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My marriage-based green card petition was filed with USCIS. What should I expect next?

By January 2, 2024Uncategorized
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One way how you can obtain a green card in the U.S. is if you marry a U.S. citizen. Green cards for immediate relatives of US citizens (such as spouse) are always available, and this means that you can file the I-130 and the I-485 petitions concurrently, if you are already in the U.S.

If you are not in the U.S., you can apply for a green card through a US Consulate abroad, but this blog post will focus on the Adjustment of status procedure from within the U.S.

Let’s say that you and your spouse submitted the I-130 petition, the I-485 Adjustment of status petition and the work and travel authorization applications. What happens after the petitions are submitted? What happens next and when can you expect it?

1. Within a month or so after your case was submitted, you should receive the Receipt Notices for your case.

You should receive the Receipt Notices for the I-130 petition and the I-485 Adjustment of Status petition in mail (on the address you input on the USCIS forms) usually within a month or so.

The Receipt Notice will contain information such as your name, the date the petition was received, and the Receipt number. Once you have the petition’s Receipt number, you will be able to track the case status Here. You can set up email notifications through the USCIS website, meaning that every time there is an update on the case, you will be notified on the case update via email.

You will receive a Receipt notice separately for each petition – for example, if your spouse filed an I-130 petition, and you filed an I-485 petition, I-765 petition, and I-131 petition, you will receive 4 separate Receipt Notices and each case will have its own Receipt number.

A good way how to make sure that USCIS received your petitions is to check whether they cashed the checks you submitted with the applications.

If you move after the petition is filed, you will need to submit Form AR-11, otherwise USCIS will mail any correspondence to your old address.

2. You will receive a Biometrics notice and will need to attend your Biometrics appointment.

Within approximately 2-4 months after the case was filed, you will receive a Notice that will contain details about your Biometrics appointment. You will need to attend the appointment on the date and time as indicated on the Notice.

If you need to re-schedule the appointment, you should reach out to USCIS as soon as possible after you receive the notice, but we usually recommend that you attend the originally scheduled appointment, as it may take months until USCIS schedules your new appointment.

Alternatively, if the date and time of the scheduled appointment don’t work for you, you could try to walk in to your local USCIS office and ask if you can complete your biometrics as you are unable to attend the scheduled appointment, but not all offices allow this and you may not be able to do this.

3. USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence if they are missing any documents.

If USCIS is missing any documents they need to make a decision on the case (e.g. your US citizen spouse did not submit the most recent tax return for the Affidavit of support, or for example you did not submit the completed medical exam), they will issue a Request for evidence. You would then have to respond to the RFE within the deadline as indicated in the RFE and submit the requested documents to USCIS.

4. USCIS approves your EAD/Advance parole.

The current average processing time for the EAD (work authorization) is about 8.5 months and the current average processing time for the Advance Parole is about 9.5 months.

We have had cases that were approved much faster than this, but it may take around this time to get the documents approved (potentially even longer).

You cannot leave the U.S. until you receive the Advance Parole document, otherwise your green card will be considered abandoned.Also, if you don’t have an underlying status in the U.S. that allows you to work, you should not work until you receive the EAD work authorization card.

5. USCIS will either schedule an interview/make a decision on your case without an interview.

The current average processing time for a marriage-based adjustment of status petition is approximately 1-2 years (this will depend on the field office where your case will be pending).

Some USCIS offices will schedule a visa interview with you and your spouse and both of you will need to attend the interview. You should bring updated evidence about the bona fide of your relationship to the interview and you should also bring the petitions that were submitted to USCIS and also any documents listed on the Interview notice.

Some USCIS offices may approve your case without an interview, and in this case, you would receive the Approval notices in mail and they would also mail you your green card.

6. File I-751 Petition 90 days before the 2 year anniversary of your Conditional green card.

If USCIS approves your green card, it will only be valid for 2 years, this is so-called Conditional green card. You will then have to file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before the 2-year anniversary since you received the green card.

Please see our blog post on What evidence you will need to submit with the I-751 Petition here.

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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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