Filing an immigration petition is no simple feat. Contrary to popular belief, applicants don’t just send in one form that corresponds to the visa or benefit they are applying for. A full petition can include lots of paperwork, hundreds of pages, and a pile of supporting documents.

Documents to Include in an Immigration Packet

An immigration packet comes in a meager-sized envelope with the necessary forms to fill out and submit. But this is not the entire case that should be mailed to immigration. The applicant should provide supporting documents that show and prove every detail written down on the forms.

These supporting documents include but are not limited to:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate
  • Copy of passports
  • Proof of lawful entry to the United States
  • Photographs
  • Medical exam
  • And more.

Required Forms in a Marriage-Based Green Card Application

A marriage-based green card application is perhaps one of the biggest immigration cases and involves a great deal of paperwork. There are two parties involved in these cases: the U.S. citizen spouse, called the petitioner, and the foreign national spouse, called the beneficiary. Each of these parties will need to submit their own set of forms to immigration.

Forms for the Petitioner (U.S. Citizen Spouse)

The U.S. citizen spouse is always called the petitioner because they are petitioning for their foreign national spouse to remain and live with them in the United States. They will need to prepare and submit the following forms:

  • G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative: This form is used to show information about the petitioner’s lawyer and their eligibility to represent and act on behalf of the petitioner.
  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: This form establishes the relationship between the petitioner and their foreign national spouse.
  • I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA: This form shows that the petitioner is financially capable of sponsoring and supporting their foreign national spouse in the United States.

All of these forms are meant to help Immigration Services get biographic information about the petitioner, including where they worked for the past five years, where they have lived, information about who they are sponsoring, and information about their family (i.e. parents, spouses, ex-spouses, children, etc.)

Forms for the Beneficiary (Foreign National Spouse)

The most important parts of a marriage-based green card application are those that involve the beneficiary, or the foreign national spouse who is applying for the green card. Their packet of forms would include the following:

  • G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative: This form provides information about the beneficiary’s lawyer and their eligibility to represent them in the case.
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Green Card Application): 18 pages long, this provides all the required biographical information about the beneficiary and their family. It will also ask questions to determine their eligibility or inadmissibility for a green card, such as membership in any organization, criminal history, conduct, immigration violations, etc.
  • I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary: This form supplements the I-130 form filled up by the U.S. citizen spouse and is meant to collect additional information about the beneficiary’s relationship with the petitioner.
  • Temporary Benefits: The beneficiary spouse will also need temporary benefits should they be granted to live in the U.S. These include the work permit, which allows them to seek employment in the country, and the travel authorization, which permits them to leave the U.S. to travel. The required forms for these are the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-131, Application for Travel Document.

What Goes Into Drafting an Immigration Case?

To successfully prepare an immigration case, the applicant and their lawyer must gather all the data and information, collect all the supporting documents, and answer the forms. After that, a thorough check must be done to ensure that every answer is correct and the information provided matches the evidence that will be submitted with the forms.