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Step-by-Step Guide on How to File for Adjustment of Status for K1 and K3 Visa Holders
These are the basic steps required by the US Citizen and/or non US Citizen Spouse. These steps should be followed as a guideline and not as specific requirements for any given case. Every case is unique and this does not address that uniqueness.




Note: When filing for Adjustment of Status K1 and K3 Visa holders are now required to submit their paperwork to the National Address (Chicago Lockbox) instead of at their local CIS office. This procedure became effective for all applicants in April 2005.

After the National office completes initial processing your case will be referred to your local CIS office where you will be interviewed for your permanent residency or be transferred to CSC. Prior to this the national office will send you communications requesting biometrics be taken and schedule an interview with you for this. To determine the amount of time it will take your local office to schedule your interview appointment refer to Processing Times page and click on USCIS District Processing Times link


Download the Following Forms:

1. G-325a
2. I-864
3. I-485
4. I-765 (optional)
5. I-131 (optional)
6. G-1145 (optional)

The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov.

Assembling the I-485 Package: Checklist   frequent questions  frequent questions
Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.)
:
1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees. Be sure to include the payment for both the I-485 and the biometrics fee*.
>> The fee for I-485 applications includes the cost of the I-131 and I-765 (no need to pay for them if filed with or while your I-485 application is pending adjudication).
2. Cover Page. This should include the applicants contact information, a description of the benefit being filed for ("Immediate Relative (Spouse) Family Based Adjustment of Status Application") and a table of contents listing the major items in the packet. If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet and list the attachment on the cover sheet. Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet.
3. Form I-485: Petition for Alien Relative (note: use the non US Citizen spouse's married name on this form and list previous name/names)
4. Copy of the non US Citizen Spouses Passport (biographical page as well as entry stamps).
4a. Copy of the non US Citizen Spouses K-1 or K-3 Visa from Passport
5. K-1 Visa Holders: Submit Copy of NOA2 "Approval" for I-129F **
K-3 Visa Holders:
Submit Copy of NOA2 "Approval" for I-130
6. Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of the non US Citizen Spouses valid paper I-94 (front and back of form)
7. A copy of the intending immigrant's birth certificate along with English translation. (If in any language other than English)
8. A copy of your marriage certificate. Note: While a regular copy is allowed, submitting a certified copy is preferred as some members have received an RFE asking for this (so if one is available use that instead).
9. G-325A filled out, signed and dated.
10. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the Non US Citizen Spouse. Write the full name and A# on the back using a soft felt tipped pen or pencil. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Insert Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the G-325a.
11. I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status.I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status. If you are a K-1, K-2, K-3 or K-4 visa holder the I-693 instructions state that you are not required to have another medical examination as long as your Form I-485 is filed within one year of your overseas medical examination. If you are missing any shots from your overseas medical a I-693 vaccination transcription is required to be completed by seeing a Civil Surgeon to have certain portions of the I-693 completed and have the Civil Surgeon certify the form (sealing the original in an envelope and giving you a copy).
12. I-864, Affidavit of Support (see poverty limits here)
>> Include any additional required supporting documentation
13. I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if you want to work while your application is processed (optional)
>> Include any additional required supporting documentation or photos as well as payment as noted here.
14 I-131, Application for Travel Document, if you need to travel outside the United States while your application is processed (optional)
>> Include any additional required supporting documentation or photos as well as payment as noted here.
* Fingerprint fee not needed for applicants under 14
** Should this document be misplaced/lost/never received you can file an I-824 to receive a duplicate copy via mail.

"Cover Page" Information:
In the checklist above it is recommended that you include a Cover Page with your application. While this is optional, filing a cover page will help the USCIS understand what benefit your are applying for and specifically what items you have included in your package. Again, make sure the cover page includes:

-- the applicants contact information (name, address, phone number)
-- A description of the benefit you are applying for, (Immediate Relative (Spouse) Family Based Adjustment of Status Application)
-- A table of contents listing the major items in your package (i.e. I-485 and evidence, I-765, I-131, etc)
-- A line with the applicants signature and date


Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional)

Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received.

Where to File Everything:


Applicants are required to mail applications to a national mailbox (Chicago) as stated on the form (not your local USCIS office). Be sure to mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS.

IMPORTANT!

Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence.



After Filing: What Happens?

I-485's can take anywhere from several months to several years to be approved depending on where you live (every local office has a different waiting period). This delay often leaves the petitioner feeling completely hopeless of ever receiving approval. DO NOT GIVE UP! Though it seems like forever, the CIS will eventually get to your petition. In the mean time make sure your EAD for working is valid (renew when needed) and that you have an AP for any neccesary travel you have planned. Listed below are the main items that will happen while the beneficiary's I-485 is being processed.

Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Processing

If you filed for Employment Authorization and/or Advance Parole petitions are generally processed within 90 days of filing. During that wait the beneficiary (non-US Citizen Spouse) will be sent a notice in the mail to schedule an appointment at the nearest USCIS biometrics office to have their fingerprints and photos taken. It is important follow the instructions in this notice and to schedule the biometrics appointment in a timely fashion. Below are estimated waiting times for these benefits:

Estimated EAD Processing Times
Estimated AP Processing Times

As a note, in an emergency where travel outside of the United States is needed (while a beneficiary's I-485 in still being processed) an Advance Parole can be obtained quickly by scheduling an Info-Pass appointment at your local USCIS office. You must show proof (doctors note, etc) that the travel is a true emergency (such as to see a critically ill relative or other true emergency) and file an I-131 (AP) in person. If approved the AP is likely be issued the same day. Do not attempt to leave the country without an AP as this can result in the beneficiary's I-485 being considered "abandoned" and will require a new Visa to enter the US (and refiling of the I-485).


Biometrics

Your beneficiary (non-US Citizen Spouse) will be required to have their biometrics taken as part of the I-485 processing (fingerprints and photos). The beneficiary will be sent a notice in the mail to schedule an appointment at the nearest USCIS biometrics office to have their fingerprints and photos taken. It is important follow the instructions in this notice and to schedule the biometrics appointment in a timely fashion. This can typically precede the interview date by up to 15 months, however it is usually much closer.

Interview (in person) for Adjustment of Status

Eventually most people (see exception below) will receive a letter from the CIS informing you of your interview date. It will include instructions on what to bring to the interview and any required items you may need to complete before hand. One of the most critical items requested will be "evidence of the relationship" which proves that your marriage is true and faithful (i.e. photos, joint checking account, joint lease, joint mortgage, and birth certificates of children if any, etc.). Also, it is important to bring the current passport of the beneficiary to the interview. The interview is fairly painless and may be video recorded and lasts between 15-30 minutes. If approved you will be mailed your "green-card" shortly after the interview date (weeks).

Interview Exception. In some cases a beneficiary's Adjustment of Status case may be transfered to the California Service Center (possibly another location) where the CIS will attempt to complete processing without requirinig an "in person" interview. There is no particular way to know if this will happen to your case however if this does happen then you will not be required to attend an interview in person. If the I-485 is approved the beneficiary's green card will simply be mailed to them.


NOTES:

(1) It is possible that at your interview a tardy namecheck or FBI clearance may hold up a final "approval" of the I-485 after the interview. Permanent Resident status does not start until the case is *actually* approved, which may be a later date than the interview. The final issued green card will show the validity date.

(2) If the beneficiary and petitioner have been married less than two years at the time the I-485 is approved then the beneficiary will receive what is called a "conditional" legal permanent residence. This simply means that the beneficiary will have to renew his/her greencard 2 years from the date it was originally "issued" by filing an I-751 to remove conditional status. When filing this form you will need to again show proof of your valid and ongoing marriage.