What's the difference between a one-step and a two-step green card?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
A lot of times you'll hear these phrases thrown out, one-step or two-step for adjustment or for a visa application.
I thought we'd make this video to explain to you what happens when someone applies for lawful permanent resident status and typically where you see this is when the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident.
For U.S. citizens, there's an unlimited number of green cards available, an unlimited number of immigrant visas available.
So those cases, if a U.S. citizen is filing for adjustment of status here in the United States or even if they're applying for someone overseas, that's going to be called a one-step because you can do it all at once.
You file it and it all goes through one process.
Now, the two-step process typically involves a situation where the petitioner is a lawful permanent resident.
Of course, Congress has placed a cap on the number of green cards available for family members of green card holders themselves.
This is a situation where someone is a lawful permanent resident and they're married. Let's say their spouse is here on an F-1 student visa or a work visa of some sort and they want to get a green card for their spouse.
Typically there's a backlog on these types of cases, which means that you have to do a two-step. A two-step involves filing an I-130 petition for the family member, typically the spouse or the child or whoever it is and then once that I-130 is approved and the visa, the priority date becomes current in the visa bulletin, then you would go ahead and file the actual I-485.
That's the second step. That's the two-step process. One step is filing the I-130 and then when the visa becomes current and when your priority date becomes current, then you can file the I-485. That's the second step and so that's the two-step.
In the current situation, what we've been seeing for the first time in my entire career as an immigration lawyer, is that the priority date for the spouses and children of green card holders are current.
So, the priority dates are current, which means that the spouses of lawful permanent residents can file a one-step application.
They can file the I-130 and the I-485. As long as that priority date remains current in the visa bulletin each month, you'll be able to still go ahead and just do a one-step.
If you have questions about how this all works about when you file the I-130 and when you file the I-485, give us a call at (314) 961-8200.
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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.