From French to U.S. Citizenship Part III: Adrienne Applies for a Green Card

To recap, our French citizen Adrienne, who recently married U.S. citizen Brian, has just discovered that she IS eligible to apply for a green card from within the United States.

This is wonderful news! Adrienne's next question is, understandably, where does she go from here?

Adrienne continues to work with the immigration lawyer who advised her that she can apply. He tells her that in her case, the process to obtain her permanent green card can be completed in 2 parts.

Part I involves applying for a temporary, or "conditional" green card, which is valid for 2 years after the date of issuance. This is required because at the time she is applying, Adrienne and Brian have not yet been married for 2 years.

Part II requires that Adrienne apply to have the conditions removed - this is her application for a permanent green card. One year after Adrienne has her permanent green card, she can apply for citizenship.

The first step in Part I of the process is for Adrienne to begin gathering documentation to submit to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Her lawyer tells her that he will prepare her application and attach the required supporting evidence once she has it. 

Adrienne must prove:
1. Her identity (that she is who she says she is);
2. that she last entered the U.S. lawfully (with her B-2 visa);
3. that her marriage to Brian is legally valid and legitimate (not solely for immigration purposes);
4. Brian's identity and U.S. citizenship;
5. that she is not likely to become a "public charge" - that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) has agreed to serve as her "sponsor" and to support her financially; and
6. that she has had all required vaccinations and is not infected with certain transmittable diseases.

Therefore, Adrienne gets to work. She locates her French birth certificate and has it translated into English. She makes copies of her marriage certificate and passports, including her U.S. visas, as well as the I-94 card that was issued to her at her last entry. She asks Brian to make a copy of his U.S. birth certificate and passport and to sign an affidavit of support for her. She also asks Brian to track down his tax return from the previous year and recent pay stubs to prove that he makes enough income to support her. Adrienne gathers as much evidence as possible to prove that her marriage is legitimate (including financial documents, photos, and affidavits from friends and relatives). Finally, Adrienne schedules a medical exam with a Civil Surgeon, who will fill out the proper paperwork to show that Adrienne is not barred from adjusting status here due to any health issues.

Adrienne is overwhelmed! She is grateful that her attorney is there to guide her and to review all of her supporting documentation to check for any potential landmines. 

After about a month of preparation, Adrienne is finally ready to file her application. Her attorney prepares the paperwork, including numerous forms for Adrienne and Brian to sign. 

The attorney submits the application, and Adrienne awaits a response.

To be continued . . .