Steps to Adjustment of Status 101

VisaCoach’s 11 steps to Adjustment of Status after marriage

You have worked long and hard, and been very patient through the long process to bring your Fiance to the USA, then to marry.

Now that the honeymoon is over, its time to once again work with USCIS (that means Homeland Security) to apply for official permission for your new spouse to remain in the USA permanently.

Having been granted a fiance visa, and having married on time, within the 90 days is NOT enough. Immigration is still skeptical, and needs to be convinced that your current situation truly merits Green Card Approval.

Since your future “happy ever after” is at stake it is important, no, it is essential, that each step taken to obtain permanent residency is carefully accomplished.


That is why here at VisaCoach we have set up clear and well thought out procedures that we follow for each and every case. This way we know that every T is crossed and every I is dotted to ensure Green Card approval. This is a much too important life-changing process to leave anything to chance.

Here goes.

Step 1: Personal Consultation.

Unlike attorneys and cheap computerized/robot type document preparers, I offer a very personal service. I get to know my couples well, and we work together as a team to accompish your goals. The truth is, getting a visa for your spouse was only a first step. After arrival, there’s still more to do, now there is getting the green card demonstrating CONDITIONAL permanent residency. Two years later, it is necessary to upgrade your spouse’s status from the conditional (lets call it “Temporary” permanent residency, to unconditional permanent residency, and eventually,finally US Citizenship. I work closely with you for all of these steps and we are together as long as it takes, usually many successful and cooperative years.

If I have already helped with your Fiance Visa, we already have begun and enjoyed our personal relationship and can continue it now. But if this is your first time to hear of VisaCoach, I strongly believe that its best that we start off on the right foot, by getting to know which other first, and making sure we are a good match from the “get go”. Thats why I invite you to speak with me directly on the telephone or on Skype. The is the “free eligibility consultation” I offer. I want to get to know you and the details of your past experience with immigration, your problems or any red flags. your goals and your desired timeline for moving forward to work authorization, advance parole and permanent residency,

Once I get to know you And IF we both feel compatible, and IF I believe I really CAN bring someting to the party to help make your goals come true, then I’ll offer my services and tell you exactly what I can do to help.

Step 2: Get Started. Background Info

First I send you via email a “get started kit”. It includes questions for you to answer that will give me the detailed backround information that will answer the questions that will be asked by USCIS. If you are a fiance visa client, I’ll just need updates on what has happened since your spouse’s arrival to USA. If a first time client, I’ll need your full set of background details as well. I am going to ask you all the questions I anticipate will be needed. Cause it is more efficient, you only have to do your “homework” once, AND because it gives me a chance to see the WHOLE picture. Cause if there are any issues, or red flags, I want to know about them as early as possible, so we can figure out early the best way to handle them.

Step 3: VisaCoach Audit

When I receive your response to the questions I do not act like a computer or robot and just paste in your answers. And say “we are done”. Instead I am going to AUDIT and review each of your answers, to make sure we do not accidentally trigger alarm bells at immigration. I review your answers to make sure there are no inconsistency, illogic, omissions, or gaps. I’ll go back to you (as needed) with questions on anything that I find needs clarification. I’ll work back and forth with you and your spouse until we have a clean set of data. And then we move forward

Step 4: Custom Personal Checklist

After auditing and vetting your background details I know your situation very well. Using this knowledge I customize for you a detailed checklist outlining all the documents, photographs and various evidences I want you to send me, because based on my experience with other cases, I think these can “win your case”. Remember from the other videos I have recorded, that my signature philosophy is that we can “win” approval of your case BEFORE the interview even starts by providing the reviewing officer what he needs to have, for him to be confident to approve.

You use the checklist I have prepared to obtain, then send me the type of evidences that go far beyond demonstrating BASIC eligibility, that instead demonstrate, yours is a genuine and honest relationship and marriage, and that your Permanent Residency merits approval.

By applying a higer VisaCoach standard, by anticipating and providing what is needed, this frequently results in the mandatory interview being waived by USCIS and your Spouses Green Card delivered in Mail without you and your spouse having had to attend an in-person interview

Step 5: Processing your shoebox.

I call the set of evidences, documents and photographs you send me, the “shoebox”. This is based upon my and maybe your family experience to where my mother kept bulky family heirlooms and treasures such as bronzed baby shoes, dried flowers from the prom, special letters tied with a ribbon, and the like in a shoebox in her closet. So after collecting your keepsakes and memories, as well as your civil documents and proofs of co-habitation and a joining of your two lifes, mail me your shoebox.

Once it arrives I literally turn off the phones to review to handle to examine each and every piece you have given me. I plan to handpick the best of the best.This is truly a situation where there is more Art then Science. I want to tell your full story to make the strongest case to win your visa’s approval. There has to be enough to tell your story to best effect, but the reviewing officer is busy. He won’t have much time nor patience. So I choose the right amount, not too much to divert the officers attention or make him feel we are “padding” the evidence, but just the right amount to make a convincing logical point, then to guide him to the next convincing point, and so on. By the end of his review I hope we have scored many points to convince him to say yes.

Remember, I want you to win. I believe if we show the correct evidences, and the right AMOUNT of evidences that the reviewing officer will approve.

After I have gone through your shoebox, if I don’t feel you have given me your best, given me all I expect you should have. I will go back to you and ask for more. It’s really critical to “touch all the bases” in putting together your Front Loaded Petition. We only have one chance with the reviewing officer to make a “good first impression”. So let’s do our best, now. If needed, I go back to you with suggestions and ideas on how we could dig deeper to win your case.

Step 6: Relationship letter

In order to improve your case’s chance of success, I recommend including with your petition a detailed and persuasive letter addressed to the reviewing officer that tells your honest story. Together we craft this letter to present you and your spouse as a sincere and deserving couple who are honest and should be granted a chance to have a life together in the USA.

And in case you’ve got red flags, here is where we take the opportunity to tell your side of the story, and explain the reasons why the red flag is not a valid reason to deny.

Step 7. Front Loaded Petition

Once I am confident your presentation is as strong as it can be. I will wrap up, by assembling your petition in a bound, tabbed, indexed package that is the way USCIS likes it. I speed it to you via priority mail. For you to review, sign and send off to USCIS. I’ll show you exactly how to write your check, and where and how to mail the package.

Step 8: USCIS

USCIS reviews your case. In about a month your spouse needs to visa a USCIS office to be fingerprinted and have an ID photo taken. If we have applied for Work Authorization and/or Advance Parole, these are granted in about two more months.

While waiting for USCIS to finish their review, I update you and your spouse on what to do while waiting, such as developing further useful proofs of your lifes together as well as practicing sample interview questions.

Step 9: Permanent Residency Interview

It’s a point of pride for me, that most of VisaCoach’s permanent residency applications are approved without an interview. But never will all interviews be waived, there will always be some held, if only due to random checking. If you are scheduled for the interview, I prepare you with final instructions and work closely with you to make sure you and your spouse are calm and well prepared, ready for a successful interview

Step 10: Welcome (to Stay) in the USA

Once the Green Card is approved, I’ll explain its terms and what your spouse’s rights and responsibilities are.

Step 11: Continuing support

If your marriage is under two years old, your spouse will only be granted “conditional” or temporary permanent residency. It is only good for two year. 2 years later, we need to apply to upgrade to change to un-restricted permanent residency. I mark my calendar to notify you in plenty of time to take action. And finally a year after that that US citizenship is on the table, if that is what your spouse wants, and I will be available to help with that too.

US immigration is not your enemy. But not your friend either. It is important to have VisaCoach on your side each step along the way..

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach