Green Card Documents

Preparing your green card application requires a lot more than just the form. You’ll need to submit supporting documents that prove you’re eligible for U.S. permanent residence.

What exactly are the green card documents you’ll need? 

That depends on your situation or eligibility category. Click below on your green card category to see which supporting documents you need to include with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

uscis form i-485 with supporting documents on american flag
A USCIS Form I-485 with supporting documents on an American flag. Your path to permanent residency in the U.S. will require other green card documents with your application.

Categories

Each category represents possible paths to permanent U.S. residency. To obtain more information, determine which one applies to you. Information is also available if you are applying for a green card through consular processing.

Green Card Documents for All Applicants

Based on an Immigrant Petition

Spouse or Child (Derivative) of Another Green Card Applicant (Principal)

Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen, or K-2 Child of Fiancé(e)

Refugee

Cuban Citizen or National

Based on Continuous Residence Since Before Jan. 1, 1972

Green Card Documents for All Applicants

There’s quite a lot of documentation you’ll need to apply for permanent residency and many ways to get a green card. All applicants, no matter their status, are required to submit the following documentation to apply for a green card.

Criminal History

If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason, and no charges were filed, submit an original official statement by the arresting agency or applicable court order confirming that no charges were filed.

If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason, and charges were filed, or if charges were filed against you without an arrest, submit an original or court-certified copy of the complete arrest record and/or disposition for each incident (e.g., dismissal order, conviction record, or acquittal order).

If you have ever been convicted or placed in an alternative sentencing program or rehabilitative program (such as drug treatment or community service program), submit an original or court-certified copy of your probation or parole record along with the evidence you completed your sentence. This can include:  

  • An original or certified copy of your probation or parole record; or
  • Evidence that you completed an alternative sentencing program or rehabilitative program.

If you have ever had any arrest or conviction vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged, or otherwise removed from your record, submit:

  • An original or court-certified copy of the court vacating, setting aside, sealing, expunging, or otherwise removing the arrest or conviction; or
  • An original statement from the court that no record exists of your arrest or conviction.

NOTE: Unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug-related, you do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine of less than $500 and/or points on your driver’s license.

Birth Certificate

Submit a copy of your foreign birth certificate or other records of your birth. If this document is unavailable, you can submit “secondary evidence.” For example, you could submit church or school records.

Copy of Passport Page With Non-immigrant Visa

If you have a nonimmigrant (temporary) U.S. visa or visas, you must submit photocopies of your passport containing the visa(s).

Photos

Submit two identical, passport-style color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of the filing of this application. Many pharmacies and post offices can provide passport-style photographs. A quick google search should help you find a nearby place to have them taken.

Medical Examination

When required, submit a medical examination report on Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. All applicants filing for adjustment of status to a permanent resident must submit Form I-639 completed by a designated civil surgeon.

Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet

You must also submit a completed Form G-325A if you are between 14 and 79 years of age.

Based on an Immigrant Petition

This category is for people who have an immigrant visa number immediately available based on an approved immigrant petition or have a completed relative petition (Form I-130), special immigrant juvenile petition, or special immigrant military petition.

This includes the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen: spouse, unmarried child under age 21, and parent (if the U.S. citizen is over age 21). In addition to the green card documents required for all applicants, you must submit:

Affidavit of Support or I-485 Supplement J

Submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support if your I-485 is based on your entry as a relative visa petition (Form I-130) or an employment-based visa petition (Form I-140) related to a business that is five percent or more owned by your family. 

Submit Form I-485 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability Under INA Section 204(j) if your Form I-485 is related to an employment-based visa petition (Form I-140) filed in an employment-based immigrant visa category that required a job offer.

These forms are to be completed by your petitioner to show that you have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support,

Evidence of Eligibility

You’ll also need a copy of the approval notice for an immigrant petition that makes a visa number immediately available to you; OR a complete relative, special immigrant juvenile, or special immigrant military petition that, if approved, will make a visa number immediately available to you

Spouse or Child (Derivative) of Another Green Card Applicant (Principal)

Derivative applicants are the spouses and children of the principal adjustment of status applicant. If the spouse or child is in the United States, the derivative applicants may file their Form I-485 with the principal applicant, or file any time after the principal’s Form I-485 is approved (if a visa number is available.) 

If the spouse or child is living abroad, the principal applicant should file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, together with the principal’s Form I-485, to allow the derivatives to immigrate to the United States without delay if the principal’s Form I-485 is approved.

In addition to the green card documents required for all applicants, you must submit:

Affidavit of Support

You must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This form is to be completed by your petitioner to show that you have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.

Evidence of Eligibility

File your application with the application of the other applicant, or with evidence that the application is pending with the USCIS or was approved, or with evidence that your spouse or parent was granted permanent residence based on an immigrant visa.

If you are applying as the spouse of that person, also attach a copy of your marriage certificate and copies of documents showing the legal termination of all other marriages by you and your spouse.

If you are applying as the child of that person, attach also a copy of your birth certificate and, if the other person is not your parent, submit copies of evidence (such as a marriage certificate and documents showing the legal termination of all other marriages and an adoption decree) to demonstrate that you qualify as his or her child.

Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen, or K-2 Child of Fiancé(e)

This category is for individuals who were admitted to the U.S. as the K-1 fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen and you married that citizen within 90 days of entering the United States. It is also for the K-2 child of such a fiancé(e).

In addition to the green card documents required for all applicants, you must submit:

Affidavit of Support

You must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This form is to be completed by your petitioner to show that you have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.

Evidence of Eligibility

Attach a copy of the fiancé(e) petition approval notice, a copy of your marriage certificate, and your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Document.

Refugee

As a refugee, you can apply to adjust status after you have been admitted as a refugee and have been physically present in the United States for 1 year following your admission.

In addition to the documents required for all applicants, you must submit a copy of the letter or Form I-94 that shows the date you were granted asylum.

Cuban Citizen or National

You may apply to adjust status if you are a native or citizen of Cuba, were admitted or paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959, and have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 1 year. 

The spouse and the unmarried child of such a Cuban may also apply to adjust status, regardless of nationality, as long as they were also admitted or paroled after January 1, 1959, and have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 1 year.

In addition to the green card documents required for all applicants, you must submit evidence of your citizenship or nationality, such as a copy of your passport, birth certificate, or travel document.

Based on Continuous Residence Since Before Jan. 1, 1972

You may apply for permanent residence if you have continuously resided in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972. This is known as “Registry.”

In addition to the green card documents required for all applicants, you must submit copies of evidence that shows continuous residence since before January 1, 1972.

Why Does USCIS Need So Much Documentation?

The USCIS wants to make sure that anyone who could become a permanent resident isn’t going to be a burden on the U.S. government, a so-called public charge. This could happen because they’re a criminal or can’t support themselves.

They also need to prove that the method you’re using to get permanent residency is legitimate. For most immigrants, that’s what the sponsorship process is for. By having a family member, spouse, or employer vouch for you and promise to support you, the government has less worry.

What if I Can’t Find My Documentation?

While FileRight can help you prepare your application package, we cannot help you if you’re missing some of these documents, like your birth certificate. If you can’t find some of your green card documents, we encourage you to speak with an immigration lawyer.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

By clicking “Send” you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Check Your Application Status