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Already in U.S. Basics

What is a Concurrent I-130 Petition and I-485 Application Filing?

A Concurrent I-130 Petition and I-485 Application filing is a combined Spouse of a U.S. Citizen Petition and an Adjustment of Status Application that allows the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen who is already in the United States to file for a Green Card through marriage. It is important to note that the foreign spouse had to have entered the United States legally and without the “intent to marry and immigrate” at the time of entry.

*This option is NOT for everyone–Applying for a Green Card Through Marriage, while in the United States, has some legal nuances that may render the foreign spouse “ineligible.” We strongly recommend speaking with a qualified immigration attorney before you determine if this option is the proper way to immigrate to the U.S.

What are the necessary steps to apply for a Green Card through marriage when the Foreign Spouse is already in the United States?

There are several major steps:

1. Concurrent filing of the I-130 Petition and I-485 Application (Green Card).
The first step involves the concurrent filing of the I-130/I-485 application package. The I-130 is officially signed and filed by the U.S. Citizen (also known as the “Petitioner”) on behalf of the foreign Spouse (also known as the “Beneficiary”). On the other hand, the I-485 application is officially signed and filed by the Foreign Spouse. Both are submitted at the same time-along with Travel and Work Permit Applications-this is why it is called a “concurrent filing.”

Both the petition and application, along with Travel and Work Permit applications, the medical examination by an by a USCIS Designated Civil Surgeon, and other necessary evidentiary documentation, are then filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

2. Biometrics Appointment
Once the the concurrent filing is received by the USCIS, the foreign spouse will first receive a receipt notice for the filings and, within a few weeks, they should also receive a Biometrics appointment letter. Biometrics are conducted at a USCIS Application Support Center location. During the appointment, the foreign spouse will be photographed and finger printed so that FBI background checks can be conducted.

3. The “Interview” and possible “Stokes Interview”
Within a few months of the Biometrics, the couple will be invited to meet with an Officer at one of the USCIS District Offices near their residence. During this interview, the Officer will review documentation and ask the couple a series of questions designed to determine if the relationship is “bona-fide” or a “sham marriage.” In cases where the Officer becomes skeptical of the couple true intent, they will be called back for a more extensive interview, officially known as “the Stokes Interview.” The Stokes Interview is designed to be very thorough and often times the couple will be separated and asked individual questions for later comparison.

4. Issuance of Travel & Work Permits, and Issuance of Green Card
The work permit and work permit are issued within 90 days of filing of the forms. As of 2/11/2011, the USCIS announced that they will begin issuing a singe card with travel and work authorization, instead of two separate cards.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through marriage when filing a Concurrent I-130 petition and I-485 application?

Assuming you do not get any RFEs (Request for Further Evidence) and your case is not suspended for any other reason, you should get your Work and Travel Permits within 90 days of your filing. Depending upon a variety of factors, you will get your Green Card between 4 and 12 months. For more information on current processing times for your area, you can look here: Green Card Processing Times.

Who is eligible to file a Concurrent I-130 Petition and I-485 Application?

U.S. Citizens who are married to a Foreign Spouse, who is currently in the U.S., may file an I-130 Petition. The U.S. Citizen and foreign Fiancee must have a legal marriage. In order for the Foreign Spouse to be eligible to file the I-485 application, they must have entered the United States legally–without the intent to immigrate and marry. In addition, their non-immigrant status must be eligible for adjustment, they must clear background checks, medical exams, etc. There are many more requirements to be eligible–we have listed a few above. If you are thinking about filing for a Green Card through marriage and your spouse is here in the U.S. call us to find out if you are eligible.

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