Applying for a U.S. green card isn’t always simple, and you’re bound to have questions as you make your way through the process. So Boundless searched social media platform Reddit for the most common questions about the green card application process. Read on for our answers.
green card faqs on reddit
Generally speaking, there has to be an underlying basis on which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will grant someone a green card. This is usually a family relationship, such as a marriage-based green card; or an employment relationship, such as a work visa that leads to a green card.
Once the spouse seeking a marriage green card divorces from their U.S. citizen sponsor or annuls the marriage, the underlying basis for the green card application is gone, and USCIS will not grant a green card. In this situation, if the petition is not withdrawn it will be denied.
Withdrawing a petition is permanent, so applicants are typically certain they wish to withdraw before they take action.
USCIS requires the withdrawal of an application in writing through USCIS directly. Typically, sending a letter to USCIS confirming that the application should be withdrawn, along with a copy of the I-130 or I-485 receipt notice, is all that is required.
The letter is sent to the same address listed on the I-130 or I-485 receipt notice USCIS sent after the petition was submitted. It is also possible to call USCIS directly at 1 (800) 375-5283, though it is more common to correspond with USCIS in writing to be sure there is a record in the file.
Why is it taking so long to hear back from USCIS on my biometrics appointment?
- About 280,000 biometrics appointments were canceled between March and June due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Phased reopening began in July, with operations at less than 50%
- Operations from October until now are at about 65%
- Not all canceled appointments have been rescheduled — USCIS is scheduling over 10,000 appointments per day, with about 1.3 million people waiting for appointments.
- Applicants should continue waiting for an appointment notice, or for a notice stating USCIS has reused their previous biometrics measurements.
- Length of wait for reschedule will vary depending on location
Can I apply for an H1-B/L1 visa concurrently with a marriage based green card?
Yes! H-1B and L-1s are dual intent visas, which means an applicant may have the temporary intent to work on the H-1B or L-1 while at the same time they have the intent to immigrate by applying for a green card/adjusting status.
Can I apply for an F1 visa concurrently with a marriage-based green card?
No, unfortunately F-1 student visas do not allow for dual intent. Applying for a green card is asserting immigrant intent, so one cannot also claim to have no immigrant intent while applying for the F-1.
I am unable to reach a live USCIS agent on the phone — are there any shortcuts to reach them?
This is a strange one, but some immigration attorneys suggest repeating the word “Infopass” over and over again to reach an actual person on the phone!
What happens if I get divorced while I am waiting for the green card interview?
The answer to this is essentially the same as the answer above about withdrawing an application: if an applicant has submitted a green card based on marriage but then that marriage ends, there is no basis on which a green card can be granted.
The exception is if the spouse was a U.S. citizen and subjected the applicant to battery or abuse. In this situation, they may potentially convert the I-485 to an I-360. This can be done either by withdrawing the already-pending I-130 (family relationship petition) and filing an I-360 instead with the Vermont Service Centre (VSC), and once it is approved, request that USCIS conduct the I-485 interview based on the approved I-360 instead of the originally-filed I-130. It may also be possible to file the I-360 with an existing I-485 receipt notice and request conversion from the VSC directly. In either case, this should not be attempted without an attorney’s help.
Can I marry my partner who has overstayed their nonimmigrant visa?
In many cases, this should not be a problem, especially if the sponsoring partner is a U.S. citizen. However, certain visas do not allow for immigrant intent, and certain actions — such as marrying a U.S. citizen — may be construed as showing immigrant intent (an F-1 visa, for example, will be revoked if a visa holder marries and takes up residence with a U.S. citizen with the intention of immigrating). This means it’s important for the person seeking a green card to think carefully about their timeline and what they hope to accomplish (completing education, and so on).
Individuals who overstay a nonimmigrant visa and wish to marry a green card holder (rather than a U.S. citizen) will not be able to adjust status if they have any unlawful presence, which would begin to accrue once their visa expires, unless they are granted an I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.
Further, a person who wishes to marry a U.S. citizen and had more than 180 days unlawful presence in the United States in a single stay and then left are subject to a 3-year bar from re-entering the country, and also require a 601A waiver to apply for a green card.
More than a 1-year unlawful presence in a single stay followed by a departure will result in a 10-year bar from re-entering the United States.
How can I reschedule my interview? Will I be able to choose a new date?
The National Visa Center (NVC) will generally terminate a case if they receive no contact from the applicant or petitioner for one year. It is possible for applicants to reschedule their immigrant visa interview appointments through the U.S. government site USTravelDocs.com. It may also be possible to change the appointment date through USTravelDocs by canceling the current appointment, and then going through the appointment scheduling process again.
What happens if the officer didn’t grant me a green card on the spot?
Typically, there are five possible outcomes to a green card interview. Learn more here about what these are and what happens next.