Documents to Bring to Your Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status Interview

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If you are applying for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence) based on marriage, and doing so while living in the U.S., through the process known as "Adjustment of Status," then you can expect to be called in for a personal interview at a district office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Here is some guidance on what to bring to that interview. You will also receive a list from USCIS, so read it carefully and include anything on that list that you don't see mentioned below.

a. Photo Identification and Passport

You and your spouse will each need to present photo identification. Your passport is best. If you don’t have a passport, use a separate form of photo identification for the interview. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse usually presents a driver’s license.

b. Original Documents and All INS or USCIS Permits

Assemble the originals of the documents you used to enter the United States, and any other documents you’ve received from U.S. consulates or INS or USCIS offices (for example, an Advance Parole travel permit). Also, if you’ve mailed copies of documents to USCIS, such as your marriage and birth certificates, bring the originals.

Your spouse will need to bring the original proof of his or her U.S. citizenship status (a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport) or permanent resident status (a green card or stamp in his or her passport).

The officer may not ask for all of these, but you’ll be glad you brought them if he or she does ask.

c. Updates to Materials in the Application

Has anything important in your life changed since filing the adjustment of status paperwork? If, for example, you or your spouse have a new or different job, bring a letter from the new employer and copies of recent pay stubs. (Of course, your spouse’s income still needs to be high enough to deal with the Affidavit of Support requirements. If it has gone down, you, the immigrant, may be able to help by bringing proof that you are now working in the United States.) If you and your spouse have reached the two-year anniversary of your marriage since filing the application, be ready to remind the officer of this, so you’ll be approved for permanent, not conditional, residency. If a tax year has passed, bring a copy of your latest tax returns (or better yet, an IRS transcript of these returns).

And even if nothing has changed, prove that fact with a recent pay stub showing that the financial sponsor is still bringing in the income.

d. Proof That Your Marriage Is Real

The interview is often the first opportunity that the USCIS officer has to decide whether your marriage is “for real.” The documents that you show are important factors in the decision. They should show that you and your spouse’s lives are intertwined and that you trust each other with your financial and personal matters.

Below is a list of documents most immigrants present. However, this list isn’t engraved in stone. Use your imagination and be ready to do some organized “show-and-tell.” No need to flood the officer with paper—copies of six items from this list would be a reasonable amount.

• rental agreements, leases, or mortgages showing that you live together and/or have leased or bought property in both spouses’ names

• your mutual child’s birth certificate or a doctor’s report saying that one of you is pregnant

• utility bills in both your names

• joint bank statements

• joint credit card statements

• evidence that one spouse has made the other a beneficiary on his/her life or health insurance or retirement account

• auto registrations showing joint ownership and/or addresses

• joint club memberships

• receipts from gifts that you purchased for one another (these should be typical gift purchases, such as jewelry, flowers, or candy)

• letters from friends and family to each or both of you mailed to your joint address

• photos of you and your spouse taken before and during your marriage, including photos from your wedding. (USCIS knows wedding pictures can be faked, but many officers enjoy seeing them anyway.) The photos should, if possible, include parents and other relatives from both families. Write the date taken and a brief description of what the photo shows on the back (or underneath, if you’re photocopying them). Don’t bother with videos of the wedding or other events—there won’t be time or a space to view them.

by: , J.D.

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