Changing your status from a B-1/B-2 visitor visa to a marriage-based green card (lawful permanent residency) in the United States involves a multi-step process. Here’s a general outline of the steps you should follow:
- Marriage: First, you need to get married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The marriage must be genuine, based on love and commitment, and not solely for immigration purposes.
- Eligibility: Make sure you are eligible for adjustment of status through marriage. Generally, you can apply for a green card through marriage if you entered the U.S. legally, even on a tourist visa. However, if you are in the U.S. without legal status, the process can be more complicated and may require a waiver.
- Petition: The U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. This form establishes the qualifying relationship. If the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen, the process may be faster.
- Application for Adjustment of Status (I-485): After the I-130 is approved, you can apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You’ll need to provide supporting documents, including medical examinations, biometrics, and proof of financial support.
- Affidavit of Support: The sponsoring spouse must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to demonstrate their financial ability to support you in the U.S.
- Work Authorization and Travel Permit (optional): You can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (travel permit) using Form I-765 and Form I-131 while your adjustment of status application is pending.
- Interview: You’ll likely be called for an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). During the interview, both spouses will be questioned separately to verify the legitimacy of the marriage.
- Conditional Green Card: If your marriage is less than two years old at the time of approval, you will receive a conditional green card, valid for two years. You’ll need to jointly file Form I-751 to remove these conditions 90 days before the card’s expiration.
- Permanent Green Card: Once the conditions are removed, you will receive a permanent (10-year) green card. If the marriage is more than two years old at the time of approval, you will receive a permanent green card initially.
- Citizenship: After holding the green card for five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen), you can apply for U.S. citizenship.
How much does it cost to change status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card?
The cost of changing your status from a B-1/B-2 visa to a marriage-based green card (lawful permanent residency) can vary depending on several factors, including the specific forms you need to file, government filing fees, and any additional expenses. Here’s a breakdown of some of the typical costs associated with this process:
- Form I-130 Filing Fee: the filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is $535. This fee is typically paid by the U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse who is sponsoring you.
- Form I-485 Filing Fee: The filing fee for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is $1,140. This fee covers the adjustment of status process. However, there may be additional fees for biometrics, which is approximately $85.
- Form I-131 and Form I-765 (Optional): If you choose to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (travel permit) using Form I-131 and Form I-765, there were no additional filing fees if filed concurrently with Form I-485.
- Biometrics Fee: As mentioned earlier, there may be a separate fee for biometrics, which is typically around $85.
- Medical Examination: You will need to undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. The cost of the medical exam varies but can range from $100 to $300 or more.
- Translation and Document Costs: If any of your supporting documents are not in English, you may need to pay for translation services. Additionally, there may be costs associated with obtaining and copying necessary documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and passports.
- Attorney Fees (if applicable): Many people choose to hire an immigration attorney to help with the process. Attorney fees can vary widely, depending on the complexity of your case and the attorney’s rates. Fees can range from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars.
- Travel Expenses for Interviews: If you need to travel to attend interviews at a USCIS office, you should factor in travel and accommodation costs.