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How Do I Change My Fiance(e)’s Status to Lawful Permanent Resident?

Background
Where Can I Find the Law?
Who is Eligible?
How Do I Apply?
Will My Fiance(e) Be Eligible for a Work Permit?
Can My Fiance(e) Travel Outside of the United States?
How Can I Check the Application Status?
How Can I Appeal?
Can Anyone Help Me?
Frequently Asked Questions

Background
An immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. One of the paths to permanent residence is through a Fiance(e) petition.  After you have been admitted to the United States as a Fiance(e) and have married your petitioner within the 90-day time limit, you are now eligible to adjust your status to permanent resident status.  You may also wish to read the How Do I …? on Fiance(e) petitions.

For an excellent overview of immigration, please see the chapter and tables on immigrants in the INS Statistical Yearbook.

Where Can I Find the Law?
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs immigration in the United States. For the part of the law concerning permanent resident status, please see INA § 245.  Fiance(e)s are also subject to the 2-year conditional residence requirement of INA § 216. The specific eligibility requirements and procedures for adjusting to permanent residence status are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 245.

Who is Eligible?
To find out who may apply for permanent residence in the United States, please see eligibility information.

(Please note, as a fiance(e), your permanent residence status will be conditional because it is based on a marriage that is less than 2 years old on the day that you are given permanent residence. For more information, please see How Do I Remove the Conditions on Permanent Resident Based on Marriage?.)

How Do I Apply?
To find out how you can apply for your fiancé(e) to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, please click here to see Application Procedures, which will help you identify what you need to do. After you submit your application materials, you will be asked to go to an INS office to answer questions about your application.

Will My Fiance(e) Be Eligible for a Work Permit?
Applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending. You should use INS Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for a work permit once you adjust to permanent resident status. As a lawful permanent resident, you should receive a permanent resident card that will prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently. Please see How Do I Get a Work Permit? for more information.

Can My Fiance(e) Travel Outside the United States?
If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole. If you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with the INS and you may not be permitted to return to the United States. For more information, please see How Do I Get a Travel Document?.

How Can I Check My Application Status?
Please contact the INS office that received your application. You should be prepared to provide the INS staff with specific information about your application. Please click here for complete instructions on checking the status of your application. Please click here for more information on INS offices .

How Can I Appeal?
The only applications for permanent residency (Form I-485) which can be appealed are those based on a marriage which took place while the alien's deportation was in process.

Generally, you may appeal within 33 days after the immigration judge decides to remove you from the country. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C. For more information, please see, How Do I Appeal A Denial of My Application or Petition?.

Can Anyone Help Me?
If advice is needed, you may contact the INS District Office near your home for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit. Please see our INS field offices home page for more information on contacting INS offices.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Do you want further information? Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.


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