French in the US: AOS/Green Card
Reminder: I arrived in the US on a K1 visa to be able to get married in Texas. Procedures might be different according to the state where you are getting married. I do not aim at providing professional advice here and I only want to recount our own experience with this procedure.
This post is also available in: Français (French)
After the long race to your K1 visa, you’re not quite done with paperwork. It’s time to ask for your AOS (Adjustment Of Status aka your green card) as well as work permit and travel authorization. Be prepared to wait for a while again (I received my green card 10 months after filing), but since you’re finally in the USA and newly married, it won’t be as difficult.
Application for AOS/employment authorization/travel authorization
Sept 9th 2017: Filing my applications, 4 folders with an introduction letter summing up all the documents enclosed for each and mailed together to the USCIS:
– Fully completed form I-485
– Copy of Form I-797 (Notice of Action)
– Multilingual birth certificate
– Two 2×2” recent id pictures
– Copy of passport first page
– Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant k1 visa and admission stamp
– Most recent Form I-94
– Certified copy of marriage certificate
– $1,140 filing fee and $85 biometric services fee
– Copy of DS-3025, the vaccination record from the doctor’s appointment for my K1 visa (not asked)
Affidavit of Support
– US citizen’s birth certificate
– Copies of the US citizen’s federal income tax returns for the three most recent years
– Pay stubs for the past six months
Application for Employment Authorization
– Copy of passport first page
– 2 2″x2″ id pictures less than 30 days
– Copy of my passport ID page
– Copy of my K1 visa
– 2 ID pictures
– Copy of I-797 (Notice of Action)
Sept 16th: I receive an email stating that my case has been received by the USCIS.
Sept 23rd: I receive the NOA for my AOS with a date for an appointment to take my fingerprints as well as the receipt notices for my travel and work authorizations.
Oct 2nd: it’s the day for my appointment at the USCIS office to have my fingerprints taken (the time and exact address are on the appointment letter). I need to fill in a quick document with personal information (eyes and hair color, weight, height, etc.), then they take my picture and fingerprints. It only takes a few minutes.
Where is my case at?
Feb 5th 2018: I’m worried that I haven’t heard from the USCIS at all since I had my fingerprints taken so I fill in an online form to know where my cases are at. My applications for AOS and Travel authorization are still within the processing times so I can’t open an inquiry. I do get a request number for my Application for Employment Authorization and should receive an email within 15 days.
Feb 19th: I still haven’t heard from the USCIS about my employment authorization so I write them an email (they won’t answer any emails unless you filled in the online form first).
Feb 21st: I receive an answer from the USCIS stating that my case is being processed by the National Benefits Center and that it is in line for processing and adjudication. There is nothing more that they can tell me or that I can do at this point but to wait.
Mar 26th: Since I opened an inquiry about it, I receive an email stating that my employment authorization is currently under review and that I “should receive a decision or notice of other action shortly”.
April 16th: While checking my AOS case status, I’m surprised to see that the receipt number is not recognized (it has never happened before) and I’m able to file in a request to see where my case is at. I also call the USCIS but they say they can’t find information about my case and can’t transfer me to the appropriate service because it is too busy so I need to call them back later.
Apr 19th: after trying to talk to someone at the USCIS for several days, I finally get to speak to an agent. Notices for my work authorization and travel document are on their way but she confirms AOS cases are taking longer than usual, without further information.
Reception of work authorization and travel document
April 23rd-25th: I receive the notices (I-797) stating that my travel document and employment authorization applications have been approved (finally) and that I will receive them soon. A couple of days later, I receive the card (I-766) that represent both my travel and work authorization. I start the process to get my first SSN (social security number).
July 20th: I receive a mail with our interview date… We have to show up just a week later (they sent the letter to our old address when I did notify them that we moved) in San Antonio. I call the USCIS to see if we can go to another location (San Antonio is close to 2h away from where we live) but they say it’s not possible. The letter states that the spouse has to appear at the interview as well and gives a list of documents to bring.
July 24th: We drive all the way to San Antonio from Austin early in the morning for my interview. Phones are not allowed in the building so we have to leave them in the car. The woman who is conducting the interview asks me to confirm that I and my family are not terrorists, Nazis or drug lords. Simon only has to state his name and our 3-week old baby boy who came to support me in this last step, is behaving perfectly. I’m not asked to show any document besides our son’s birth certificate.
July 31st: I receive my conditional green card, in two years I will need to remove the conditions by sending them a form and several documents.
Previous steps : How to get a K1 visa
How to have your marriage recognized in France