As the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen, you are what immigration law calls an “immediate relative.” That means that if you’re living in the United States after a legal, nonfraudulent entry, you can apply for legal permanent residence (your “green card”) right away.
Applying for your green card will be a two-step process. First, you’ll submit all the paperwork for your green card to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles such applications.
Your paperwork will include both an I-130 visa petition that your U.S. citizen spouse will prepare for you, and the adjustment of status application on Form I-485 with supporting forms and documents. Some months later, you’ll attend an interview at a USCIS office.
You cannot submit this application in person, but must mail it to USCIS at an office that it calls a Lockbox. Make a complete copy of every form, document, check or money order (be sure to copy the backs if you’ve written information on them), and photo in your packet, then send it to the address given on the USCIS website.
After that, you’ll wait to receive an appointment to have your biometrics (fingerprints) taken, and for your actual interview appointment. At the interview, a USCIS officer will meet with you and, if all is in order, approve your application for a green card. USCIS will send you a list of what you’ll need to bring for your interview.
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