Green Card Approval for U.S. Citizen Spouse / Prior TN Visa Worker

The applicant in this case, a Canadian citizen, was working under TN visa status as a Technical Publications Writer. She began to date a U.S. citizen and they eventually decided to get married.

The U.S. citizen was then required to move out-of-state due to en employment transfer. The applicant had to decide whether to remain at her current location, and continue to maintain her TN visa status with her employer, or quit her employment and move with her husband. She decided to quit.

As she no longer worked for her TN employer, and was therefore out-of-status, we advised the immediate filing of an I-130 petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status application. Generally, individuals who have failed to maintain their nonimmigrant status are ineligible for Adjustment of Status. However, there is an exception to this rule for green card applications for the Immediate Relatives (e.g. spouses) of U.S. citizens. See 8 C.F.R. § 245.1 (b) (5), (6) and (10).

One challenge with all recently married couples filing green card applications is establishing that the marriage is a bona fide marriage and not entered into solely for U.S. immigration purposes. We assisted the couple in documenting the “bona fides” of their marriage. Such evidence may include: Documentation showing joint ownership of property; documentation showing joint tenancy of a residence; documentation showing co-mingling of financial resources; birth certificate(s) of children; affidavits by third parties having personal knowledge of the marital relationship; or any other relevant documentation (e.g. documentation showing the spouse is listed as a beneficiary of an insurance policy).

Subsequent to the filing of the I-130 and I-485, the U.S. citizen spouse left his employer, which presented its own potential issue. As part of a green card application, the U.S. citizen must file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), which is required to show that the U.S. citizen has adequate means to financially support the applicant. The U.S. citizen must show that his/her income meets 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines.

The U.S. citizen soon found new employment. When it came time for the final stage of the green card application process (i.e. the joint interview at a local USCIS office), we advised the U.S. citizen to inform the USCIS officer of his employment change and provide evidence that his new income continued to meet the applicable poverty guidelines.

Following the interview, the applicant received an I-797 approval notice in the mail. As the marriage was less than twenty-four (24) months old, the applicant will receive her green card on a conditional basis valid for 2 years. In order to remove this conditional basis, the applicant and the U.S. citizen spouse must jointly file an I-751 petition within 90 days of the green card’s expiration.