Changing your immigration status from F-1 student to a marriage-based green card (permanent residency) is a multi-step process that involves several forms and requirements. Here’s an overview of the steps you need to take:
Get Married: The first step is to get married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. Keep in mind that marrying a U.S. citizen may have certain advantages and a faster processing time compared to marrying a permanent resident.
Determine Eligibility: Make sure you are eligible for adjustment of status (changing your status from F-1 to a green card holder) before proceeding. To be eligible, you must have entered the U.S. legally, have a valid immigrant visa number available, and be eligible for a green card in the United States.
File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: If you are married to a U.S. citizen, your spouse must file Form I-130 on your behalf. This form establishes the relationship between you and your U.S. citizen spouse and starts the family-based immigration process. For all spousal petitions, Form I-130A must be completed by the foreign national spouse.
Wait for I-130 Approval: The processing time for Form I-130 can vary, but once it’s approved, it means that your marriage is recognized by immigration authorities.
File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or tylesrant Adjust Status: After the I-130 is approved, you can file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you may be able to file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-130.
Attend Biometrics Appointment: Once you file Form I-485, you’ll receive a notice for a biometrics appointment where they will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
Attend an Interview: USCIS may schedule an interview for you and your spouse to verify the validity of your marriage and eligibility for a green card. Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship and provide evidence of a bona fide marriage.
Receive a Decision: After the interview, USCIS will make a decision on your application. If approved, you will be issued a conditional green card if you’ve been married for less than two years at the time of approval.
Remove Conditions (if applicable): If you receive a conditional green card, you will need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days of the card’s expiration date.
Obtain a 10-Year Green Card: If your marriage is over two years old at the time of approval, you will receive a 10-year green card. Otherwise, you’ll receive a two-year conditional green card, as mentioned above.
It’s crucial to follow the guidelines and requirements provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and consult with an immigration attorney if you have specific questions or concerns about your situation. The process can be complex, and having professional guidance can be beneficial to ensure everything is done correctly.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the cost associated with changing status from F-1 to a marriage-based green card can vary based on various factors and the specific forms you need to file. The following are some of the main fees involved in the process:
Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative): The filing fee tvboxbee for Form I-130, which is filed by the U.S. citizen spouse, was $535.
Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status): The filing fee for Form I-485 was $1,140 for applicants aged 14 to 78 years. If you are under 14 years or older than 78 years, the fee might be different. The I-485 fee includes the cost of biometrics (fingerprinting).
Form I-765 (Optional – Application for Employment Authorization Document): If you want to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the U.S. while your green card application is pending, the filing fee for Form I-765 was $550.
Form I-131 (Optional – Application for Travel Document): If you need to travel outside the U.S. while your green card application is pending, you can file Form I-131 to apply for a travel document (Advance Parole). The filing fee for Form I-131 was $590.
Form I-751 (if applicable): If you receive a conditional green card, you will need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your green card after two years. The filing fee for Form I-751 was $680.
Please note that government fees can change over time, so it’s essential to check the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to get the most up-to-date information on fees.
Additionally, keep in mind that the fees mentioned above are just the government filing fees and do not include any attorney fees or other associated costs, such as obtaining necessary documents, translations, medical examinations, etc. The overall cost of the process can vary based on individual circumstances and whether you choose to hire an immigration attorney to assist you with the application process.