Make It Official: The Ultimate Guide to Adjustment of Status After Marriage

So, you’ve tied the knot! Congratulations are in order for this significant milestone in your life. However, along with the excitement of getting married comes the need to navigate the legal aspects, especially if you or your spouse are from different countries. One crucial aspect to consider is the adjustment of status after marriage, particularly if one spouse is a non-U.S. citizen. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, addressing common questions and concerns along the way.

Understanding Adjustment of Status

Before diving into the specifics, let’s clarify what adjustment of status means. In the context of marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), status adjustment refers to applying for lawful permanent residence, also known as a green card, within the United States. This process allows the non-U.S. citizen spouse to obtain legal residency without needing to return to their home country for consular processing.

Eligibility Criteria for Adjustment of Status

To be eligible for adjustment of status after marriage, certain criteria must be met:

  1. Valid Marriage: The marriage must be legally recognized, genuine, and not entered into to obtain immigration benefits.
  2. Non-U.S. Citizen Spouse: The spouse seeking adjustment of status must be present in the United States legally, typically on a valid visa.
  3. Eligibility Category: The non-U.S. citizen spouse must fall under an eligible category for adjustment of status, such as immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or certain family preference categories.
  4. Admissibility: The spouse must be admissible to the United States or qualify for a waiver of any grounds of inadmissibility.

Steps to Adjust Your Status After Marriage

Now that you understand the basics, let’s outline the steps involved in the adjustment of status process:

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

Before you can begin the application process, you’ll need to gather various documents to support your petition. These may include:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates
  • Passport
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (optional)
  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (optional)

Step 2: File Form I-130

The first official step in the process is filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the relationship between the U.S. citizen spouse and the non-U.S. citizen spouse and is typically filed by the U.S. citizen petitioner.

Step 3: Submit Form I-485

Once Form I-130 is approved, the non-U.S. citizen spouse can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is used to apply for the green card and must be filed along with supporting documents and the appropriate filing fee.

Step 4: Attend Biometrics Appointment

After filing Form I-485, the non-U.S. citizen spouse will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, fingerprints, photographs, and signatures will be collected for background checks and identity verification purposes.

Step 5: Attend Interview (If Required)

In some cases, the couple may be required to attend an interview as part of the adjustment of status process. During the interview, immigration officials will verify the authenticity of the marriage and assess the eligibility of the non-U.S. citizen spouse for a green card.

Step 6: Receive Decision

Following the interview (if applicable), the USCIS will issue a decision on the adjustment of status application. If approved, the non-U.S. citizen spouse will receive their green card, granting them lawful permanent residence in the United States.

Additional Resources

For further information and assistance with the adjustment of status process after marriage, consider exploring the following resources:

  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): The official website of USCIS provides comprehensive guides, forms, and resources related to immigration processes.
  2. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): AILA offers a directory of immigration lawyers who can provide expert advice and assistance with adjustment of status and other immigration matters.


Adjusting your status after marriage is a significant step towards building a life together in the United States. By understanding the process and following the necessary steps, you can navigate the complexities of immigration law with confidence. Remember, seeking guidance from qualified immigration professionals can help ensure a smooth and successful transition to lawful permanent residence.

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