Disclaimer: All advice given here are strictly as is without any guarantees and reliability. The advice below is solely from personal experiences in filing such applications and process. The best and most reliable advice is always from a good immigration lawyer.

Q: What year is in processing for us citizen parent filing for married son with children.

A: Regarding the priority dates, always check the Visa Bulletin on the Dept of State website. The monthly bulletin details exactly what date and year the current processing is undergoing. For married sons of US citizens, this is the F3 category.

Q: I am an Italian citizen. I got married in 2001 in US with an American and I have an American citizen daughter since she was born in US in 2004. thus, I got a Green Card and it will expire in 2015.
Now, we all moved in Italy in 2010 and I have been living in Italy for more then 3 years now so I think my green card is gone since I did not fill any form as re-entry visa etc..
BIG Question,
I am planning to return in US and I know I have to go through the process all again. I will file from Italy to the US embassy.
1. should I file for I-130 only?
2. what’s the difference between I-130 and I-485?
3. if I get approved for I-130 do I have to file I-485 when in US to be able to work?
4. I need to go alone at first and my wife and daughter will follow 6/12 months after (because my daughter school) CAN I do that or we all need to travel together?
6. Basically, if she can not be my sponsor, how the all family can move back to US, if she has not job yet..?
sorry for all these questions, but I am trying to figure out before starting to submit all the forms and paying all the fees..

A: Yes, your spouse files the I-130 first, but this has to be filed from WITHIN the USA, not from outside. Some embassies allow Direct Consular Filing for the US Citizen to petition (the I-130 is the petition) a relative to get a green card. Check with the US Embassy in Italy. You have no use for the I-485 because that is used for someone who is ALREADY in America to adjust their status (AOS) to a different status, ie from tourist visa to a green card holder. You are not in the USA, so you cannot use I-485. You also do not file I-485 to work, because that is for AOS. You cannot go alone because your wife needs to first establish residency to file the I-130 to petition for your green card. She has to arrive first. Your wife has to fill out the Affidavit of Support once the I-130 petition is approved. Your income and assets can also be used, so she does not necessarily need to have a job.

Q: I currently reside in the US, and I’m currently in H1-B status, that’s valid until September 31 2014. I’ve been here since 2005 for school on F1, then transitioned to OPT, then H1-B in 2012. The company I currently work for has already started the process for filing for another H1-B visa for me. I also have an approved I-130 for permanent resident status through my wife who is also a permanent resident. My priority date is March 26th 2014, hence the reason for filing for another H1-B, because there’s no telling when a visa will become available or when my priority date will become current so I can file the I-485. 

My question, in the event that the H1-B extension gets denied, are there any options that I can explore to legally remain in the US while I wait for a visa to become available?. I know that I can always go back to school, but are there any other visas or status’ I can get through my wife who is a permanent resident?

A: No, unfortunately you are out of options if your H-1B extension is denied. You can become a tourist or a student but other than that you don’t really have any other options of staying in America.

Q: I am a US citizen over the age of 21 and I want to file for my mom but I am uncertain as to whether or not she may be denied adjustment of status as she is currently in a visitor’s status.
Although she would be considered to be in the first preference category would they deny her since she is doing it while she is here rather than going through her consulate?

Thanks in advance.

A: This is absolutely fine provided that she passed the time test. Check out my post on the time to file. Basically, if you file a petition for her green card within 90 days of her entry into America, it will likely be denied due to the suspicion of your mother entering as a tourist on false intentions.

Q: My wife (who is a US citizen) and I are married for almost four years. I am originally from Europe (The Netherlands). I arrived in New York in 2010 and I applied the Immigrant Visa Petition, right after we got married.

Recently I received a letter from NVC, to attend the interview, which is at the US Embassy in the Netherlands (Europe). I have been reading about illegal and/or unlawful presence in the US.

I have already booked a ticket to Amsterdam, which is in 3 days, but after reading about “unlawful presence”, I am in doubt if I should leave the USA to attend the interview in the Netherlands Europe. I need advise as soon as possible because there is a risk that I will be denied to enter the USA in the future and that my spouse and I will not be able to see each other again.

A: Well, since you filed as if you were living abroad (through consular processing, that’s why the interview is in Netherlands not in America), then just leave the country as you originally intended and attend the interview in Netherlands. Just be completely honest about your situation and why you overstayed and that you have good intentions and did not commit any crimes (hopefully). Chances are, if you explain that you overstayed simply because your wife, who is a US citizen, is in America and that you filed your papers but did not do it right (you should have done AOS which would have taken a few months and you both stay in America), the visa officers won’t give you a hard time. As seen on my post here, overstaying illegally but married to US citizen, is generally forgiven.

Q: Filed I-130/I-485 for mother who was on visitor visa (arrived May 2013) in October 2013. Received acceptance notice within a couple of weeks. FP done in Dec and rec’d AP/EAD in Dec 2013. 

Feb 20th or so received Notice of Potential Interview Waiver Case dated Feb 13. No movement on USCIS website. 

What are my options? Call and if so what number to call? Infopass appt to enquire about I-130?

A: Just wait, this means that you are just simply going to get your green card in the mail.

Q: How does one go about getting NABC for old age parents who were born say in 1950? Has anyone obtained such document from Pakistan? Please let me know, highly appreciated.

A: Check this page, of document reciprocity by country accepted by the Dept of State. If you take a look, for Pakistan, it says that you can obtain Union Council birth certificates, or Municipal Corporation issued birth certificates. If not available, go to the Municipal Corporation and get a No Entry Certificate or a late registered birth certificate.

Q: I’ve put in a petition for my daughter who at the time of when petition was filed (filing date was 11/2010) was 20 years old(she was born on 6/5/1990). The petition was approved on 6/11/2011. Which category is she supposed to be in F2A or F2B?

A: Approval and priority dates are completely independent of each other. The date is checked when the application is filed. Because she could not have filed before Jan ’12, she automatically becomes F2B category. 

Q: I filed I-485 in 2005 based on marriage to US citizen. The marriage didn’t last and we separated before the interview, so the I-485 was denied due to failure to show up for the interview. 

I got married last year (different spouse) and would like to file I-485 again.
Is there anything I have to be aware of due to filing this for second time? Is the process any different? Would I need to have all the documents (photos, lease, bank account statements ..) for my first marriage as well?

The forms ask for Alien number. Should I provide my old A number even though it starts with 099 which I believe is a temporary number.

A: The process for the second time around is exactly the same, same fees, same documents, except you will need the divorce documents of the failed marriage and possibly explanation on if you ever applied for immigrant visa before and what was the outcome and reason. You only need the divorce certificate of the first marriage, there is no need to provide photos and bank account statements of your joint ownership with your ex-spouse. A person can have at most 2 Alien numbers, one for when he/she is on non-immigrant visas and the other for when he/she is on immigrant visas. If your 099 Alien number is from your first green card application, you will need to use it again.

Q: On Section 5 – Sponsor’s household Size on form I-864, the total household size I indicated is four (myself, husband, child and the person I’m sponsoring).
On Section 6 – Sponsor’s Income and Employment, I indicated my current income alone, which is sufficient to sponsor my parents. I did not put any other names in sections 6 thru 9. I also provided copies of my tax returns (I filed joint with my husband).
I received a letter from NVC indicating that I have provided insufficient information. Upon calling, I was told to add my husband’s name and income in Section 6.a and that he needs to fill-up I-864A. Since we file joint in our tax returns, what income should we declare in his I-864A section 11? Is it going to be our total income per tax return (which is the same as Section 6.13.a in my I-864. 
Is there a way for him not to fill-up I-864A?? 

A: The problem is you need to provide more tax information like W-2s or 1099s, not just the federal filing documents. They want to make sure that your filing is correct and that you do have such income that you are stating.

Q: Hi everybody. I’ve applied for Adjustment of Status after marrying an US Citizen. I had my mother-in-law as my joint sponsor since my wife’s salary is under the poverty guideline and I am not allowed to work with my current visa. 
My question is; can I or my wife get food-stamp? 
I actually read before that if I get a food-stamp then the person who sponsored me- (in my case that’s my mother-in-law) will be required to pay the cost all that I got from the food-stamp. 
Is this information correct? If so, is it also the same for my wife? She is an US citizen, but can she separately get food-stamp without making our sponsor having to be responsible for that? 

A: Food stamps are not considered public charge. Check out a full list here.

Q: My wife was given a temp GC thru marriage 1.3 years ago. At 2nd year, we will apply for her perm. GC. We filed a joint tax return when we first applied for her temp GC thru marriage (I was/am a US citizen).

I now owe tax to IRS and my wife doesn’t. With joint tax return last year, my wife’s credit was ruined because of my bad credit caused by irs tax trouble (BTW I have an installment agreement with IRS). 

So my question is is there a way to apply for her permanent GC without our joint tax return?

A: You are not forced to file jointly on your tax return. You just need to make sure you can explain what is happening and why you chose to file separately.

Q: In May my parents went to Pakistan, and are now returning after 9 months. Do you think they will face any problem at point of entry? This is the first time that they went to Pakistan after getting their green card.

I have heard that as long as they are returning within 1 year, they should be fine.

A: If this is a first trip, and since only 9 months, the CBP officer will probably just issue a warning not to do it again. Yes, the main cut off is at 1 year, provided they don’t have repeated attempts of long trips abroad.

Q: I’m filling out affidavit of support form together with my co-sponsor, (husband’s sister) and i dont know what to check in the very first “question” on I-864. The number 1 is asking for who the sponsor is, if they are the petitioner or not ,etc. which one should i check if its my cosponsor sponsoring me? “i am the only joint sponsor” or “i am first of two joint sponsors” please help out!

A: Your husband is the petitioner so he will check 1a on his I-864 and your sister in law will check 1d on her I-864.

Q: On page 1 of I-485 where it asks Family name……is that my new last name now that I have gotten married on a K-1 visa? also it asks for copy of fiance petition approval notice, what form number is this???? and is the marriage certificate the thing we all signed and framed or something more official? 

A: Yes, if you changed your name after you got married, then you must use your new name from now on and on all forms. The copy of fiance petition approval notice is the K-1 approval notice.

Q: What last (family) name to use on G-325A i I-765, name before or after marriage ? Is it file number and alien registration number same number ( required on G-325A form) ? 

A: You use your new name after marriage for all AOS forms and documents. The file number on your Number 2 NOA approval notice is the same as the alien registration number.

Q: We’ve had a hiccup in the immigration process, but it has to do with my husband’s ability to obtain a CA driver’s license. The DMV will not issue him a license because he only had 45 days left on his K-1 visa when he went to take the driver’s test.  They said he must prove he can stay more than 60 days in the USA. We are going to file AOS of status for him, but how can he prove that he can stay past the 90 days shown on his K-1 visa?  Or do we just have to wait until he gets his temporary green card?  They also told him that he needed some kind of number.  Maybe that was the Alien number that was on NOA2?  I am not sure since I didn’t go to the DMV that day with him.  Anyone else in the same situation?  Any advice would be appreciated!

 (He has a Social Security number now, but they said they needed some number from Immigration)

A: Yes, the NOA2 number is the alien number and that helps in showing that he is in process of getting a green card. However, it is probably best that you wait until he gets his green card to get a driver’s licence. The people at DMV don’t really know immigration laws and process and only cares about what documentation you can prove that you are going to be in America legally. Just use an international license for now.

Q: I am wondering if anybody here have the same dilemma I am facing, right now. My EAD just got approve last november 25.YEY!!! Anyway, I was thinking if anybody got any luck, applying a job with just an EAD without the greencard. If you were able to get a job. What kind of jobs? and what paperwork other than EAD do they need?

I’d love to hear some of your experiences so I could get any idea, and what to expect on finding a job with just my EAD.

A: The EAD card is the same as a green card when it comes to work authorization. The EAD card allows you to work while the green card is pending and it serves as a proper legal document from the government that you can work. It should have no impact on your job interview and applications since the employers do NOT need to sponsor you for you to work. You have full work authorization and do not need any special treatment from the employer regarding immigration and visa status. Just apply to jobs, interview, and if you do get the job, just show them the EAD card and tell them that your green card is in process, everything will be ok.

Q: We just went to the Civil Surgeon to have her fill out the vaccination record on the form  I -693.for my husband. Part 1 of the form asks for the A-Number, if any.  I didn’t know what that was, so I left it blank.  (I figured out later what it was and where to find it). (He has a K-1 visa and the A number was on the NOA 2) The doctor put my husband’s passport number under the section of applicant ID number. Is this going to be a problem?  Should I have them fill out the I-693 again?  They put the form in a sealed envelope and gave me a copy.

A: I would not worry, the I-693 is always submitted with the AOS application and chances are they won’t separate the I-693 from the rest of the documents and will probably figure out the A number is the passport number. The Civil Surgeon fills it out anyway, it is not your problem.

Q: About a month ago we had so called stokes interview (2nd), which in our opinion went smoothly, the officer was a pleasant, very professional young lady, we were interviewed separately, asked about 50-60 questions each (roughly 40-45 mins each). on the way back home me and my spouse went over all the questions we could recall and couldn’t really think of any mismatches. After the interview was over the officer did not give us any notice/letter, nor did she tell us about her decision or at least any timeframes. the only thing she mentioned is that my medical form got expired and i would need to obtain a new one from the doctor. that means even if she wanted to approve the case, she could not do it without an updated medical form. So we are waiting for RFE letter i guess, even though she did not say she would mail something to us. It has been over a month after the last interview and we haven’t heard anything from uscis so far. I don’t really understand why it takes them so long to send a simple 1 page letter requesting new med exam form (or perhaps any other evidence documents). we already provided 2 joint lease agreements, joint car title, insurance, registration, joint tax return, life insurance, 3 joint credit cards statements, photos, pet adoption contract, etc.

A: Just go get the medical exam again and submit it to the USCIS by making an appointment with your local USCIS office.

Thanks so much in advance.

Q&A continued on Part Three

6 thoughts on “Family Based Green Cards Common Questions and Answers – Part Two

  1. Liza

    Me and my husband already filed “removed condition on my green card and I already took my biometric last January 9 2015. At the same time a petitions for my daughthers. My 2 daughters already recieved their permanent green card. It is been 9 months now, we haven’t heard anything from uscis after my biometric done.. Do i have to worry about it or just wait? When can I possibly received my permanent green card? Or should I call the uscis and ask. Thank you for your concern.

    1. admin Post author

      removal of condition takes a very long time. My personal case took over 9 months. Everyone’s case is different and have different timelines. I would wait until 1 year and then do an InfoPass appointment.

  2. Diego Tapia

    I am a US citizen who is 21 years old and i am trying to sponsor my mother to come the US as a permanent resident. She is still married to someone else who is not my father but they have not been living together for over 25 years they just never divorced for money issues that’s the reason she never married my dad. will the fact that she’s still married affect my petition for her to come the the US

    1. admin Post author

      No, her marital status has nothing to do with getting a GC through you.

  3. Shahid

    I have one question in mind. My uncle file a perition on my mothers name for permanent immigration to USA for whole family in 2004. My uncle and mother have blood relation brother sister. Now our case was approved and ready for interviews woth embassy. My question is we 2 Brothers are now cross the age of 21 ans turns to 26 27. Now we both have to wait more or we can migrate with our whole family to USA.

    1. admin Post author

      As long as you and your brother are not married, you can still continue the process as a child of your mother and as a derivative applicant. USCIS understands that sometimes people turn 21 before their immigrant visa is issued and won’t deny your application because of that. But if you get married, then your application will be denied.

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