 10 years Green Card may still obtained even if the marital relationship has ended, with an I-751 self -petition)
  • Please remember to contact us 6 months before the expiration of your conditional residency in order to have enough time to gather all the documentation required to prepare the removal of conditions petition (I-751)
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