Getting a Green Card through Marriage

Green Card through MarriageOne of the best and easiest ways to get a US Green Card, is through marriage.

A non-US citizen will become eligible for a US Green Card if he/she gets married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Marriage based Green Card options are based on the type of marriage and also depend on whether the applicants are spouses of US citizens or Green Card holders.

If you are a citizen of a foreign country legally married to a US citizen, you will be considered as an immediate relative of that US citizen. People who are considered immediate relatives of US citizens will not be put on a waiting list and they are exempt from numerical limitation

The spouses of permanent residents do not belong to the immediate relatives category. They belong to the 2A family preference category. People who belong to the family preference categories are subject to annual limits and they will be issued immigrant visas only after their priority dates become current. The date on which the USCIS receives Form I-130, is the priority date.

Eligibility Requirements

To get you a Green Card through marriage, your spouse must be a US citizen or a legal resident of the country.

If your spouse is a permanent resident or a citizen of America;

  • You must be legally married to your spouse and you need to prove that by providing documentary evidence, such as a legal marriage certificate.
  • Your spouse must be above age 18 and capable of signing an affidavit of support for you..

Married to US Citizen Inside the United States

If you get married to a US citizen, while in America as a non-immigrant, Form I-130 and Form I-485 for adjustment of status, can be filed together. Your US citizen spouse must file Form I-130 and you must file Form I-485.

Forms that must be filed

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence
  • Form G-325, Biographic Information (for both the petitioner and the beneficiary)
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • Form I-765, Application for Work Authorization (if needed)
  • Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document (if needed)
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination Results
  • A certified copy of your civil marriage certificate
  • A proof of the petitioner’s US citizenship
  • Copies of your birth certificate and that of your spouse
  • Photocopies of your passport and medical certificates
  • A copy of Form I-94 to establish that you entered America legally

USCIS will review and consider applications that have been filled out completely and petitions that accompany all the required supporting documents. As you hold a valid non-immigrant visa and you are eligible for adjustment of status, you need not go through consular processing that is meant for the spouses of US citizens who are abroad.

You can remain in America after filing these applications and need not go to your home country to get an immigrant visa. After your petition is approved, a Green Card will be issued to you.

Married to US Citizen Outside the United States

If married abroad, you must go through consular processing. To go through this process, your spouse must first file Form I-130 and sponsor you. After this petition is approved by the USCIS, you must apply for and get an immigrant visa from a US Consulate or Embassy in your home country.

Forms that must be filed

  • Form I-130,Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form G-325, Biographic Information (for both the petitioner and the beneficiary)
  • A certified copy of the marriage certification
  • Copies of petitioner’s US Passport, citizen’s birth certificate, certificate of naturalization or citizenship
  • Copies of your birth certificate and your spouse’s

USCIS will forward the approved Form I-130 to the US Embassy or US Consulate, in your home country. The respective consulate or embassy will then require you to apply for an immigrant visa. You must undergo medical examinations and appear for an immigrant visa interview.

After being interviewed, you will be issued an immigrant visa within six months from the date of your interview. However, spouses of Green Card holders will have to wait for several years to get into the United States as they are subject to numerical limitations.

Married to Green Card holder inside the United States

If you are married to a permanent resident in America, you can adjust your status to permanent resident status. But remember that you cannot file an application for adjustment of status when your permanent resident spouse files Form I-130, on your behalf. You need to wait until your priority date becomes current and then file Form I-485.

Forms that must be filed

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence
  • Form G-325, Biographic Information (for both the petitioner and the beneficiary)
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • A copy Form I-94 to prove that you entered into America legally
  • A copy of the petitioner’s alien registration card (Green Card)
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination Results
  • A certified copy of the marriage certification
  • Copies of your birth certificate and your spouse’s
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (if needed)
  • Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document (if needed)

You may not be able to remain in the country legally until the priority date becomes current. If you need to stay in America until you file Form I-485, you will have to obtain a non-immigrant visa that would permit you to stay legally in the country until then.

Soon after the priority date becomes current, you can file an application for adjustment of status and you can remain in America legally, after filing Form I-485.

Remember that if your non-immigrant visa expires before your priority date becomes current, you will be placed in removal proceedings. Hence, you need to obtain a student visa or some other non-immigrant visa that would help you to remain in America until you adjust your status. Remember that it might take around three years for the priority date to become current.

Married to a Green Card holder Outside the United States

If you get married to a Green Card holder, in your home country, your spouse must file Form I-130 for you, to get you a Green Card. You need to wait until the USCIS approves that petition and then file an application for an immigrant visa in your home country.

You will have to wait for a long time as the spouses of permanent residents are not considered as immediate relatives. You can file an application for an immigrant visa only after you are notified by the local US Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Forms that must be filed

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Two completed and signed G-325A’s
  • Copies of your and your spouse’s birth certificates
  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your spouse’s alien registration card
  • A copy of your marriage certificate

Conditional Green Card

If your marriage is not more than two years old, you will initially be issued a two year conditional Green Card. This card cannot be renewed and to remove conditions on that card, you and your US citizen spouse must jointly file Form I-751. This must be done prior to the expiration of your conditional status. If that petition is approved, you will be issued a ten year unconditional Green Card.

USCitizenship.info | Articles


Related Products


Categories

Category Archives