Your Fiancé Visa and Adjustment of Status
Your K-1 fiancé visa petition was approved and you have already entered the United States. In the midst of running around and making sure everything is in order for your wedding, you realize your 90 day deadline, when your fiancé visa expires, is quickly approaching. If you plan to remain in the United States after you get married, you must apply for a green card. This process is called adjustment of status.
Applying to adjust your status includes three major steps:
- Preparing and filing the necessary documents
- Attending a biometrics appointment
- Attending an interview
If your interview goes well, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will give you permission to stay in the United States. However, you will not receive your green card right away. You must first complete two years of “conditional residency” and then you can apply to have these conditions removed.
How Do I Submit An Application For An Adjustment Of Status?
The best time to file for an adjustment of status, or green card, is after you have married your U.S. citizen fiancé. One misconception that a lot of people have is that getting married to a U.S. citizen automatically makes you a U.S. citizen. This just isn’t true. To remain in the U.S. legally after your fiancé visa expires, you must submit an application for an adjustment of status. Otherwise, you will be in the U.S. illegally and subject to deportation proceedings.
The good thing about adjusting your status is that you will not have to leave the U.S. to apply. You may stay with your spouse during the entire process. You will simply send your adjustment of status application to the local USCIS Service Center and attend your interview there as well. This article will give you the basic steps on applying to adjust your status.
Step One: Prepare and Submit Your Adjustment
In order to begin the process of obtaining your green card, you must first fill out the appropriate forms. You are responsible for filling out all the forms that USCIS requires. Luckily, all these forms are on the USCIS website and can be downloaded. The required forms include:
- Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: This is the primary green card application to be filled out by you, the immigrant.
- Form I-864 or I-864EZ Affidavit of Support: This form should be filled out by your spouse. With this form, your U.S. citizen spouse promises to take care of you financially so that you won’t have to rely on government assistance.
- Form G-325A Biographic Information: Both you and your spouse must fill out a copy of this form. This form is so USCIS can gather your biographic information, such as your name, birthday, address, etc.
- Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record: You had a similar medical exam completed to get your K-1 fiancé visa, but if the exam is over a year old or you did not get all the required vaccinations, you must have another medical exam completed at this time.
Additional forms that you may fill out include:
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization: If you interested in working, you should fill out this form because it will allow you to work until your green card application is approved.
- Form I-131 Application for Travel Document: You should fill this form out if you plan to leave the U.S. before your green card interview. If you leave the U.S. without permission, USCIS will cancel your green card application.
In addition to your completed forms, your green card application packet should also include:
- Official copies of criminal history documents
- A copy of your birth certificate
- A copy of your K-1 visa approval letter
- A copy of your marriage certificate
- Two copies of a photograph of you taken within 30n days
- The $985 filing fee, which is subject to change
When USCIS receives your green card application packet, they will send you a receipt in the mail. Make sure you keep track of the receipt because it has important information about tracking the status of your application.
Step Two: The Biometrics Appointment
Weeks or even months after your receive the receipt, you will receive information about your biometrics appointment. This appointment is when USCIS collects your fingerprints and runs them through a database to make sure you aren’t dangerous.
Step Three: The Interview
The interview will be scheduled at your local USCIS service center. During the interview, an USCIS officer will ask you questions to ensure the legitimacy for your marriage (similar to the questions you had to answer about your engagement at the K-1 interview). If the officer is satisfied, you will receive a conditional green card. Your conditional residency will expire in two years, at which time you will apply to have the conditions removed.
Can I Check The Status Of My Green Card Application?
Using the receipt number on the receipt USCIS sent you, you may check the status of your application on the USCIS website.