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How To File a Family Green Card Application Non-Concurrently: A Step-by-Step Guide

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November 15, 2022

Key Takeaways

When you file for a family green card non-concurrently, an eligible family member petitions for you with Form I-130 and you file Form I-485 at a different time. Because you are submitting the forms at different times, this process will take longer than filing concurrently — or submitting your Form I-130 and I-485 at the same time. This article outlines the 13 steps of filing for a family green card non-concurrently.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Pay the Form I-130 Filing Fee

The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535. You can pay it with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or 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” and state “Form I-130” on the memo line. Form I-130 isn’t eligible for a fee waiver.

USCIS changes its fees periodically. You can confirm the current filing fee by checking the latest USCIS Fee Schedule.

Step 2: Assemble Your Form I-130 Petition and Supporting Documents

Your petition packet needs to include each of the following forms and the supporting documents listed. Be sure to sign all forms in the relevant places. In general, the forms and their supporting documents should be assembled in the following order:

  • Form I-130 and all Form I-130 supporting documents: This is required for all applicants.
  • Form G-1145: This is an optional form that authorizes USCIS to send an e-notice when it accepts your application.
  • Form G-1450: This is an optional form that authorizes USCIS to charge your credit card if you want to pay your filing fees by credit card.
  • Proof of Valid Marriage (for marriage green card applicants only): Be sure to sign all forms in the relevant places.

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 Form I-130 cover letter template to get started. 

Step 3: Mail Your Petition to USCIS

Mail your petition packet and fees to the proper direct filing address. The address you’ll use depends on what your petitioner’s home state is. It is a good idea to send your mail packet in a form that uses a tracking number so you can ensure it’s delivered.

Step 4: Wait for Notices About Your Petition

You will receive several notices throughout the application process. These will be mailed to the mailing address on your petition and will give you any updates on your case status, requests for more information, and notices of upcoming appointments. A standard petition will receive the following notices:

Receipt Notice

USCIS will send you a notice stating that they have received your 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 (RFE)

If USCIS needs any additional information from you, they will notify you. Requests for evidence often arrive 2-3 months after you file 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.

Form I-130 Petition Approval Notice

When USCIS approves your petition (Form I-130), it will send you a notice stating this. This notice will also contain a priority date. This date tells you when you will be able to submit your green card application. You can look at the latest Visa Bulletin to see which priority dates USCIS is currently processing for Form I-130. Check out our guide to How To Read the Visa Bulletin to learn more. 

It can take as few as five months or as long as 13 years for you to receive a petition approval notice. Most ImmigrationHelp.org petitions are approved 5–12 months after filing.

Step 5: Wait for Your Priority Date

Your priority date determines when you can apply for a green card. Several factors influence this date, including:

  • Your relationship to the petitioner, which determines your preference category
  • The number of green cards available for your category in a given year
  • The USCIS backlog
  • The country you are applying fro

There are six preference categories for family green cards. 

Preference Category Who’s Included? When Is a Green Card Usually Available?
Immediate Relative Spouses, unmarried children (under age 21), and parents (sponsoring child age 21+) of U.S. citizens Green cards are typically available immediately for this category.
Family Preference 1* Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens Green cards are typically available six years after filing for this category.
Family Preference 2A* Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of permanent residents Green cards are typically available two months after filing for this category.
Family Preference 2B Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents Green cards are typically available five years after filing for this category.
Family Preference 3 Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens Green cards are typically available 12 years after filing for this category.
Family Preference 4 Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens Green cards are typically available 13 years after filing for this category.

*Most applications prepared by ImmigrationHelp.org are in these preference categories.

Step 6: Complete the Required Medical Exam

Once your priority date becomes current, you will need to complete your required medical exam and get a signed Form I-693 from the attending physician no more than 60 days before submitting your Form I-485 application. Unless you’re instructed to come back to the doctor’s office, the doctor will provide your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.

Alternatively, you can complete the exam after you file and bring the signed I-693 with you to your interview.

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 7: Pay Your Remaining Green Card Filing Fees

Most applicants are required to pay filing fees when they submit their applications. These fees change periodically. You can confirm the current fees for each of the forms in your packet by looking at 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.

You can pay filing fees with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or 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 “Biometrics” if it’s for a biometrics fee or “Form I-485” if it’s your form filing fee.

Most applicants who file Form I-485 will pay $1,140. Applicants under 13 years old who are applying with their parent(s) typically pay $750. Most applicants must also pay an $85 biometrics fee. However, applicants who are under 14 years old or over 79 years old don’t have to pay a biometrics fee.

Step 8: Assemble Your Green Card Application Form I-465 and Supporting Documents

Your completed packet needs to include these forms and the supporting documents listed under each. Be sure to sign all forms in the relevant places. In general, the forms and their supporting documents should be assembled in the following order:

  • Form G-1145: This is an optional form that authorizes USCIS to send an e-notice when it accepts your application.
  • Form G-1450: This is an optional form that authorizes USCIS to charge your credit card if you want to pay your filing fees by credit card.
  • Form I-485: Adjustment of Status and all required Form I-485 supporting documents (required).
  • Form I-864: Affidavit of Support and all required supporting documents (required).
  • Form I-797 (Receipt Notice) from your approved Form I-130 petition (required).
  • Form I-693: Report of Medical Examination and Vaccine Record (required).
  • Form I-131 and supporting documents: This is an optional form you can file if you want to travel outside the U.S. as a green card holder.
  • Form I-765 and supporting documents: This is an optional form you can file if you want to work in the U.S. as a green card holder.

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

Step 9: Mail Your Green Card Application to USCIS

Now you’ll mail your full application packet and fees to USICS. The address to send it to depends on what service you use to mail it. It is a good idea to send your packet with tracking so that you can keep track of 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 10: Wait for Notices About Your Green Card Application

You will get many notices throughout the application process, just like you did with Form I-130. These will be mailed to the address you provided on your paperwork and will give you any updates on your case status, requests for more information, and notices of upcoming tasks and events. In addition to the Receipt Notice and RFE detailed in Step 4, a standard application will receive the following notices:

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.

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.

Step 11: Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

When you apply for a family green card, you are required to attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment. The purpose of this appointment is to ensure you do not have a serious criminal record or any relevant prior immigration violations. You’ll likely attend your 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 12: 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 13: 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.

Family Green Card FAQs:

How Much Does a Family Green Card Cost?

ImmigrationHelp.org does not charge anything to help you prepare and file your application, but you will need to pay government fees of $1,760 for the majority of applications.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Family Green Card?

Most applications take 7–15 months. You can check the current USCIS processing times by form number and service center online.

What Should I Do if I Have Questions?

If you need help with any part of the application process, you can contact us.

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