Blog for Postdocs / Phds, National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability

Disclaimer: The contents in this web site are only for your information and are not intended to be legal advice. While many of our applicants successfully obtain their I-140 approvals, the information here should not be considered as a guarantee of your green card application outcome.

When should I file for my wife’s I-485?


I got an RFE in September (on NYSDOT 3rd prong) to which I submitted a response two weeks before the deadline in December.  I just got an e-mail from USCIS that my I-140 (NIW) has been approved!

Thank you very much for your help on this — you’ve got another candidate to add to your list of self-petition success stories. Now for two important questions:
1.  I was planning on getting married in June 2014, but now reconsidering getting a registered marriage done before I file my I-485… Is this the right way to go so I can co-file I-485 for my spouse?  I heard that dependents (after my I-485 is approved) can take a long time (>5 years) to get approved.
2.  Since I filed my self-petition as single, will a recent marriage certificate (after the date of my I-140 approval) and now filing my I-485 as married affect my green card approval in anyway?
I would greatly appreciate your speedy response on this since I’m currently outside of the US with my fiancee and am planning on returning on the 20th of Jan to complete my PhD by the 1st of May — this is when my current F1 student visa status expires.
Thank you very much,
Congratulations on your success!!
You are correct. It is easier to apply for spouse green card at the same time as yours. However, it is also possible to add later and the process involves processing form i-824. The later process is complicated. You can read about it online for example on this link.
If you choose to do first approach you would have no problem because her name was not mentioned on i-140.
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4 Responses to When should I file for my wife’s I-485?

  • CD says:


    My name is Paul and I recently graduated with a PhD in Petroleum Engineering with a decent amount of publications and citations. The link to my google scholar page is below.

    I want to apply for the NIW with my wife as a dependent. We already have an American kid. However, my wife is an undocumented immigrant (with lawful entrance into the US) and has already obtained her work permit using DACA. Is it possible to get her status changed, assuming my NIW application is approved?

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi CD

      We are not experts to answer your question on undocumented immigrants eligibility to adjust status on an approved I-140.

      Your publications and citations look good and would be very useful for NIW. Besides these if you can satisfy two more USCIS NIW criteria, you would be able to succeed in a NIW application.

      Best wishes

  • A L says:

    My husband got a green card through the NIW last July, he stated we were married but we also stated no for adjustment of status now. because we did not have enough money to adjust our status at the same time.

    Ok now that he is approved, can I the wife adjust my status now? if so what forms do we need to file? we know of the 1-485 but should we add another form. I have also overstayed my F1 visa. is that going to be a problem on my application? I have an MS degree in Plant and Soil Science with Just two publications is that going to help me?

    I know we can wait for him to get his citizenship and then I can adjust but that is going to take five or more years. is this our only option at this time?
    Please advice on what to do.

    thanks for your response/

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      Please consult with an immigration attorney regarding your case. You will have different options, depending on how long you stayed in the U.S. beyond the duration of your status. Your degree and academic record is, unfortunately, of no use in this situation.

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