Basic Overview of a Green Card Petition for the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen in the United States

The process of applying for benefits under U.S. immigration law can be very confusing. We are often asked what to expect when filing certain immigration petitions. This note gives a brief overview of the steps involved in applying for a green card for the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is currently within the United States after a lawful admission.

Step 1 – Initial Filing – The first step in obtaining a green card for the spouse of a U.S. citizen currently in the United States after lawful admission, is to file the necessary Forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A filing for the spouse of a U.S. citizen currently within the United States after a lawful admission usually contains: Form I-130, Form I-485, G-325A, Form I-131, Form I-765 and Form I-693. All Forms must be filed with the appropriate government filing fees and the petition must be supported with adequate evidence to support the bona fides of the relationship.

Step 2 – Biometrics – After the case has been properly filed and receipted in, USCIS will issue a biometrics appointment notice. The notice will contain a date and time to report to the local USCIS office for biometrics. The biometrics notice can arrive at the same time as the receipt notice or within a few weeks thereafter.

Step 3 – Approval of Form I-131 and Form I-765 – Forms I-131 and I-765 are usually approved within 2-3 months of receipt. The joint travel permit/work authorization card will arrive in the mail shortly after approval.

Step 4 – ASC Appointment Notice – The final step before receiving approval of the green card is generally the in-person interview. This also takes place at the local USCIS office and involves both spouses and the USCIS officer assigned to adjudicate the case. The appointment notice will list the date and time of the appointment, and also contains a list of supporting evidence that should be brought to the interview. Depending on the evidence to support the case, and the length of the marriage, an in-person interview can be waived. After final approval, the permanent resident card will arrive in the mail usually within 10 days of the interview.

The type of green card issued depends on the length of the marriage at the time of the filing. If the marriage is less than two (2) years old, a conditional green card valid for two (2) years will be issued. If the marriage is greater than two (2) years old, a permanent green card valid for ten (10) years will be issued. The green card process is best approached with the assistance on an immigration attorney experienced with such filings. Contact us today so that we can walk you through this stressful and confusing process.

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