For many couples, marriage offers an opportunity to begin a life with someone special. Deciding where to plant roots is a difficult decision, especially when each spouse has a different background and upbringing. Every year, thousands of couples pursue an immigration avenue called adjustment of status through marriage to obtain permanent residency in the United States. This option is a chance for couples to settle in the country long-term or, for many, serves as a stepping stone to securing citizenship in the United States.
ZafiroLaw is a leading immigration law firm based in Seattle, serving couples and families across the nation. Immigrating to the United States can be a long, arduous process. Our team of experienced attorneys provides guidance to our clients as they pursue a marriage-based Green Card, as well as other residency and citizenship options. To learn more about how our experience and expertise can benefit your case, consider scheduling a consultation today at (206) 547-9906 to get started.
What Is Adjustment of Status?
Broadly, adjustment of status refers to the process that a person can take to become a Lawful Permanent Resident in the United States. Through this process, it is possible to secure a Green Card, which offers a more permanent immigration option for individuals who wish to continue living and/or working in the United States. Adjustment of status is available to visa holders who are currently residing in the United States, meaning it is possible to secure your Green Card without leaving the country.
Can I Adjust My Status Through Marriage?
There are different categories available to those seeking an adjustment of status. The eligibility requirements and criteria of these categories varies, making it important to decide which category suits your needs. Many people seek adjustment through status based on their family relationship with a United States citizen. If a person is married to a United States citizen, for example, it is possible to apply for a Green Card based on this relationship. Adjustment of status through marriage is a valuable option for the foreign-citizen spouse of an American citizen who wishes to remain in the United States long-term.
What Is the Process of Adjusting My Status Through Marriage?
To begin the process, the spouse who wishes to seek the adjustment of status through marriage must file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
The spouse who is a United States citizen must also file a Petition for Alien Relative at the same time as the adjustment of status process is going on. This is referred to as concurrent processing. Concurrent filing is a beneficial option for couples who also wish to apply for employment authorization and travel permission. Using this avenue, it is possible to file all the relevant forms at the same time.
What Forms Do I File for a Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status?
In order to file for a marriage-based adjustment of status, specific documentation is required. Failing to consider any of the key forms can result in significant delays to your application. As such, it is key to understand what forms will be required of you and your spouse when applying to adjust your status, including:
- Form I-485. This form is also referred to as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and is filed by the foreign-citizen spouse to initiate the adjustment of status process.
- Form 1-130, also known as the Petition for Alien Relative. If you wish to file concurrently, the American spouse must file this form. It should be noted that this is not applicable if you do not wish to file concurrently, however.
- Form I-693, the Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. This form establishes the fact that you are not inadmissible to the United States on the basis of public health.
- Form I-864. This is an Affidavit of Support demonstrating that you and your spouse have the financial means necessary to reside in the United States.
It is important to keep copies of all the documents that you submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process can be long and complicated, and maintaining a comprehensive record of your application materials can be extremely beneficial in preventing errors or delays.
How Long Does a Marriage-Based Green Card Take?
Determining the timeline for a marriage-based Green Card is difficult, as each case is different and the average processing times vary drastically. If there is an influx in applications, for example, it may take longer to secure a permanent residency through marriage. In general, the adjustment of the status process takes several months.
Over the course of the experience, there are specific steps that must be taken to continue the process. In some cases, the USCIS will request further evidence or documentation. This can delay the process, so it is possible to submit the strongest application possible on the first go-around.
What Happens at a Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status Interview?
During the course of the marriage-based adjustment of status, both you and your spouse will be required to appear for an interview. This interview is an important factor that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services uses to assess these cases. Given the importance of this aspect of the process, understanding what to expect can be highly beneficial.
On the day of the interview, you will be required to travel to your local USCIS office. It is possible to use an interpreter for the interview, if necessary. The immigration officer will collect all relevant documentation and review your paperwork for signs of ineligibility. If all the paperwork is correct, you will be required to sign a written confirmation.
The officer will ask questions regarding your marriage, possibly including the following:
- How did you meet?
- Why did you decide to get married?
- How did you celebrate the most recent holiday?
- How many people attended your wedding ceremony
- Where was the wedding held?
- What are your spouse’s hobbies?
- What are the names of your spouse’s siblings?
During this portion of the interview, the officer is looking to establish that your marriage is genuine. They may ask for joint bills or financial information to help prove the validity of your marriage. More often than not, preparation is the key to success during the interview. Knowing what to expect and having an organized portfolio of all possible required documents can help avoid delays or denials of your application.
Applying for a Marriage-Based Green Card with ZafiroLaw
Pursuing permanent residency in the United States is an incredibly important decision that has a great impact on a person’s life. For individuals who wish to continue building their lives in the United States, but who are currently in the country the adjustment of status through marriage avenue can be a valuable option. Unfortunately, navigating this process is often complicated and full of hurdles. At ZafiroLaw, our team of dedicated attorneys has the experience necessary to ease the stress of applying for a marriage-based Green Card. To learn more about how we can work with you, consider contacting our Seattle office at (206) 547-9906 today.