Concurrent filing in the context of marriage-based adjustment of status applications typically refers to the simultaneous submission of two important forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Here’s a breakdown of the two forms and their roles:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative:
- This form is filed by a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident on behalf of their foreign-born spouse.
- It establishes the qualifying relationship between the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and the beneficiary (the foreign-born spouse).
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:
- This form is used by the foreign-born spouse to apply for lawful permanent resident status (green card) while already in the United States.
- It is typically filed concurrently with the I-130 petition to streamline the process and allow the foreign-born spouse to seek adjustment of status without leaving the U.S.
Concurrent filing is advantageous because it enables the foreign-born spouse to file for adjustment of status sooner rather than waiting for the I-130 petition to be approved first. In the past, applicants had to wait for the I-130 petition to be approved before they could file the I-485 application.
It’s important to note that both the I-130 petition and the I-485 application must meet certain eligibility criteria, and the foreign-born spouse must be eligible to adjust status in the United States. Additionally, the availability of visa numbers (visa bulletin) may impact the ability to file concurrently. Always check the latest USCIS guidelines and visa bulletin information when preparing and submitting concurrent filings for adjustment of status.
Can Forms I-765 and I-131 be filed concurrently too?
Yes, Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) can be filed concurrently with the marriage-based adjustment of status application (Form I-485). Filing these forms together is often referred to as a “concurrent filing” or “concurrent I-765 and I-131 filing.”
Here’s a brief overview of each form:
- Form I-765 (Employment Authorization):
- This form is used to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows the foreign-born spouse to legally work in the United States while their adjustment of status application is pending.
- Form I-131 (Travel Document):
- This form is used to apply for a Travel Document, which allows the foreign-born spouse to travel outside the United States and return during the pendency of the adjustment of status application without abandoning the application.
Filing Forms I-765 and I-131 concurrently with Form I-485 can be beneficial as it allows the foreign-born spouse to obtain work authorization and travel documents while the adjustment of status application is being processed. This can be particularly important since the processing times for these forms can vary, and it provides flexibility for the applicant’s ability to travel and work during the adjudication period.
What is the benefit of concurrent filing?
Concurrent filing in the context of immigration refers to the ability to submit multiple related immigration forms at the same time. The primary benefit of concurrent filing is efficiency and time savings. In marriage-based adjustment of status applications, the concurrent filing of Forms I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and I-131 (Application for Travel Document) offers several advantages:
- Faster Employment Authorization (EAD): By filing Form I-765 concurrently with the adjustment of status application, the foreign-born spouse can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally work in the United States. This allows them to potentially secure employment sooner while waiting for the adjustment of status to be processed.
- Advance Parole for Travel: Concurrent filing of Form I-131 allows the foreign-born spouse to apply for Advance Parole, which is a travel document. This enables them to travel outside the United States and return without abandoning their adjustment of status application. It’s particularly useful for individuals who may need to travel for personal or professional reasons.
- Streamlined Processing: Filing multiple forms concurrently streamlines the overall processing time. Instead of waiting for each form to be processed sequentially, USCIS can review and adjudicate them simultaneously, potentially reducing the overall waiting time for various benefits.
- Efficient Documentation Submission: Submitting all necessary forms and supporting documentation together helps ensure that the entire application package is comprehensive and complete. This reduces the chances of delays due to additional documentation requests from USCIS.
- Integrated Processing: USCIS can review all aspects of the case holistically, considering the familial relationship, eligibility for adjustment of status, work authorization, and travel document needs in a coordinated manner.
How to check if I am eligible for concurrent filing?
Determining eligibility for concurrent filing in a marriage-based adjustment of status application involves assessing various factors. Here are the general steps to check if you are eligible for concurrent filing:
- Review Immigration Categories:
- Ensure that you are eligible for adjustment of status based on your relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. Generally, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (including spouses) have certain privileges, such as not being subject to visa number limitations.
- Check Visa Bulletin:
- Review the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State to confirm the availability of visa numbers. Some individuals may need to wait for a visa number to become available before filing the adjustment of status application.
- Verify Eligibility for I-485:
- Confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for filing Form I-485, including being physically present in the United States, maintaining lawful status, and meeting any other specific criteria outlined by USCIS.
- Eligibility for I-130:
- Ensure that you are eligible to have an I-130 petition filed on your behalf by a qualifying U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. This involves demonstrating the existence of a qualifying familial relationship.
- Employment Authorization and Travel Document:
- If you intend to file Forms I-765 (Employment Authorization) and I-131 (Travel Document) concurrently, check the eligibility criteria for these benefits. For example, individuals with pending adjustment of status applications are generally eligible for an EAD.
- Check USCIS Instructions and Policies:
- Regularly check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date instructions, forms, and policies related to concurrent filing. USCIS may update eligibility criteria or procedures, and it’s essential to have the latest information.
- Consult with an Immigration Attorney:
- If you have questions or concerns about your eligibility for concurrent filing, consider consulting with an experienced immigration attorney. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation, ensuring that you understand the requirements and potential challenges.