Now that we have filed our application, what should we do?
All applications for a marriage based green card must be filed with the USCIS Chicago Benefits Center. This center was established in hopes of speeding up the application process. Your interview will be held at your local USCIS office, though. Before sending in your application, it is HIGHLY recommended that you make a copy of the entire submission as it will not be returned to you and you to be able to have backup in case your application is lost. Once the application is received, you will be added to the queue for an interview and you will receive receipts for all of the forms for which you submitted payment. It is very important that you keep these receipts–not only do they provide proof of payment, but they include a lot of the information that you will need when communicating with USCIS about your case. These receipts should arrive 2-3 weeks after submission of payment. If you submitted the paperwork for a work permit, it should come in the mail roughly 90 days after filing. It is possible that your interview will be scheduled before your work permit arrives. If this is the case, then your work permit will no longer be necessary as you will receive your Green Card which authorizes you to work before your work permit arrives. If your case is not approved for some reason at the interview or more evidence is required, then the officer will approve the work permit at the time of your interview.
Plans to Travel While Your Application in Pending
It is imperative that your immigrant spouse NOT leave the country without USCIS permission while your Marriage Based Green Card application is pending. If he or she does leave the country without USCIS permission, he/she will have “abandoned” their adjustment of status application and you will need to start the entire process over. Know that once you submit your application, it could take several months to get an interview–be patient! If you must travel, apply for permission with an I-131 form.
Appointment for Fingerprints and Biometrics
About two months after submission of your application, the immigrant spouse will get an appointment for fingerprinting (unless he or she is exempt from the biometrics collection). The fingerprints and biometrics collection will generally take place at a USCIS application support center and will include the electronic scanning of all ten fingers and pictures of the applicant’s face. In order for the work permit to be issued and the final interview to the scheduled, the biometrics appointment must take place so if you cannot make your appointment time, call the number on your receipt to reschedule.
The final step in the process will be an interview appointment. The appointment notice should arrive in the mail within 6 months after filing. USCIS will give the applicants a few weeks notice to get arranged for the interview.
Why is it required that we attend an interview?
The interview is a time when the government is given the opportunity to confirm the details of your application. The authenticity of your marriage will be questioned. The interview may either be conducted with the couple together or separate and it may be videotaped. While the interview may feel stressful no matter your circumstances, be calm and honest.
To read the rest of this guide for your marriage based green card interview, please visit our website here.