Green Card Application Timeline: Living in the U.S. and Married to a Green Card Holder - GreenCardHero

Green Card Application Timeline: Living in the U.S. and Married to a Green Card Holder

🔑 Submission 1: Immigrant Petition

The sponsor and applicant submit the following forms, along with supporting documents:

  • Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relatives
  • Form I-130A – Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
  • G-1145 – e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (optional)

Submission 1’s purpose is to establish the applicant’s eligibility for a Green Card. Since the applicant’s eligibility is based on their marriage to the sponsor, Submission 1 helps to demonstrate:[1]:

  • The sponsor is a real person.
  • The sponsor is a U.S. permanent resident.
  • The applicant is the sponsor’s husband.
  • This marriage is real.

Around 2 Weeks Later

USCIS Receipt Notice (Form I-797) Arrives

The receipt notice confirms that USCIS has received your Submission 1. It contains a case number, which you can use to track your Submission 1 case status with the USCIS Case Status Checker. It also contains a date labeled “Priority Date”. You will use this date later to determine when to submit Submission 2.

Waiting period until a visa number becomes available

Good news — in May 2020, there is no wait time! So you can move onto submitting the adjustment of status application immediately after receiving I-130 Receipt Notice. This zero wait-time is expected to last until the end of this month source ⏰

🌱 Submission 2: Adjustment of Status

The sponsor and applicant submit the following forms, along with supporting documents:

  • Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-944 – Declaration of Self Sufficiency (A new form that came into effect on February 24, 2020 due to USCIS’ new Public Charge Rule)
  • Form I-864 – Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA
  • Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (optional)
  • Form I-131 – Application for Travel Document (optional)
  • G-1145 – e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (optional)

Submission 2’s purpose is to apply for the applicant’s Green Card. After USCIS approves Submission 1, the applicant has successfully established their Green Card eligibility; now they can apply for it. Submission 2 collects information that demonstrates [2]:

  • The applicant is a real person.
  • The applicant’s current immigration status doesn’t bar them from receiving a Green Card.
  • The applicant can financially support themselves in the U.S. without government assistance.
  • The applicant is in good health.
  • The applicant has good moral characters.

Around 2-3 Weeks after Filing Submission 2

USCIS Receipt Notices (Form I-797) Arrive

For each form you submit in Submission 2, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. Each receipt notice contains a case number. You can use these case numbers to track your Submission 2 case status with the USCIS Case Status Checker.

Around 3-5 Weeks after Filing Submission 2

Biometrics Appointment Notice Arrives for the Applicant

The biometrics services appointment is a quick, low stress procedure where the USCIS takes the applicant’s fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. This helps USCIS confirm the applicant’s identity and run required background and security checks.1

The appointment will be at a local USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). The applicant’s appointment notice will include the date, time and location for the appointment.2

Around 4-6 Weeks after Filing Submission 2

The Applicant Goes to the Biometrics Appointment

Attend the scheduled biometrics services appointment. You can learn more about what it’s like on the USCIS website.

Around 3 Months after Filing Submission 2

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card Arrives for the Applicant

If the applicant filled out the optional forms for employment and travel authorization, the applicant will receive an approval notice and an EAD card in the mail. With an EAD card, the applicant can work in the U.S. and/or travel outside the U.S. while the application is pending.

Around 4-10 Months after Filing Submission 2

Interview Notice Arrives for the Sponsor and Applicant

USCIS will schedule an in-person interview and mail an interview notice. Both the applicant and the sponsor need to attend. The interview notice will contain instructions on what supporting documents to bring to the interview.

Around 1-2 Months after Receiving Interview Notice

The Sponsor and Applicant Go to Green Card Interview

The interview is an opportunity for USCIS to verify the information provided in your application, to discover new information, and to determine the credibility of the applicant.3 During the interview, a USCIS officer will ask the applicant a series of questions to confirm that the applicant:

  • Never committed a crime
  • Hasn’t defrauded the U.S. government
  • Hasn’t been deported
  • Has no serious diseases
  • The marriage is real
  • Has financial support

Read our guide on how to prepare and what to expect at the interview.

Around 1-2 Months after Completing Interview

Green Card Arrives in the Mail! 🎉

Congratulations! You have made it!

About GreenCardHero

We are a community of former applicants who successfully went through the hair-pulling, eyeball-popping green card application process ourselves. We believe every couple should have access to quality guidance and file their application with confidence, without costing an arm and a leg in the process. That’s why we created the apps, tools, and guides at GreenCardHero. If you share our vision and want to contribute to the community, drop us a line!

  1. https://www.uscis.gov/forms/forms-information/preparing-your-biometric-services-appointment
  2. https://www.uscis.gov/forms/forms-information/preparing-your-biometric-services-appointment
  3. https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-to-expand-in-person-interview-requirements-for-certain-permanent-residency-applicants