Our nonprofit can help you prepare your immigration paperwork for free
The US government is only granting DACA renewals, but you can still submit a new DACA application to hold your place in line.

Step-by-Step Guide To Filing a Family Green Card Application Concurrently

ImmigrationHelp.org is a nonprofit that helps you prepare your immigration forms for free. Think TurboTax for Immigration. Get free immigration guides, news, and expert support without the high cost of an immigration lawyer. Featured in the Boston Globe, Forbes, and Telemundo, and funded by organizations like Harvard University. Check out our free tool.
November 15, 2022

Key Takeaways

Filing for a family green card concurrently means you file Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time. These two forms will be accompanied by other required (and optional) forms plus required filing fees to form your green card application or petition. Most concurrent family green card applications take 7-15 months and cost $1,760.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Complete the Required Medical Exam

When your priority date becomes current, complete the required medical exam and get a signed Form I-693 from the attending physician no more than 60 days before submitting your application. You can find this form, and instructions for completing it, on the USCIS page for Form I-693.

You can also complete the exam after you file your application and bring the I-693 with you to your interview. The doctor will return your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.

You can read our Complete Guide to the U.S. Immigration Medical Exam to learn what you need to bring to the exam and what happens during the exam.

Step 2: Pay the Filing Fees

When you file your green card application with USCIS you need to pay filing fees. Some of these fees vary based on age. 

  • Biometrics Fee: $85 (Applicants under 14 or over 79 years of age do not have to pay this fee.)
  • Form I-485: $1,140 for most applicants. $750 for applicants under 13 years old applying with their parents.
  • Form I-130: $535

If you are applying for your green card from outside the U.S. through consular processing, you’ll be required to pay the previously listed fees and two additional fees:

  • Form DS-260/Form DS-261: $445
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee: $220 (paid online)

USCIS changes these filing fees occasionally. Be sure to confirm the current filing fees for all required forms prior to submitting your green card application. You can check the fees on the USCIS Filing Fee page or the State Department’s Fees for Visa Services page. You do not need to pay additional fees for Form I-131 and Form I-765 when you file them with an I-485.

Fees can be paid by money order, personal check, cashier’s check, and credit card. If you’d like to pay by credit card, you must fill out Form G-1450 and include it with your paperwork.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” You should include a separate check or money order per item, and reference the item you are paying for in the memo line. For example, write “Form I-485” if it’s your form filing fee.

Step 3: Assemble Your Forms and Supporting Documents

Filing for a green card requires completing many forms and gathering the required supporting documents. As you complete each form be sure you sign the form in the relevant place. Most applicants will assemble their forms and their supporting documents in the following order:

It is a good idea to include a cover letter that lists all of the forms, supporting documents, and fee payments you’ve included in your petition packet. This will help USCIS keep track of your documents as they process your petition. You can use our USCIS cover letter template to get started. 

Step 4: Mail Your Paperwork to USCIS

Mail your full application packet and fees to one of the addresses below depending on what service you use to mail it. It is a good idea to send your packet with tracking so that you can keep tabs on it.

For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: FBAS

131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor

Chicago, IL 60603-5517

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS

PO Box 805887

Chicago, IL 60680-4120

Step 5: Wait for Notices About Your Green Card Application

USCIS will mail you several notices to update you on your case status. They may also request more information or send notices regarding your biometrics appointment or interview time. USCIS mails these notices to the address you included on your application. Here are a few common notices you may see as USCIS processes your green card application.

Receipt Notice

USCIS will send you a notice stating that they have received your Form I-485 and green card application. This notice will include a unique code called a receipt number that consists of three letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. You can find the receipt number in Form I-797C: Notice of Action, which USCIS should have sent you 2-3 weeks after filing your application. You can use this code to track your application status.

Request(s) for Evidence

If USCIS needs any additional information to support your application, they will notify you. Requests for evidence often arrive 2-3 months after filing your application. If you get an RFE, respond as quickly as possible by following the steps in the official notice USCIS sends. You can learn more in our Guide to RFEs.

Biometrics Appointment Notice

You must attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment to get a green card. USCIS will schedule you for this appointment and send you a notice of the date, time, and location 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Notice of Interview Appointment Date

The last step of the green card application process is an interview with USCIS. USCIS will schedule this interview once they have finished processing your application and will send you notice of the date, time, and location. You’ll usually receive this notice and have your interview 3-6 months after you file your application.

Step 6: Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

All family green card applicants must attend biometric appointments to have their fingerprints and photo taken. This helps USICS check your criminal record or prior immigration violations, if any. Most applicants attend their biometrics appointment at a local USCIS office fairly early in the application process, typically 5-8 weeks after filing your green card application

Read our Guide to Biometrics Appointments to learn what you can expect during your biometrics appointment.

Step 7: Attend your Green Card Interview

Almost everyone must attend a green card interview as the final step of their application process. This interview has two goals:

  • To establish whether you are eligible for a green card
  • To determine whether the information you provided in your forms and supporting documents is valid

If you applied for a marriage green card, both spouses will need to attend the interview. If the green card is for any other family member, only the beneficiary (the person seeking the green card) needs to attend.

The interview is the last step of the green card process. It typically occurs 7-15 months after filing. USCIS will notify you of your interview date, time, and location by mail once they have approved your application. 

Step 8: Receive Your Green Card!

‍The interviewing officer will usually approve your green card application at the interview. Once approved, you should receive your green card in the mail 2-3 weeks after approval.

Would you like free help preparing your immigration paperwork?
Get Free Help

Latest Articles