How to Change Status From a B-1/B-2 Visa to a Marriage Green Card

Changing status from a B-1/B-2 visa to a marriage-based green card (permanent residency) is possible, but it’s important to follow the correct process and meet all the eligibility requirements. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Get Married: The first step is to get married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. Keep in mind that marrying a U.S. citizen may have certain advantages and a faster processing time compared to marrying a permanent resident.

Determine Eligibility: Make sure you are eligible for adjustment of status (changing your status from B-1/B-2 to a green card holder) before proceeding. To be eligible, you must have entered the U.S. legally, have a valid immigrant visa number available, and be eligible for a green card in the United States.

File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: If you are married to a U.S. citizen, your spouse must file Form I-130 on your behalf. This form establishes the relationship between you and your U.S. citizen spouse and starts the family-based immigration process.

Wait for I-130 Approval: The processing time for Form I-130 can vary, but once it’s approved, it means that your marriage is recognized by immigration authorities.

File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: After the I-130 is approved, you can file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you may be able to file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-130.

Attend Biometrics Appointment: Once you file Form I-485, you’ll receive a notice for a biometrics appointment where they will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.

Attend an Interview: USCIS may schedule an interview for you and your spouse to verify the validity of your marriage and eligibility for a green card. Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship and provide evidence of a bona fide marriage.

Receive a Decision: After the interview, USCIS will make a decision on your application. If approved, you will be issued a conditional green card if you’ve been married for less than two years at the time of approval.

Remove Conditions (if applicable): If you receive a conditional green card, you will need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days of the card’s expiration date.

Obtain a 10-Year Green Card: If your marriage is over two years old at the time of approval, you will receive a 10-year green card. Otherwise, you’ll receive a two-year conditional green card, as mentioned above.

It’s crucial to follow the guidelines and requirements provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and consult with an immigration attorney if you have specific questions or concerns about your situation. The process can be complex, and having professional guidance can be beneficial to ensure everything is done correctly.

Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing are two different processes used to obtain a U.S. green card (permanent residency). The main difference between them lies in where and how the applicant applies for the green card. Let’s explore each process and their distinctions:

Adjustment of Status:

Definition: Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process of applying for a green card while the applicant is physically present in the United States.

Eligibility: AOS is generally available to individuals who are already in the U.S. on a qualifying nonimmigrant status, such as an H-1B, L-1, F-1, or B-1/B-2 visa.

Application Location: The application for adjustment of status is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Benefits: One of the main advantages of AOS is that the applicant can stay in the U.S. while the green card application is pending, and in some cases, they can obtain a work permit (EAD) and travel permit (Advance Parole) while the application is being processed.

Marriage-Based Green Card AOS: For those who marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, adjustment of status can be applied for without leaving the U.S. if all eligibility requirements are met.

Consular Processing:

Definition: Consular Processing is the process of applying for a U.S. immigrant visa (green card) at a U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country.

Eligibility: Consular processing is typically used when the applicant is outside the U.S. or is ineligible for adjustment of status.

Application Location: The application for an immigrant visa is submitted at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Process: Once the immigrant visa is approved, the applicant will receive an immigrant visa in their passport, which allows them to travel to the U.S. as a permanent resident.

Enter the U.S.: After receiving the immigrant visa, the applicant can enter the U.S., and their green card will be mailed to them within a few weeks after their arrival.

Marriage-Based Green Card Consular Processing: If the foreign national is outside the U.S. and is married to a U.S. citizen, they can apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

In summary, adjustment of status is the process used to apply for a green card while the applicant is physically present in the U.S., whereas consular processing is used when the applicant is outside the U.S. or ineligible for adjustment of status. The appropriate method will depend on the individual’s immigration status, location, and eligibility for the specific process. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help determine the most suitable route based on the applicant’s circumstances.

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