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Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

Individuals who marry a U.S. citizen can immediately file for permanent residence based on the marriage. All USCIS forms should be downloaded from uscis.gov. You should also carefully review the instructions provided by USCIS for each form. Check that website for the proper filing location as well. The application is submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Documentation should be submitted in the following order:

  1. Money order(s) or certified check(s) for filing fees. (See fee amounts in items 2 and 9.)

  2. Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence.) ($1,070.00 fee, which includes fingerprinting. Each dependent must file a separate I-485. The fee for for each is $635.00.

  3. Two color photographs of husband and two color photographs of wife, each in accord with the instruction sheet. Print names on reverse side in pencil, place in separate envelope and staple the envelope to a separate sheet of paper. (When having photos taken, show the instruction sheet to the studio to be sure the photos will meet requirements.)

  4. Birth certificate of beneficiary showing parents' names (photocopy). Passport is NOT acceptable as a birth certificate. Foreign language certificates must be translated, with translator's certification.

  5. Form I-864 (see Affidavit of Support page). Documentation does not have to be complete at time of application; detailed and up-to-date supporting documentation may be brought to the interview.

  6. Report of medical examination (sealed)(I-693). A list of certified USCIS Civil Surgeons should be sent to you with your forms or it can be obtained by calling the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283. The list is also available at uscis.gov.

  7. Complete photocopy of each passport issued to the foreign national. Include blank pages and cover pages.

  8. Photocopy of both sides of the I-94. Statement of all prior periods of stay and visa statuses in the U.S. including copies of related documents (I-20s, DS-2019s, I-797s), if possible, and a waiver letter, if J-1 is subject to the two-year home residency requirement.

  9. Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). ($420.00 fee - certified check or money order).

  10. Birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport of U.S. citizen (photocopy).

  11. Marriage license (photocopy).

  12. Divorce decree(s) and/or death certificate(s) from all prior marriages for petitioner and beneficiary (photocopies).

  13. Form G-325A (Biographic Information) for both husband and wife.

Work Authorization

If you wish to obtain work authorization while the I-485 application is pending, you should submit the I-765 with your I-485 application. There is no additional fee. Eligibility in #16 should be indicated as (c)(9). Supporting documentation should include a copy of the biographic page from your passport and extension page, if applicable, copy of your most recent visa, front and back of current I-94 card and a copy of any prior EAD cards.

Advance Parole

If you do not hold a valid H or L visa in your passport, you should also submit an I-131 Advance Parole application with your I-485 application to allow you to travel outside the U.S. while your I-485 is pending. Those who do not hold H or L status will abandon the I-485 if they leave the U.S. without an advance parole document obtained per approval of the I-131 application. There is no additional fee for this document. The supporting documentation is the same as that required for the I-765 application.

K-1 Applicants

K-1 applicants will have already provided some of the above documentation as part of their I-129K petition. They do not need to submit birth certificates, death or divorce decrees, G-325A (Biographic Information) for the U.S. spouse, I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), or medical examination.