Disclaimer: All advice given here are strictly as is without any guarantees and reliability. The advice below is solely from personal experiences in filing such applications and process. The best and most reliable advice is always from a good immigration lawyer.

Q: I am a United States Citizen and would like to apply for green card for my Mom & Dad. They stay in India but both have a travel visa for the US for 10 years. They have visited me 4 times for a stay of around 2 weeks each. 

While researching to apply for their green card, I see that I have to fill two forms: I-130 and I-485. However, I am confused about which route to follow: “Get a green card while inside the US” OR “Get a green card while outside the US”. If we follow the latter, “Get a green card while outside the US”, then do I just need to fill out form I-130 and that is it? 

I would appreciate any guidance on this.

A: The route depends on where your parents are. If they already entered the US, then you do the get a green card while inside the US. This requires the I-130 and I-485 as the main forms. If they are currently in India, then you do the get a green card while outside the US. This only requires to file the I-130 but there are alot more forms to fill out for you and your parents. If they entered on the travel visa, make sure it is past 90 days before you apply for them, otherwise they would be suspected of entering on a non-immigrant visa intending to immigrate and the application can be denied.

Q: Hello, both my mother who is a Green card holder and my sister who is a US citizen sponsored me for a Green card 10 years ago. I was over 18 at the time. Now my mother’s sponsorship is being processed and I need to make a decision before 1 year is up. But I am in no position financially or professionally to go to the USA so soon. So I want to reject this and wait until my sister’s Green card sponsorship comes through in about 3 to 4 years time. If I reject the first (from my mother) will there be a risk in getting my sister’s Green card sponsorship later?
A: No, just don’t pay the fees and don’t follow any instructions and your application would be rejected and terminated. It shouldn’t impact your future applications since you are terminating the application even before it starts.

Q: I have been married for 3 years. Wife is a US Citizen. We lived together in Mn for about a year then I had to leave for school. She had a child from a previous relation. She started school but then dropped out and moved in with her parent in ND. Eventually she moved down Florida because I was mostly in school. She communicate everyday and she comes down to Mn at least once or twice every 2 months.

She eventually got on welfare due to some difficulty for her and her kids. I worked menial jobs while in school to cater to myself and tuition fees as my parent were experiencing financial troubles and were unable to pay my tuition any more. She asked me to not bother sending her money etc and focus on paying my tuition fees through engineering school which was very nice of her.

We never really cared to maintain documentation because we planned on returning to my country upon my graduation as I was certain I’d do comfortably back home. However, circumstances have changed and she wants me to stay here upon graduation next year. 

I have been told that I’d need documentation to get through with the green card process but I barely have much. What I do have is my lease from the first year, I could get her plane tickets, I added her to my car insurance a while back. I believe i had her in my health insurance as well. That’s all I have so far to show for 3 years of marriage. How does her being on welfare affect my application? I have a friend who is ready to be my sponsor.

A: The phone records if you guys call/text will also work as documentation. Record some skype/facetime sessions if that is how you guys communicate, this can also work as documentation. Take alot of photos, you can use vacation/visiting photos as documentation. One thing that you really need to have is marriage certificate and if you have records of the marriage event, they can help with documentation too. The financial difficulties of your US citizen spouse will be a red-flag and make sure you have a sponsor who can help you guys financially.

Q: I am US citizen . want to apply gc for my candian parents. what is the current processing time. If I apply from within US how do I justify the intent to immigrate. also they do not get I-94 so how do I prove the date of entry. Thanks!

A: For parents of US Citizens, the priority date is immediate so you should take about 6-9 months to get a green card for each of your parents. Just make sure they entered the country 90 days ago to start applying. Less than 90 days means that they intended on immigration even though they came in through visa waiver. They still know when your parents entered the country, don’t try to fool them.

Q: I am applying for a green card through consular processing. If my marriage is more than 2 years old then I will get green card for 10 years. I just wanted to know if the marriage needs to be more than 2 years old when my spouse petition’s for my green card or when I reach the U.S?

A: Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence. If your marriage is already two years old when you either arrive at the U.S. border with an immigrant visa or receive approval for a green card, then you get a permanent green card.

Q: I am US citizen and this is for my wife. Counular processing. She has never been in US
We are in process of submitting DS-260 online.

My Questions:

1. After submitting DS-260, Do we need to submit civic documents to NVC OR we can directly submit Civic documents to Embassy?
Will they send our case to Embassy if we dont submit Civic documents to NVC?

2. If we must submit documents then what we need to submit in original and what all in just photocopy? Asking this because NVC website does not specify this in exact wordings.

A: You submit all documents to NVC, never to the embassy. The NVC will send the documents to the embassy. You should submit originals if you can because they will be returned to you at the interview. You can try submitting photocopies but make sure you have the original ready to either send to them if they request it, or at the interview.

Q:My husband(American) and I(Thai) are working in Afghanistan and lately, we are decided to move back to the US in July 2014 because of the security issues. My husband filed the I-130 form in March 2014 while we are outside the US and now we are waiting for the approve but it seems like the process is too slow. We will leaving Afghanistan at the end of this month with my US tourist visa–my questions are as following:
1. Can I change the address and waiting for the I-130 approve when I am in the US?
2. Can I file the I-485 form when I arrive the US immediately (Even I have not got the approve from I-130 yet)?

Thank you for your help,

A: You can change the address however you want, but the I-130 notice of approval will be sent to the address that was on the I-130. You cannot file the I-485 immediately because you would then demonstrate intent on immigration upon entering as a tourist, which would jeopardize your application. You must wait 90 days or longer. I actually don’t know if you can even enter the country on a tourist visa with a pending I-130.

Q: I have a temporary gc through my wife. We moved and I changed the address for the case online . When should I receive the letter stating that the uscis actually changed it?

A: It is just a confirmation online, you won’t receive any paper mailings. I assumed you did a AR-11.

Q: Am a legal resident (green card holder) and am about to fill the I-130 form, for my wife and kids, I just have a confusion, I have 3 kids but my oldest one is not from my wife, do I need to fill 2 separate I-130 forms? if so, that means I have to pay 2 times?, one for my wife in our 2 kids, and other one for my oldest kid?

A: No, your oldest child is also your wife’s stepchild which counts as a derivative beneficiary and therefore can be together on the application.

Q: Recently I got a green card and just got married too. I am trying to file I-130 petition for my wife who is also here in United students in F-1 opt status. One of my close relative told me that I can file I-130 form and i-485 (adjustment of status) form same time at the beginning, which i doubt it. Is it true that I can file both form at a same time? Since the priority date does not seem current, How long it gonna take to get done whole process through green card?

A: No, your close relative is confusing immediate relative category which is for US citizens only. You are a GC holder. Your wife is in the F2A category and current wait time is over 2 years. You can only file I-130 for your wife, which would be approved but it would show a priority date more than 2 years from the current priority date.

Q: Can I file I-130 and I-765 at the same time for my spouse who is already in the US on a student visa? I am a GC holder.

A: No, I don’t believe you can do that because the I-130 only lets you petition for your spouse to receive a GC through you. Once it is approved, then you must start the process of applying for her GC. That is the only time that she can file I-765 because she is waiting for a GC so the USCIS will let her work. If you only file I-130, she is not yet on the path to permanent residency and still is considered completely on her current status.

Q: My Dad has come to US for a visit on tourist Visa a few months back and now he has decided to apply for GC. ( I am a US Citizen). I am applying I130 and I458 concurrently. My Question is: In the form 485 Part 3, there is a question about “Current Occupation”. He does not work in the US as of now, so currently he is not working. However, he had a Job in the country of origin which he has a time-off as of now and plan to quit.

So, What should I write in the current occupation.

Note that as a part of application for US Visa, he has completed DS160 and I would like to make sure I am not contradictory.

A: First make sure that your father has been in the country for more than 90 days before you start applying. If he just arrived, then his AOS application will likely be denied due to entering with false intentions. Now, just answer truthfully about his occupation. If he is not planning on working anymore since he is staying in the US, then just put none. Since he is here, why don’t you just ask him what he wrote on the DS-160 and write the same thing?You can also put retired. Also, the DS-160 was for his tourist visa, it has nothing to do with this AOS application.

Q: I am filing a GC for my parents. I have a few questions about the application:

-  I am using my wife’s income as part of sponsoring my parents from India. Besides an I864A, does she also need to fill out I864 and select this option?

- As part of DS-261, I have changed the address of my parents to me as the principal agent. Do I put their address in India or put my US address here?

- As I am sponsoring both my mother and father, I will select both questions and and 2, correct? And in 2a, fill my mother’s information as I already filled my father’s information in Part 2?

A: Your wife’s income is considered part of your as well because you are married. Therefore, she does not need to fill out another I-864, you should just document her income in your I-864. You can put your US address in DS-261, but it just means that you will have to communicate for them if they get any notices for evidence and appointments. You need to file a separate application for your mother and father, so the last question does not make sense.

Q: I’ve been married for a year and a half to my high school boyfriend he has been in the US for about 6 years and he filed for me last year so I now have a conditional (2 year) green card. Our relationship has become very violent and we have a lot of money issues on top of that his mother moved in with is to start getting her papers put in, my mother came to visit and he told her she can’t stay, she was so upset and did not want me to stay for fear of my safety. She wants me to leave because we are in a state that I have no family and I know no one. My sisters live in the US too and want me to move in with them. Is that a wise decision?

A: You can move in with your sister if you wish. If the marriage was entered in good intentions and legitimate, you can still get a permanent GC after 2 years if you can prove that the marriage was real and that you tried your best but your spouse changed and became impossible for you to continue the marriage. Document the violence through police reports. Collect evidence on your marriage and then move away and file for divorce/separation.

Q: I am a US citizen. I want to sponsor green card for my brother. However my sister-in-law (brother’s wife) is applying for H1B visa and my brother is planning to accompany her to US on H4 visa. Can I still pursue I-130 option for my brother? Will there be any problem for H1B/H4 visas for his family, if I apply for I-130 for my brother?

A: Your brother should come to America on H4 and you should apply for his I-130 at the same time. His priority date is going to be a long ways from now so it does not really matter. Also H-1 visas are considered dual intent meaning that if someone were to apply for permanent immigration while on H-1 it is ok even though the H-1 is a temporary non-immigrant visa. This is how people who have H-1B visas get green cards after some time.

Q: I have questions regarding petitioning for parents. My wife is petitioning for her parents to come to the US. We are both US citizens. We received a letter with the NVC case number and we paid the Affidavid of Support fee of $88 online back in May but have not heard anything from NVC. Our next step is to complete the form i-864. My question is should we wait for them to send us information on i-864 and where to send or just go ahead and complete i-864 forms and send them in?

A: You said you have not heard anything, not even a notice of action? If that is the case, I would advise you not to send anything until you are sure your applications are being processed.

Q: My partner recently got naturalized and now we are working towards filing my application for Green Card. We have consulted a lawyer for initial questions but I still had some queries therefore writing here as well. I entered US in a B1/B2 Visa in 2010 and got married in a few months to my then Permanent Resident partner. Then I applied for change of status and and got approved for F1 Visa, since then I have been maintaining my F1 status and have been studying at a very reputed university, but haven’t travelled outside the US so I do not have the stamping of F1 on my passport. We have been married for 4 years already and are expecting our first child in a few months. What I am concerned about is that if the USCIS could potentially be strict to me about entering as B1/B2 and changing status to F1, getting married to PR holder and how applying for PR? We didn’t have a very large wedding just a simple one at a temple with very few relatives and don’t even have pictures from the wedding as it was done in a rush. But we do have lots of pictures of us together since the last 4 years with our families and friends. Could that play against me? 

Also, so while sending the supporting documents along with my application do I send the pictures of us together and with out families as well or do I just take that with me to the interview?

A: As long as you did not marry your LPR spouse immediately after you entered the country, and the marriage is genuine, I don’t think your case will have any problems. Keep in mind that the USCIS are very forgiving on minor visa violations if the marriage is real.

Q: I just found this website ,my interview was last WED. The immigration officer asked my hussy lots of question and my self only 2 I have 2 step kids they also have to go with us for the interview officer ask the kids lots of Q She took I 94 and wrote in the passport A # I485 pending her name and the date we went. She said we will hear within a month. I am so stress out with this long waiting.Help

A: Just keep waiting, but usually the interviewer lets you know of the result right after if it was successful. It sounds like there could be some issues.

Q: Hi , in 2010 my sister (us citizen) applied for me under category f4.
I’m 35 and married. About 2 months ago , my mother became an us citizen and applied for me under category f3.
My question is: Can I upgrade my visa category from f4 to f3 to shave off some wait time? If so, who do I contact? 

A: No, the petition and the category that it was filed under do not change. You just need to file another petition and re-do everything through your mother’s petition. You will have 2 petitions going at the same time in parallel.

Q: I filed I-130 for my brother and it is currently pending (initial review). I don’t expect any issues with approval as it is a fairly simple case. My brother is in Russia and usually comes here every few months for work or a visit with us.1) what additional documents does he need when he applies for B1/B2 while his I-130 is pending?2) can he still get a b1/b2 after it is approved but waiting for PD to become current?3) is the wait time the same for all countries under “
All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed” or it is based on a per-country limit so some may move faster and take less than 12 years?

4) his daughter (my niece) is currently 10 years old and a derivative on I-130. Since I-130 will be approved within the next few months does it mean she can’t age out anymore (based on approval) or the age-out is based on the PD becoming current timeline?

A: He does not need additional documents when applying for B1/B2 however he should be honest that there is a I-130 petition for him out there; the USCIS will find out if he does not disclose. He can definitely still apply for B1/B2 visas since his Priority Date is likely to be very many years from now. The same wait times (priority dates) apply to all countries. No. She can age out when waiting for PD to be current. She only can’t age out when PD is current and she starts Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status. In fact, you should hope that the I-130 is slower to get approved rather than faster, because due to CSPA the time that the I-130 is pending is subtracted from her age. So for example if I-130 takes 2 years to get approved, then she can’t age out until 23.

Q: In process of my wife’s Parent’s GC. My wife has already gotten I-130 approved. Question on I-864 (Affidavit of support):1. Her income is sufficient for meeting the poverty guidelines. Do I still include my income to make it better than minimum needed? 
2. How much more than minimum is “Good”. 
3. Both of us file our taxes joint, so how do we provide the taxable income in the form I-864?

A: No, if her own income is enough there really isn’t a need. Make sure it isn’t very close to the minimum otherwise I would include your own as well. There isn’t a set amount that is good above the minimum but just try to make it more than enough. Even if your wife is the only sponsor, she can still use the joint tax return since that is also (and her only) tax return.

Q: I wanted to find out if anyone has ever been waived from a biometrics when removing conditions from Green card. According to one of my friends she called to find out what was going on with her application and they told her she doesn’t have to do the biometrics and will be hearing from them. Any idea why this could be the case? I went through the process and haven’t know any one this has happened to. It just seemed strange to me.

A: Only people over 79 years old do not require biometrics. I think her friend just isn’t giving her good advice.

Q: Can an immediate relative meaning spouse of US Citizen can work immediately after 130 and 1485 have been filed, without the work permit? Would it have adverse effect if the immigration finds the applicant working in his/her social security number which he/she already has because of being international student going to college but not authorized for work. Please give me kind responses. Thank You.

A: No, you cannot work until you receive the EAD card. Working without it is illegal and risky. However, chances of your application getting denied because the individual who entered the country legally but is working without authorization, is low. Also, most places require work authorization documents. If she is being hired to work under the table (cash salary only), then nobody would even find out.

Q: My sister who has a Green Card only would like to file for her divorced daughter. Can she file the petition? She is 32 years old and was divorced three years ago.

A: Yes, divorce status is not a big deal. For USCIS this simply means single, unmarried. She will be in the F-2B preference category.

Q: My girl friend went to USA with her family as single. she was pregnant 9th month she took birth there 5month ago in usa , and took her green card after 1 month. Now she come back to Afghanistan to marry me and submit our case. We just don’t know how we should start? and how long the process will take? What Is need to prove our marriage?

A: Your wife will have to petition you to immigrate to america. She needs to file I-130 and because she is not a citizen, you will be placed in the F-2 preference category and there is a limit of green cards issued per year, meaning that you will have to wait for some time until your priority date becomes current. The current cut off date is Feb 1, 2013. So you are looking at more than 1 years wait to start your green card processing. You will need marriage certificate to prove your marriage, possibly some documents demonstrating joint ownership of assets and money.

Q: My friends mothers Family based GC got denied, I don’t no the reason why. My quest is what will happen her B2 visa(tourist) since she stayed here about a year. any ideas??. she already left the usa now with in 30 days of denial. Her B2 will be valid or not? Can c travel again using that previous B2 Visa?
Thanks all.

A: Her B2 is valid until the date of expiration. She stayed more than 6 months due to pending GC application. Since it was denied and she left right after, this is not violating her B-2 stay. So if she wants to come back again, and the B-2 visa is not expired, there is no problem.

Q: I am an Australian Citizen marrying a US GC holder. I want to know what happens next. Can I move there on some sort of temp visa and work (start my life) while waiting for GC? She will be Citizen in Feb 2016. what are my options. I am traveling there on Visa waiver to get married. I will return to Australia after. Thank you

A: No you cannot. There is no such temp visa. You either apply as a spouse of a permanent resident, which has a more than 1 year wait to start processing, or you wait until Feb 2016 after she receives citizenship to apply as a spouse of a citizen, which would be 3-9 months processing. Another method is to do a K-1 visa after Feb 2016 and you can come to US to live and work within 3-6 months.

Q: I recently filed for my mom to the Nebraska Service Center: My mom is with me on Tourist Visa for next 5 months. I was confused as to whether I can file her AOS alongside I-130, so I error’d on the side of caution and did not apply for AOS, assuming that CP (counselor processing) would be right course. a) Is my assumption as for CP, right? (that I cannot apply for her AOS from here)
b) How long is it taking these days for hopefully an approval of I-13o? (USCIS site says 5 mo)

A: You can apply AOS for her because she is already in America. CP is for people who are not in the country. However, because she entered on a tourist visa, if you start the AOS process too soon, it will be denied because she falsely entered the country as a tourist with an intention to immigrate. Assuming your I-130 is approved, it is anywhere fro 3-9 months.

Q: I’m a French citizen. If I come to the US after having got married as we know during the first two years I’ll have a conditional permanent resident status. If during these two years, I’ll be studying in a different state than where the residence of my wife is, would this bring my chance of having the “unconditional” status removed to zero? We will naturally be visiting each other as much as we can (as we do now as she flies here from New York to Paris almost every month).

A: There isn’t any monitoring of your conditional status. You can do whatever you want in the marriage as long as it is real and genuine. Just make sure you document all visits and stays together with photos, travel receipts etc. And a good reason.

Q: Can someone tell me how long does it take to received your green card after entered the US? I arrived on the 28th of Oct 2014. I just wanna know how long it takes to receive my green card. 

A: After paying the immigration fee, it make take up to 3 months to receive the physical card in the mail. Your endorsed visa in the passport is valid for 1 year as a temporary Green Card, so you don’t really have to wait for the actual card.


Q: An american citizen who sponsor his father (or mother) once the petition approved, can one parent also bring their spouse? An American citizen only file 1 I-130 for both parents? or 2 separate I-131 needs to be filed? if need to be filled separate I-130 for both, do I need to send 1 fees or 2 fees?

A: You cannot file for just your mother or father and use derivative status to file for the other parent. You must submit an I-130 for each parent and also pay for each fee separately. It would be as if you are doing 2 applications at the same time. Yes, this means double the application costs.

Q: My aunt wants to bring my grandmom (her mother) to the states via immigration, so that my grandmom can apply for my father and then my father can apply for us. Will this process work. If so, how long on a average could it take?

A: Your grandmom can get it fastest within 1 year assuming no complications. Your grandmother, however, needs to become a citizen herself to be able to sponsor your father since I assume your father and mother are married. This takes another 5 years. If your father is unmarried, then your grandmother could sponsor your father right away but the wait is 6 years currently. And then after that, your father can sponsor you, but because he will be a permanent resident only, and I assume you will be unmarried, it will be another 6 years for you, unless Dept of State starts processing visas faster which is unlikely.

Q: If you choose to withdraw your I-130 application before it is approved, will USCIS consider your reasons for doing so? Or will they accept the simple statement “I would like to withdraw my application” and ask no further questions?

A: You don’t even need to give any statements. Just do not continue the process and the application will be automatically terminated. There is no issues and the USCIS doesn’t care about it at all. You are the one that loses the fees.

Q: I’d like to apply for green card for my brother now who is residing outside USA. I think I need to apply for I-130 first and wait for approval which may take 10 years or so? I was planning to ask him to come to USA with his tourist visa next month and then apply but I can’t have him stay here illegally for 10+ years. He has his MBA education and speaks 3 languages. Can we apply for employment authorization card after filing I-130 or should we wait for approval first? And which one takes 10+ years: 1-130 or I-485?

Or, should I apply when he is in our country? I think there are 2 years left on his 10 year B1 visa. Can he come to US in the meanwhile when my I-130 application is pending? Can he apply for another tourist visa after this one expires while I-130 is under process? 

A: The I-130 gets approved within 1 month, but the problem is your brother is in the F4 category which has a 10+ year wait to get a visa. This means that even though he has an approved I-130, the Dept of State won’t start processing his visa until 10 years later. He cannot get EAD or any immigration benefit while waiting for the visa. You can start the I-485 AFTER he receives the visa and assuming he is in America already and will do AOS. Your plan is not going to work. Tourist visas lets the person stay at most 1 year with extension. Just forget about it; he will have to stay in his home country for a long time.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen and my mother is currently living in RO. She has visited me before in TX, and only stayed for a couple of months. I have been reading about the neccessary forms to bring her over and Ive found out about concurrent filing and how for parents of us citizens, a visa number is readily available. I have already filled in I-130 and was filling in I-485 for her as well, but on the last page it seems her signature is required. I put down my name and signature as the person who translated and filled in the form, but not sure if the form has to be signed by her personally. If so, I will have to mail her the form and then have it mailed back to me. Also on the form is specifies that the form is to be filled in while the beneficiary is in the US, but she isn’t sothat brings up the question if I should even fill it in for her. I certainly don’t want to fly her over here on her visitor visa and then apply for I-485. I read that that’s actually not a goood idea…is it? I wrote the checks and I am working on my 864 and 864a forms, not concerned with those tho. I just wanted to mail everything out along with g1145 and be done with papers for a while. Now it seems I have to go through baby steps. Does she have to personally sign I-485 or can I fill it in for her? What’s the point of concurrent filing if I can’t do the paperwork for her. Would love to know more, thanks

A: Concurrent I-130 and I-485 filing is for people who are already in America and will do AOS. Your mother is in Romania and therefore needs to go through Consular Processing. She can receive a green card visa to come to America after everything is approved. Check out my guide on Consular Processing. You are right that you should not ask her to come on a tourist visa and do AOS; this is considered immigration fraud unless you wait more than 90 days after her entry to begin filing.

Q: I have quesitons about the I-864 for my Dad:

Part 3. Information on Immigrant you are sponsoring.
Family Member 1 – Dad info ( Not mentioning Mom here since separate 864 for her)

Part 4. Information on Sponsor.
5.Country of Domicile – USA?

Part 5. Sponsor’s Household size
1. Enter number you entered on line 7 part 3 = 1
2. Person NOT sponsored in this affidavit.Yourself (1)
3.Spouse (1)
4.Dependents (2)
5.If you have any other dependents enter here ( I selected 1 for Mom – is that right or leave it)?
8- Total household size =6 ( or should be 5)

Part 6. Sponsors Income 
13a. Total income is Wage on W2?

A: You would check Yes in Part 3 #1, and not check Part 3 #2, and leave Part 3 #2-6 (the “Family members”) blank. Yes, the sponsor is you and you live in America. Part 5-5, your mom should be not on there because you are bringing her over as well and she is not yet a dependent. Part 6 is stated on your tax return, not W2. Look for the line of Total Income (usually first line).

Q: Hi, I am in the middle of processing my adjustment of status in the US. My daughter is a USC and was the one who petitioned me. I have a scheduled interview date coming and my concern is, my other child is undocumented (over 18 years). How will this impact my green card application? Will the officer ask about this? I am not only worried that this may cause the denial of my green card application but it may also cause the deportation of my other child. Please advise..

A: You are fine; the USCIS does not do a check on your relatives if you are the beneficiary. The application only required you to fill out your complete family history because they want to know, not that they will check up on everyone. Your son’s presence in America has no impact on your situation and application. Especially that he is an adult, you have absolutely no responsibility on his illegal immigration status. Your son, however, will have serious issues when trying to get a green card.

Q: Hi guys, as the subject states, my wife and I have our I-485 interview in a few weeks. I am the petitioner and I have had a few run-ins with the law that are now behind me. I know USCIS probably ran a background check on me or whatever, but my question is this:

Our interview notice says to bring arrest records “if you have ever been arrested.” The entire notice uses the pronoun “you” referring to the alien relative. However, since this is a little unclear to me, does this mean both the USC and the alien relative have to bring arrest records? My wife (the alien relative) has never been arrested, but I have a few times in college and would need some time to get all of the necessary documentation they are requesting.

A: You are correct; the applications are asking for your wife’s criminal background and history, not yours. Yours have no impact on the application because they are more worried about your wife committing immigration fraud by marrying you just for a green card.

Q: Hi all, I have been married to my U.S. citizen wife for more than one year. Our marriage was in November 2013. Right now I’m still waiting to be scheduled for an interview. I know it’s a crazy wait because my case was transferred to the MSC. USCIS said they would give me a new update on my case by January 6. I have been in business school since August 2013 (before my wedding) and I’m both studying and working part-time right now. I have an EAD card. However, next semester I want to work full-time and postpone my study to earn more money then I will get back to the school later on to finish my MBA degree. I really really want to get this full-time job right now because this opportunity may not come again but I thought that it might cause my case look suspicious even though my marriage is legit. Should I take the job and postpone school or keep going to school until I get approved for the green card? Kind of a difficult decision to make. Any advises would be greatly appreciated. Thank all and merry Christmas!

A: You have studied for 1 year and that is enough to be considered a solid attempt at being a student on a F-1 visa. Given that you have a pending AOS application with an approved EAD card for employment, I don’t see why you need to stay in school. Go ahead and take the job, when you applied for AOS, technically you are not on the F-1 visa anymore; you are in a limbo pending application status.

Q: I recently applied I-751,ROC of my conditional green card and received the i-797 (Notice of Action) saying my green card has been extended for one year. But there’s no exact expiration date on the letter. I just received a job offer and the employer required documents with a specific ending date of my green card in writing. By providing both of my green card and the receipt letter is not enough. Can I obtain documentation with a expiration date of green card? and how? If anyone met situation similar to mine, your advice is greatly appreciated.

A: Usually the 1 year extension is given as soon as you apply for the removal of condition on your green card. It gives USCIS some more time to carefully analyze your case. Your employer is asking for something that is simply not available. The USCIS has not yet determined if you can receive a permanent green card yet, so they won’t issue you some kind of new document that specifies a new end date. Your employer does not fully understand your situation. You need to explain to them that your green card is valid for another year after the date of expiration due to your on-going I-751 application. Tell them to ask a real immigration lawyer about it.

Q: What will happen to file if petitioner(sponsor) dies before visa process is completed.

A: For marriage type applications, it becomes a widow application. For some other ones, such as F4 categories, the application is terminated.

Q: My sister is a USC and her husbands approved for his I-130 but after waiting 1 year for approval while wife was with kids in united states, they decided it was too long and he came to united states through Canada. They did not stamp/scan passport when he crossed with my sister,him and kids but looked at passports at crossing. They recently went to lawyer for help. He suggested that is was best to file I-485 while in united states instead of going back since he overstayed and could create issue. I filled out his I-130 forms and did all my N-600 forms that were approved. Is the I-485 something that a lawyer needs to handle or could it this be filed without much issue. Any things that make it difficult. Any help is appreciated.

A: I-485 is very straight forward as long as you have all the supporting documents. However in this case there is an overstay/illegal status because he came on a visitor visa and have not left. You may have to get a lawyer to explain this aspect of the case. Typically for a visa overstay, marriage to USC can still be approved and the overstay forgiven.

Q: My brother filled I-130 for me when I am outside of US in two years ago. I think it is F4 visa. Recently, I come and work inside US under the visa L1B at California. When my brother sent this form, there is no information about my I-94 and some relating information about my employer that I am working on. So I want to update this form with I-94 info and some relating information about my employer and hopefully my document will be process faster. So, please tell me what I should do now? Thank you so much.

A: There is no need to update your I-94. You entered on L1 and that is what your I-94 is for. I-94 will simply state that you can stay in the US for the duration of your L1 visa. The information on the I-94 is already linked to your L1 visa. The I-130 from your brother is completely irrelevant and also it will take 12+ years for you to even begin to worry about the process.

Q: I came in to the US with a B2 Visa to visit my wife (GC holder), daughter and our new born baby. Being around, my wife decided to go back to school which she put on hold due to the pregnancy; but my visa is expiring two months before her final exams and she really needs help with her studies and the kids. Can I still stay in the US legally if she petitions for my Green Card even after my visa expires?

A: No, you don’t have a status to stay in the US while your green card application is pending. The spouse of a green card wait time is more than 1 year.

Q: I applied for my brother and his family, according to the USCIS website, the processing time frame is March/2011; I applied for them in May/2011.

Does it mean that they will be called for an interview in about 2 months? 

What should I expect in 2 months from now?

A: You must be mistaken. Your brother and his family won’t receive anything to proceed with the green card application for more than 10 years. The I-130 may be approved within a few months, but that does not mean anything. It just means that your brother is now officially on a 12+ year waiting list to get into America.

Q: The letter from from NVC states that “If a period of one year passes without contacting the NVC (by email, telephone, or mail), all submitted fees and documents will expire”

My question is, when is the period of one year? Is it from the priority date? TIA

A: The date on the letter.

Q: I’m about to file I-485 with an approved I-130 since 2010. Do I still need to do medical examination? Also, I’ve been married since 2010. In your opinion which GC will they issue me? Conditional or Permanent?

A: They will issue you a permanent GC because you have been married for over 2 years. You still need to do the medical examination.

Q: I am a naturalized US citizen. I will be filing I-130 for my parents soon. I have two brothers , 17 years old and 8 Years Old and are now living with my parents abroad.
1- Is is possible to bring my brothers with my parents? or Do I need to file I-130 for them too? 
2-how long it takes for both scenarios?
3- any idea what will happen if the older brother becomes over 21 while waiting for interview?
4- i heard about a way to petition brothers through i-824, any body has an idea?
Can you please post if any of you have knowledge about this? I will appreciate your help.

A: 1. no, unfortunately your brothers must apply under the F-4 category which has a 12+ year wait. You need to file separate I-130 for them. 2. for your parents, it should not take more than 9 months. 3. Your brother will most definitely become over 21 while waiting for the interview, the wait is 12+ years. 4. I-824 is for further action, such as getting a copy of the approved notice, a copy of I-192, etc, basically for administrative purposes. There is no scenario in which I-824 will cut down the 12+ year wait for your brothers.

Q: I am naturalized British citizen from Pakistani origin. I entered USA as green card holder through F4 in September 2012 and left USA in August 2013. I left due to my wife’s pregnancy (my wife and two older kids also had green card) and sickness because we didn’t have enough help available in USA, without re-entry permit. I was blessed with twins in September 2013. Due to some health complications with one of the twin, we couldn’t return back to USA within the time period. Therefore we overstayed our allowed time to be out of USA. Now that things are back to normal and we want to go back to USA.

I did bit of research over the internet and found that I will have to apply for the Resident Return Visa at my nearest US consulate. I was wondering what is the best way? Specially at this stage I want to travel by myself to sort out things and then have my family traveled to USA. 

What documentation do I need and secondly is it good idea to apply RRV just for myself as test case if approved then apply for the rest of the family? Or what is the best way to go about it? Any similar experience? 

A: Apply for it normally and submit a detailed explanation with the medical reasons why you had to stay aboard. Make sure you have all the necessary papers from hospital and doctors to serve as evidence that the health issues were serious and that you only stayed so long due to situations out of your control. Just apply it for the whole family or whoever is really intending on immigrating to America. If there is a person who just wants a green card because they want to talk about it during lunch with friends, I would avoid adding that person to the application.

Q: I am a US citizen living in Belgium and married to my Belgian husband. We have petitioned for a permanent residency. The petition was approved on Dec 17th and sent to the NVC. 

Does anyone have any idea how long the average time frame from the NVC receiving the petition to the approval of the green card and receiving the green card? 

A: This completely varies and unfortunately there is no good estimates. Likely another 3-6 months.

58 thoughts on “Family Based Green Cards Common Questions and Answers – Part Three

  1. Daniel

    I am about to apply for adjustment of Status based on marriage to a US citizen (concurrent filing). I was subject to the 2-year HRR after a J-1 visa. I went back to Argentina for over two years and fulfilled the requirement (I came back to the U.S. as a tourist occasionally, but the total amount of days in my country is still over two years).

    Now I don’t know when to prove that I fulfilled the requirement. Should I send the evidence with my I-485 application or wait until asked to provide it? Also, how strict are they? I have some evidence like pay stubs, bills, credit card statements, letters from employers and passport stamps proving I was residing and working in my country. Would that be enough?

    I know that not fulfilling the requirement implies that my AOS will be denied, so I’m really anxious about the situation. I really appreciate any advice you can give me.

    1. admin Post author

      You don’t have to send any proof; they will investigate it themselves. They will check how many days you were out of the USA and if it totals to be more than 2 years, you should be fine.

  2. Korky Buchek

    Here’s a complicated situation that we could sure use a hand with:
    My wife, the petitioner-to-be, is USC, 32 years old, whose parents both live in Belarus (my wife’s home country). We want both of the parents to stay here in the US, without having to travel back to Belarus. Her mother arrived here on October 3, 2014. Her father will arrive here on Feb 2, 2015. Both are travelling on B-2 visas, and this is their THIRD journey to the US on those same visas. We plan to honor the 90-day suggestion, even though this is their third journey. Ideally, submitting both parents’ applications at the same time makes the most sense. However, we cannot do that and honor the 90-day waiting period, before the mother will have overstayed her 6 month visit (in the beginning of April 2015). We definitely wouldn’t do her mother’s I-130 prior to her father arriving, or even that soon after he arrives. What would be the best course of action to take?

    1. admin Post author

      You don’t have to submit both at the same time. Each parent’s application is considered completely separate. I wouldn’t risk it based solely on submitting on the same time because if you submit before 90 days and are denied, you would have more problems.



    1. admin Post author


  4. guerdy

    I’m a us citizen I want to sponsor Gc for my mom who is living with me I us.i have to send only I 30 and I 485 only please.

    1. admin Post author

      There are more forms needed. Also filing I-130 and I-485 concurrently is only if your mom is already in America; otherwise you cannot file concurrently.

  5. Tina Black

    I am a us citizen and my husband is a green card holder. we been marry for 3 year on may and he hold his card for one year in Aug. I have two question they will go together. can my husband file citizenship now since we been living together and marry for 3 year or is it possible to file his 8 year old niece because we want to abdot her as our own. we wants to know the best way. I was born in the usa. Please any advise will be helpful.

    1. admin Post author

      the niece needs to be legally adopted to be able to file for her GC. Your husband can file for citizenship after having 3 years of permanent residence.

  6. shely

    I just became a usc, my husband is active duty and will deploy in june 2016, we have a daughter and i know i will need help. I want to apply for my mother i-130, however her case is tricky. Back in 11/05 she had an immigration interview for her gc(husband filed) and was denied and was prohibited for 10 years . Can i apply for her now and will she receive any faster processing due to our military situation??

    1. admin Post author

      the military situation does not do anything. she can try again now that the ban has expired.

  7. Usun Pryszcze

    I delight in, lead to I found exactly what I uused to be
    having a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt!

    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  8. Anum Sami

    hello, my situation is that my aunt (mother’s sister) applied for her sister under f4 category in 2001 in 2013 her priority date got current, but i got married in 2011and moved to Norway (from Pakistan) and i couldn’t migrate with my parents and siblings to the US. my aunt at that time wrote a letter to the USCIS requesting to change my category (due to change in status) and maintain the same priority date. now my question is that when my parents will apply for me after their citizenship, is there any chance that my older priority date is considered (i.e. 2001)

    1. admin Post author

      No, your older application is not valid because you got married. When your parents apply for your GC you will get a new priority date.

  9. Mother

    My daughter filed I-130 for me and was approved. She is now collecting her financial documents for the AOS. However, she was on maternity leave for 3 months and has only one W-2 since just started working. Will one (1) W-2 sufficient including her Certificate of Employment so she can proceed with the process? Will appreciate reply.

    1. admin Post author

      Generally you need 3 years. You can try with what you have.

  10. kawsar ahmed

    i am from bangladesh. my uncle American citizenshi. he applyed our full family f4 visa. priority date:15august2005. this visa processing our takeing time how many years? please help me?

  11. josephine

    I came here in the USA as a fiancé’ with my 3yrs old daughter do I have to submit I-485 separate form for her? Thank you.

    1. admin Post author

      Yes your daughter requires her own AOS application, a separate I-485.

  12. Regina

    My mother just got her green card one month ago, can she file in for my sister and I?
    If yes, please what are the requirements

    1. admin Post author

      If you are under 21 and unmarried, yes. Requirements are the documents necessary as instructed on I-130.

  13. Dilainy

    My boyfriend and I have not been together for over a year but we recently got engaged. Do we have to wait the two year period before applying for a K-1 visa?

    1. admin Post author

      I don’t believe there is a minimum time requirement for K1 visa.

  14. Eva

    Hi, my mom has been a green card holder for a long time. She ‘s has been travering to her home country back and forth. Unfortunately things made her stay in her home country for couple of year. She would like to come back for a visit. What paperwork does she need to come back? Is her green card still good?

    1. admin Post author

      SB-1. GC could be taken away when she returns.

  15. maria

    my husbant applied for me I-130, he is not us citizen, but my petition was sent to NVC ? i m inside us since 18 months and we have a baby.
    is it normal that my petition was sent to NVC ?
    if not what can i do ?

    1. admin Post author

      Yes, immigrant visas are processed through NVC

  16. jyothi

    I am recently married to an American, we are applying for the adjustment, but the problem we are facing is, he is a realtor and so does not have a stable job, and last year he was out of country for 7 months, however his net income comes about 22000, but while filing his tax, his accountant added expenses and losses , so his gross income is way too less.
    We are trying to file amended tax return, ( it will cost too much money -something we were not prepared for)and also now he has a stable job. he is been working for a month now.
    So is there any other way to prove that he can support me.

    1. admin Post author

      You can get friends or relatives to file I-864 Joint sponsor support to meet the financial requirements.

  17. ahonsi solomon

    your site has really been helpful to a lot of people, thank you, i would like to ask, My uncle is a US citizen and he filed the 1-130 for my mother about 2004 she included me and my twin brother name, we where 15 years at then and it was approved in 2010, i just clocked 21 years in 2010, she got a call from her brother saying her green card was ready and she was called to submit her forms which she did already, all i want to know is that, now that we clock 28 years and unmarried, because the filing took about 13 years to process, does that mean i will not be able to accompany my mother to the United states because i am over aged? because i was told my mum will have to go to the embassy first, and then tell them about her children before we can apply for our own visa, will our age become a problem?? please tell me how it works..thank you so much

  18. Nancy

    I am married to an illegal alien and he has 2 kids prior to our marriage but his kids mother summons him with court papers about custody for the kids if my husband gives all his rights away as a father and I summit his green card process will that have an affect in the status of him becoming legal in the usa

    1. admin Post author

      Depends on how illegal his stay here. If it is just overstay tourist visa its ok but anything else you need a lawyer. He does not need to give up custody to his kids, that wouldn’t help the application.

  19. Mike Cha

    I applied for two of my brothers separately and sent the forms I-130 separately. For each one when the time comes, I will issue Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. But does that mean my household income is equal to or higher than 125 percent of the U.S. poverty level for my household size for each one separately? Or should I have double the amount since there are two brothers? By the way I filed for one 3 months after the other brother.

    1. admin Post author

      Whatever your household size is at the time of filing I-864 is what you need to use.

  20. Sam

    I am a USA citizen and I applied for my sister who is also here. Her case has been approved but no green card yet.

    She is now married to a USA citizen who can’t to do another filling for her as a wife, can she go ahead and apply for adjustment of status since her case has already been approved?

    1. admin Post author

      You are mistaken, her visa wouldn’t be processed for 10+ years. She cannot stay in the US legally while waiting for the GC. Not sure why her husband can’t file for her, because if the husband files, she can stay legally while waiting for the USCIS process.

  21. ala olimat

    Hi, am an American citizen and I married Jordanian, am filling out I 130 for my two children ( 4 years and 1.5 year old), is there any additional forms should I fill ?
    beside am confusing about the way I should fill part 5 in the form (if I previously fill a petition before, I did it for my parents, my brother, and my husband).
    and how I can check my husband visa status ?it’s keep telling me “administrative process”, how can I know if USCIS terminate his application because I started the whole process in 2010 and I changed two sponsors because of they income and am looking for new one, and last sponsor was in 2013.

    1. admin Post author

      If the application is terminated, it will say so. It won’t be pending.

  22. Titi

    Hi, I hope you can help out. I eant my Fiance to come over to tbe US permanently but he has a tourist visa and I have a green card. What my options. Can he come and then we do the court and other rights hereand then file the I-130 form. Please can you advise me on what to do?

    1. admin Post author

      There is no way your fiance can come here and wait to get a GC through you, because you are not a US citizen. GC holders filing for their spouse are in the F2A category and the visa is not immediately available.

  23. Annabelle

    I am currently married to a US citizen right now and we filed a adjustment of status for me. we received a letter from immigration asking for sponsor in a span of 90 days coz he did not meet the exceed poverty line. and we could not find any since his parents was disabled and no work. and now the 90 days is over, are they going to deny my application? if so can we apply again next year without a sponsor since my husband is currently working this year and we think that he might passed the poverty line?

    1. admin Post author

      You will always need a sponsor, your husband generally is the sponsor, and you may need joint sponsor if his income alone is not enough. Yes they will probably return your application since you did not respond in time. You can apply again next year but I am not sure what kind of status you plan on using in the mean time.

  24. Ozman Mojidi

    My father has been trying to force me to file a gc application for him, I don’t want to because of our nonexistent relationship. He somehow got my number (I blocked his number) and has left numerous messages in past few months. Before blocking his number he was calling upwards of a dozen times per day. Several of my family members on his side have been calling me and harassing me. I quit answering unknown numbers. I fear that my father might start stalking me. What are my options? I’m considering filling several restraining orders against my father and several family members.

  25. Bonnie Blake


    My husband and I are both in USA on GCs; we plan on apply for naturalization soon since we have been here for more than 5 years on GC. We want to sponsor our 23-yr old son who lives in Canada for I-30 and then for GC. My questions are: a) does he have to live in the USA after getting I30 visa? and b) what happens if he changes his mind and does not want to come to USA after getting I30 visa? Would it hinder him later to apply for GC?

    Thank you!

    1. admin Post author

      He can choose not to follow through the I-130 petition and just abandon the application. Later when he does want to apply for GC you can just restart the process.

  26. Ayodele olayiwola

    Hello. Can somebody with a Green Card of 10years who entered US 8months ago through visa lottery from an Africa country file immigration papers someone?

    1. admin Post author


  27. Verna

    I filed to petition my husband and 1y/o son as f2a category. The thing is my son’spriority date is on March 2017 while my husband is Nov 2017 due to fee issues. The question is, when my son’s priority date became current, can my husband have his papers processed together with my son?

    1. admin Post author

      I don’t think so.

  28. Mery

    Hi i was divorced over a year and have 10yr green card. I’ve been on welfare benefits since then. I would like ivite my mother (80yrs old) and sister (43yrs old) a tourist visa. Is there possible chance they might get denied because of my welfare benefit?

    1. admin Post author

      No, if they get denied it would be something else.

  29. Tanveer

    Hi, My father a filled a petition for me F3 Category and I have a wait of over 6 to 12 month remaining. When my petition was filed I had a wife and one kid but 3 years after filing the petition I had another child. So what should I do about the undocumented child. Shout i report it to NVC or what

    1. admin Post author

      Yes, they will instruct you further.

  30. James Daniel

    My sister will be an American citizen next year, She will be filling a petition for me The brother and with my o1 visa, I am just asking if we can apply for status adjustment I-485 concurrently and how long it takes to have a green card for a status adjustment case?

    1. admin Post author

      O1 visa will take you to get your GC much faster than the 10+ year wait you need for your sister’s sponsorship. There is really no point for your sister to sponsor you if you have a O1 visa. Just use the O1.

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