You married a US citizen, congratulations!

The good news is that having a US citizen spouse is one of the fastest and most failsafe routes to permanent resident status.  The bad news is that the route is littered with a slough of confusing hurdles and requirements.

To make things easier, here’s a breakdown of items you need to apply.

Application Forms

You must submit Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. This must be accompanied by completed Forms G-325A Biographical Information for each of you and your spouse. You must also complete Form I-864 Affidavit of Support using their income and tax information.

Your spouse must submit Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status. They must be present in the United States to file this form. They must also submit Form G-325A Biographical Information. Most people also wish to obtain a work permit to use while their case is in process; they can obtain one by submitting Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. Also, if they need to travel abroad while their case is in process, they must obtain a travel document (called advance parole) before departing the US. They can obtain the advance parole document by submitting Form I-131 Application for Travel Document.

US Visa Application Forms
You must complete several application forms.

Filing Fees

The US Government charges filing fees for the applications that you file. The filing fee for Form I-130 is $420; for Form I-485 it is $1,070. You must pay each of these fees with a check or money order payable to US Department of Homeland Security. You should use a separate check or money order for each fee. Also, please note that no additional fees are charged for Form I-765 and Form I-131 when you file either or both of these at the same time as Form I-485.

Photographs

You must submit one (1) color passport photo with Form I-130. Your spouse must submit five (5) color passport photos. All photos must be a 2-inch square on a white background. On the back side of each photo, write the person’s name lightly using a pen or pencil. Attach all the photos to the forms by placing them in a small envelope or clear plastic baggie and stapling it to the first page of the forms.

Marriage Certificate

You must submit a copy of your marriage certificate.

Marriage Certificate
You must submit a copy of your marriage certificate.

Proof of Termination of Prior Marriages

You must submit proof that all previous marriages (if any) that either you or your spouse have had in the past were terminated. Submit either a photocopy of the divorce decree if the marriage ended in divorce, or a photocopy of the death certificate if the previous spouse is deceased.

Birth Certificate

Your spouse must submit a photocopy of their Birth Certificate.

Proof of your US Citizenship

Submit either a photocopy of your (1) U.S. birth certificate, (2) naturalization certificate or (3) US passport biographical and signature pages.

Medical Exam Results

Your spouse must submit a medical exam report, completed by a USCIS approved doctor. Medical exams generally cost approximately $50 to $200. You can find an approved doctor in your neighborhood online at Find A Doctor.

Arrival/Departure Record

Form I-485 will ask for your Spouse’s I-94 arrival/departure record. If they most recently entered the US by air or sea before April 2013, the I-94 is the card that was inserted into their passport and they should submit a photocopy of this card (front and back sides). If they entered after April 2013, they can obtain their I-94 number online.

They may submit a printout of this online I-94 record, although this is not required. If they arrived other than by airplane and do not have an I-94 card, they must submit other proof of inspection and admission, such as a copy of a stamped page of their passport.

Visa Page of Passport

Your spouse must submit a copy of the page of his/her passport which contains the visa that was used to enter the United States.

Visa Stamp
Your spouse must submit a copy of their passport page which contains their visa stamp.

Proof of Sponsor’s Income

When you submit Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, you must also submit a photocopy of your most recent federal tax return (IRS forms 1040 and all W2’s). If you believe that your income is borderline, you can also submit additional proof of current year income, which can be either (1) copies of your pay stubs for last six months , or (2) a letter from your employer verifying employment status, date of hire, and salary (or hourly rate and hours worked).

Household Member or Joint Sponsor’s Documents

If your income was less than the threshold (125% of the federal poverty limit), you may have a household member complete Form I-864A Contract between Sponsor and Household Member. If you use this option, you must submit a photocopy of the Household Member’s most recent federal tax return (IRS forms 1040 and all W2’s).

Alternatively, you may find a joint-sponsor. You must have the Joint Sponsor complete and sign Form I-864 Affidavit of Support which you will submit. You must also submit a photocopy of Joint Sponsor’s most recent federal tax return (IRS forms 1040 and all W2’s).

Translations

Any document that you submit in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation. The translator must attach a statement declaring that he or she is competent to translate and that the translation is accurate and complete. The certification format should include the certifier’s name, signature, address, and date of certification.

We hope this helps. Good look on your US visa application!