How to get a Green Card through Marriage

What is a Green Card through Marriage?

When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national, the foreign spouse may qualify for a marriage-based green card and become a lawful permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident. Getting a green card through marriage to a US Citizen allows the foreign spouse to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) depending upon if the foreign spouse legally entered the United States even if the foreign spouse became out of status subsequently. When the foreign spouse is in the United States, the foreign spouse may apply for a green card by submitting an application through USCIS without having to leave the United States if they entered legally. This process is called filing for an adjustment of status (I-485). After filing for an adjustment of status, the alien spouse can legally reside and work in the United States once an employment authorization document also known as an EAD is issued, as they will become eligible for an employment authorization 90 days after filing for an adjustment of status.

In the U.S. the “immediate relative” classification (including spouse) allows a foreign national to apply for an immigrant visa without having to worry about preference categories or priority backlogs, since an immigrant visa will always be available to him or her. However, the green card marriage process can be complicated and requires in depth analysis by an experienced attorney to present evidence of a bona fide marriage and to prepare for the green card interview by being advised of possible green card marriage interview questions.

90 days prior to the Three Years anniversary of when the beneficiary spouse became a Lawful Permanent Resident, the beneficiary spouse may be eligible to apply to become a US citizen if certain conditions are met.

At the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C., we make sure our clients feel secure through every step when applying for a green card through marriage. We immediately respond to our clients’ inquiries and keep them up to date with their progress from start to finish as well as the USCIS processing times. That is why we are known for providing quality service in addition to legal counsel. To find out more about how we can help you and your spouse to apply for the green card through marriage, call us today at (800) 792-9889.

How to apply for a green card through marriage?

The U.S. Citizen or U.S permanent resident marrying a foreign national must submit a green card through marriage petition (I-130) to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to petition for his/her spouse. The U.S. Citizen petitioning for the spouse is referred to as the petitioner or sponsor, and the immigrant spouse who is marrying a green card holder or U.S. Citizen is referred to as the beneficiary.

What are the requirements to apply for an adjustment of status or green card through marriage in the United States?

A foreign national who is interested in applying for an adjustment of status through marriage to a US Citizen, also known as green card through marriage in the United States must meet following minimum conditions:

If the foreign national does not fulfill the two former requirements, then he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status through an Immigrant Visa Process (IVP) instead. If the applicant spouse is not in the U.S. yet, the process is called applying for a green card via consular processing. Also, if he or she has immigration violations which render them inadmissible, they may be eligible for waiver(s) if considered inadmissible due to past criminal or immigration violations. This requires analysis by an experienced immigration attorney.

What are the documents needed to apply for green card through marriage?

Green card marriage applicants must submit comprehensive evidence to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prove the bona fide marriage or legitimacy and authenticity of their marriage.

Among the list of documents for green card through marriage application, the two primary forms are:

Additionally, the following two ancillary forms must be submitted:

A USCIS approved civil surgeon must conduct a medical examination of the foreign national spouse to ensure he or she is not inadmissible on medical grounds.

The form i 864 checks whether the US citizen spouse is able to financially support the immigrant spouse through the signing of an affidavit letter support.

The form i 944 checks if the applicant is likely to become a public charge in the future. If so, this could be grounds to render the applicant inadmissible.

Finally, the following forms may be submitted to establish or preserve the foreign national spouse’s employment eligibility and travel privileges:

A foreign national may file the form i765 alongside the adjustment of status (aos) paperwork to receive employment authorization while his or her adjustment of status case is pending. If the i765 is approved, he or she receives an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows him or her to work in any position for any employer.

A foreign national may file this alongside adjustment of status paperwork to retain international travel privileges while his or her adjustment of status case is pending. If approved, he or she receives an Advance Parole Document.

If an applicant departs the U.S. before the adjustment of status application is granted and without an advance parole, he or she may forfeit their application for an adjustment of status or a green card through marriage.

How long is the green card through marriage processing time?

In this part we are analyzing the timeline for the green card marriage process assuming the applicant spouse is residing in the U.S. with a valid visa. For this case, the timeline is as shown in the following flow chart:

The timeline given is an estimate and can vary and we can provide an estimate USCIS processing times for a green card based upon current processing times.

What happens after the application for green card marriage gets approved?

When the green card through marriage application is approved, the applicant spouse receives a conditional green card (CR1), which is temporary and valid for 2 years if the marriage is less than 2 years when the green card is issued. It is important that 90 days before the end of this conditional period, the couple files together the form i 751 (“Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence”) in order to obtain a 10 year green card through marriage, known as permanent green card which is valid for 10 years. USCIS will re-evaluate the authenticity of the marriage before granting this “immediate relative” green card, or ir1.

Some of the criteria to remove the conditional status are:

Once the spouse obtains the permanent green card, the spouse can apply for naturalization through the Form N-400 (“Application for Naturalization”) after 3 years of being married to a U.S. citizen and living in the USA.

For this step, some of the general requirements are:

In order to apply for green card through marriage, do I have to first apply for the k1 visa?

The k1 visa, also known as fiancé visa, is the visa used to bring a foreign fiancé to the United States so that the couple can marry within 90 days and afterwards apply for a marriage green card for the foreign partner and ultimately obtain citizenship. As the name implies, the k1 fiancé visa is meant for couples who are still not married. If you are a U.S citizen and your fiancé lives abroad and you want to bring her/him to the US and have your wedding here, the k1 visa might be the right path for you. The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles has a 100% approval rate in k1 visa applications. If you are interested in pursuing a fiancé visa give us a call at (800) 792-9889 to get a consultation.

Now, if your immigrant fiancé lives abroad and you are looking to have your wedding abroad (in your fiancé’s home country for example) but then live together in the US, the process you are looking for is known as consular processing. In this article we are focusing on the green card marriage process for when both the U.S Citizen and the immigrant spouse are physically in the United States.

What is the total USCIS Filing Fees and or USCIS Government Cost of green card processing?

Call the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles now at (800) 792-9889 to get a consultation and start your marriage based green card process.

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