A Green Card marriage is a marriage of convenience between a legal resident of the United States of America and a person who would be ineligible for residency but for being married to the resident.
Green Card through Marriage Facts
- Permanent residence / green card through marriage can is the fastest way to obtain residency in the US.
- Be aware that these marriage green card petitions are investigated to ensure that the marriage is (legitimate) and that it was not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.
- Our firm has specializes in marriage green card petitions. We work with clients who are seeking marriage based green cards and other family visas.
- We have successfully handled hundreds of marriage green card cases and we can guide you through the current policies and prevent delays due to mistakes.
- If both the U.S. Citizen and Foreign National Spouse are in the U.S., the U.S. Citizen may apply for the Foreign National Spouse’s Permanent Residence through Adjustment of Status with the USCIS.
Eligibility for the green card through marriage:
- Any U.S. Citizen in the United States with a Foreign National Spouse who entered the U.S. legally with a visa or a visa waiver.
- It is OK if the visa or I-94 has expired.
- Canadian Citizens are not required to show proof of legal entry.
Probably the most sought after U.S. immigration benefit is obtaining permanent resident status. One of the most common ways an immigrant will get a green card is through the marriage to a US Citizen or permanent resident. Due to a prevalence of people marrying US residents fraudulently for the purposes of obtaining permanent resident status, these marriages are scrutinized by the USCIS to ensure that they are genuine.
As an immediate relative of a US citizen or permanent resident, a foreign spouse has easy access to permanent residency, compared to a non-related foreigner. The process for getting a family based green card for the spouse of a US resident is as follows.
File Petition for Alien Relative
Filing USCIS form I-130 is the first step towards getting an alien resident into the US. This petition establishes the relationship of the alien to a US resident. Additionally, both the alien seeking immigration and the US resident will need to submit details about biographic information. This is done by filling out and submitting form G-325A. Each applicant has the burden of proving the bona fides, i.e. good faith, of the marriage. Therefore, in addition to the submission of the forms, applicants are required to submit evidence of a valid marriage with documents such as birth and marriage certificates, wedding announcements, banking and insurance accounts, joint auto registration, driver’s license and joint credit card statements if available.
Adjustment of Status
For spouses of US citizens, processing will take only as long as the USCIS administrative process. In addition to the I-130 and I-325A, spouses of US Citizens can concurrently file for adjustment of status by submitting the I-485, Medical Report, Affidavit of Support (See paragraph below), an employment authorization document (EAD) and the Advance Parole (Travel Document), the associated photographs and Fees. If all the documents are properly submitted then your spouse is sent for a biometric (fingerprint) appointment. Shortly thereafter the US Citizen and spouse are scheduled for an immigration interview with the nearest USCIS Service Center. If all your documents are complete and original and certified copies are available for presentation at the adjustment interview you should be granted your Permanent Residence Status at the interview.
Visa Number For Non-Citizen Petitioners
However, for spouses of non-citizen US residents, a visa number must be available in order for the USCIS to process the petition. To find out more about available visa numbers, check the US Department of State Travel site. Spouses of non-US citizens generally have to go through consular processing in their home country and have to submit, the DS230 part 1 and affidavit of support with attachments to the National Visa Center before the interview is scheduled at the Consulate abroad. At the Consular interview you have to present your Medical Examination Report, The Affidavit of Support, Police clearance certificates for any country you have lived in for more than six months since age 16, original and certified copies of all other necessary documents.
Affidavit of Support
The petitioning spouse will have to prove to the US Government that he or she will be able to support the immigrant(s) financially. This is done with the Affidavit of Support. The household income must be at least at 125% of the current poverty level. This income requirement must be proven by the spouse that currently resides in the United States by providing copies of tax returns for the last three years, job letters for the petitioner and beneficiary if applicable and asset documents if it is being used to qualify financially. Assets include banks statements for the last 12 months, ownership documents for stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit, evidence of personal property and date acquired, evidence of ownership of real estate, date acquired and liens or liabilities attached to same. These assets must be readily available to convert to cash within one year.
Two Year Marriage Requirement and Conditional Green Card
For those couples who petition the USCIS prior to their two year marriage anniversary and a granted the permanent resident card, a “conditional green card” will be issued, which may require green card renewal later. This means that upon the two year marriage anniversary, both spouses will be required to appear for an interview with either an immigration official or consular officer to remove the conditions from the permanent resident card.
This interview is designed to determine two main things:
- Two Years of Residence together: Both spouses must have lived together for the two years after getting married.
- Legitimate Marriage: The immigration officer will need to be convinced that the marriage is genuine, and not simply a means of gaining permanent US residence.
Children of Alien Spouse
Any children of the alien spouse will also need to apply for permanent residence separately. Separate I-130 should all be packaged and sent together so that they can be reviewed at once.
A visa allows you to travel to the United States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border crossing) and ask the immigration officer to allow you to enter the country. Only the immigration officer has the authority to permit you to enter the United States. He or she decides how long you can stay for any particular visit. Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Visas: Immigrant / Nonimmigrant
Immigrant Visas are for people who intend to live permanently in the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.
Immigrants to the U.S.
Immigrating to the United States to live here permanently is an important, and complex decision. This section provides information to help foreign citizens desiring to permanently immigrate to determine the visas, requirements, and related materials they will need to apply to immigrate to the United States. For information on who can immigrate to the U.S., click on Visa Types for Immigrants . Click on the links below for information on visa forms, the Affidavit of Support, other requirements, and related materials for immigrants.
Effective March 20, 2007, consular posts abroad are again authorized to accept petitions for immediate relative immigrant classification from American citizens who are resident in their consular districts, U.S. service members, emergency cases involving life and death or health and safety considerations, and others determined to be in the national interest. See announcement about consular offices abroad accepting I-130 immigrant visa petitions.
Immigrant Visa Processing – The National Visa Center (NVC)
After the immigrant petition has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing . NVC plays an important role in the next steps of the U.S. immigration process. NVC provides instructions to petitioners and sponsors, and receives from sponsors, the required Affidavit of Support forms, fees, other required documents, and much more. For numerically limited family preference petitions, NVC contacts the petitioner once the petition’s immigration wait nears end, and the priority date is about to come current .
Learn more about the Affidavit of Support information and the National Visa Center .
See Visa Information for Immigrants for more information about the Visa Bulletin, required vaccinations, DNA testing and more.
Nonimmigrant Visas are for international travelers, (citizens of other countries), coming to the U.S. temporarily. This visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security immigration inspector to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. While in the U.S., temporary visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their nonimmigrant visa was issued, with few exceptions. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications on the USCIS website. The Consular Officer at your embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply.
Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you.
Apply for your Visa well in advance of your travel!
Important steps to remember:
- Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
- Review the visa wait times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide available on our website at Visa Wait Times. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
- Plan on an interview at the embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. As part of the visa interview, a quick fingerprint scan should be expected. Applicants who need additional screening are informed during the application process.
Information Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service