Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I-485 Green Card Application and I-684 Affidavit of Support
Unfortunately, the bureaucracy didn’t stop for me once I had entered the US with my K1 Fiance Visa and got married. The K1 Fiance Visa can only be used once, so having entered the USA and got married, its use was essentially over, although I did, of course, keep all my documents in case they were needed for proof further down the line (the I-94 inside my passport, for instance, was essential later for proving that I had entered the country legally, as was the I-797 approval notice that was received by my wife at the end of the I-129 petition process). Anyway, I was now ready for the next stage after getting married in the US (Florida), making my I-485 Green Card application for permanent residency, known as an adjustment of status or AOS. If that was successful, then I would receive a USCIS Green Card and be classified as a resident alien by the USCIS. Along with the I-485 Green Card application, I also applied for Advance Parole (AP) and Employment Authorization (EAD), as there was no fee to pay if I filed them at the same time as my application for adjustment of status (AOS).
The I-485 Green Card application is a thick form with lots of questions, but I had got used to filling out those when undergoing the K1 Fiance Visa Process. What was a pain about applying for Adjustment of Status, in my wife and I’s experience, was putting together all the masses of evidence that was needed to go with the accompanying I-684 Affidavit of Support. As well as providing proof that we were are married, my wife also had to present proof that she was financially solvent and able to support me. This basically involves collecting together piles of tax returns that have to be sorted through and copied, as well as letters from my wife’s boss and months and months of bank statements, amongst other things. I also had to include the I-693 vaccination supplement, a copy of my I-94, the I-684 Affidavit of Support, along with copies of all the bank, employment, and tax documents. We also included evidence of our relationship, including: copy of marriage license, wedding cards and photos, letter from bank showing we had a joint bank account and a few other things, such as the I-797.
As I mentioned, as well as the green card application, I also put in applications for temporary travel documents and temporary employment permission, known as I-131 Advance Parole (AP) and the I-765 Employment Authorization (EAD), so that I have the option of traveling and working while we wait for the adjustment of status application to be processed, although in practice the AP and EAD can also take months to be processed. I thought it was worth putting them in, however, as there were no extra costs, given that they were filed with my I-485 and I-684.
The whole package of five application forms and status adjustment evidence was so big and heavy it cost us $14 for the postage! (That was on top of the $980 we had to pay for the processing of the application!) There is also a small fee at this point that you have to pay towards the biometrics that you will have to get later. We actually forgot to include this the first time round and were sent a letter saying that they wouldn’t start processing our forms until they had received it. They also send letters acknowledging receipt of the various forms.
The next stage after this is the biometrics appointment. They send a letter inviting you when they are ready. It took over four months for me just to get the I-131 Advance Parole (AP) and the I-765 Employment Authorization (EAD), never mind the Adjustment of Status, so try to keep patient!