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Family-Based Immigration: Marriage Adjustment of Status by US Citizen Petitioner

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By Bruna Falcão Squires

The primary purpose of family-based immigration is to unify families. Although family-based Immigration can encompass many topics, one of the most common is adjusting status through marriage with a U.S. Citizen (USC).

The adjustment of status starts after the marriage ceremony. The first step is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of this form is to establish the relationship between the USC petitioner and the foreign national beneficiary, in addition to evaluate if the petitioner qualifies as a petitioner – a petitioner must be a USC, a US national, or an LPR.

In addition to Form I-130, for an adjustment of status based on marriage to be submitted to the USCIS, it is necessary to create a packet of supporting evidence and the following forms:

  • I-130A, Supplementary Information for Spouse Beneficiary;
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • I-864, Affidavit of Support;
  • I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record;
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document (optional).

The most important part of the case is the supporting evidence. The supporting evidence is crucial to prove to the immigration officer that the marriage is bona-fide and not entered for immigration purposes. The more you prove of your relationship with your spouse, the stronger the case you will have. The most common types of proof, but not limited to, are that you and your spouse:

  • Cohabitate;
  • Own assets together;
  • Share financial responsibilities;
  • Have children together;
  • Spend time together.

After filing forms and supporting evidence, USCIS will schedule an interview with an immigration officer to go over your case and ask questions. Once the case is approved, the beneficiary will be granted a green card.

If the petitioner and beneficiary are married for less than 2 years, the beneficiary’s green card will be conditional. Meaning, 2 years after the green card’s issued date, the beneficiary spouse will need to apply for Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence. If married for more than 2 years, before the adjustment of status, there is no need to apply for Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence because there is a presumption that the marriage was not entered for immigration purposes.

If you have any questions about Family-Based Immigration, feel free to contact me at bsquires@drummondadvisors.com