How can I apply for permanent residency as a spouse of a green card holder living in the U.S.?
As the spouse of a green card holder living in the U.S., you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency (green card) through a process known as “adjustment of status.” This process allows certain eligible individuals who are already in the U.S. to apply for a green card without leaving the country. Here’s an overview of the steps to apply for permanent residency as a spouse of a green card holder:
- Check Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for adjustment of status. Generally, to be eligible, you must be the spouse of a green card holder, be physically present in the U.S., and entered the U.S. legally (with inspection) or qualify for a limited set of exceptions to the inspection requirement.
- Form I-130 Petition: Your green card holder spouse must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the qualifying relationship between you and your spouse.
- Wait for Priority Date: As the spouse of a green card holder, you will need to wait for a visa number to become available before you can proceed with the adjustment of status process. The availability of visa numbers depends on your country of birth and the visa bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State each month.
- File Form I-485: Once a visa number is available, you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is used to apply for your green card and includes biographical and background information.
- Biometrics Appointment: USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for you to have your fingerprints, photograph, and signature taken.
- Adjustment of Status Interview: USCIS will schedule an interview to review your application and determine your eligibility for permanent residency. At the interview, you will be asked questions about your relationship with your green card holder spouse and other relevant matters.
- Receive Green Card: If your adjustment of status application is approved, you will receive your green card in the mail, granting you lawful permanent residency.
It’s essential to carefully follow the instructions provided by USCIS and submit all required documents and fees accurately. Additionally, any errors or omissions in your application can lead to delays or potential denials.
Please note that the adjustment of status process for spouses of green card holders can be complex, and eligibility requirements may vary based on individual circumstances. Consulting with an immigration attorney or accredited representative can be beneficial to ensure you meet all the requirements and successfully navigate the process.
How much does it cost to file an immigration application as a spouse of green card holder living in the U.S.?
The cost of filing an immigration application as the spouse of a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) living in the U.S. can vary depending on the specific forms and processes involved. Here are some of the common forms and associated fees for adjusting status as the spouse of a green card holder:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: This form is used to establish the qualifying relationship between you and your green card holder spouse. As of September 2021, the filing fee for Form I-130 was $535.
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: This form is used to apply for your green card through adjustment of status. As of September 2021, the filing fee for Form I-485 was $1,225, which includes the biometrics fee.
Please note that USCIS fees are subject to change, and it’s essential to check the latest fee schedule on the official USCIS website before submitting your application.
Additionally, there may be other costs associated with the adjustment of status process, including:
- Medical examination fees: You will need to undergo a medical examination by a designated USCIS civil surgeon. The cost of the medical exam can vary depending on the physician and location.
- Cost of obtaining supporting documents: You may need to obtain various documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, and more. The cost of obtaining these documents can vary depending on the issuing authorities and your home country.
It’s also important to consider that the fees for immigration applications may change over time, so it’s advisable to verify the current fees on the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative for the most up-to-date information.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and cannot afford the USCIS filing fees, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. Fee waiver eligibility is based on income and other specific criteria. If you believe you may qualify for a fee waiver, it’s essential to review the USCIS guidelines and instructions on the fee waiver process.
What documents are required for immigration application of a spouse of a green card holder living in the U.S.?
When applying for adjustment of status as the spouse of a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) living in the U.S., you will need to submit a variety of documents to support your application. These documents are used to establish your eligibility for the immigration benefits you are seeking. While the specific requirements may vary based on individual circumstances, here are some of the common documents typically required for the immigration application:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (filed by the green card holder spouse):
- Copy of the green card holder spouse’s green card (front and back) or other evidence of their status as a lawful permanent resident.
- Proof of the qualifying relationship, such as a marriage certificate or evidence of a bona fide (genuine) marriage.
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (filed by the foreign spouse):
- Copy of the foreign spouse’s birth certificate.
- Passport-style photos that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements.
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (if applicable) or other evidence of legal entry into the U.S.
- Copies of any previous U.S. visas or immigration-related documents (if applicable).
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (filed by the green card holder spouse):
- The green card holder spouse’s most recent federal income tax returns (and any W-2 forms) to demonstrate sufficient income to support the foreign spouse.
- Evidence of current employment, such as pay stubs or an employment letter.
- Other financial documents, such as bank statements, to demonstrate financial stability.
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record:
- A completed and sealed medical examination report conducted by a designated USCIS civil surgeon to demonstrate that the foreign spouse meets the health requirements for immigration.
- Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage:
- Documentation to demonstrate the bona fide nature of the marriage, such as joint bank account statements, joint lease or mortgage agreements, joint utility bills, photos together, and affidavits from friends and family.
- Police Clearance Certificates (if applicable):
- Police clearance certificates from any country where the foreign spouse has lived for six months or more since turning 16 years old.
- Payment of Filing Fees:
- The required fees for the forms filed, such as Form I-130 and Form I-485. Payment can be made via check or money order.
It’s essential to carefully follow the USCIS instructions for each form and include all necessary supporting documents to avoid delays or denials. Additionally, USCIS may request additional documents or evidence as needed during the adjudication process.
As the immigration process can be complex and requirements may vary, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative for personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.