Getting a Green Card Through Marriage
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) with a green card, then you are eligible to apply for your own green card. The process requires several steps and it is important to comply with requirements precisely and promptly to avoid unnecessary or denial of your application.
If there is any hint of misrepresentation in your documentation or application, you could not only find your application denied but also find it very difficult to reapply in the future. To avoid potential problems, many green card applicants find it beneficial to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help ensure that they fulfill requirements properly. At American Dream™ Law Office, we understand how to ensure compliance and will stand by you throughout the process to achieve your goals.
Petitioning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Your spouse completes the first step in the process of applying for a marriage-based green card. As sponsor, your spouse files a Form I-130 “Petition for Alien Relative” with USCIS. The form must be accompanied by appropriate documentation to prove the validity of your marriage and other key facts.
If the spouse seeking a green card is already in the United States, an immigration attorney may recommend filing a concurrent application for Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent resident at the same time as filing the petition. Your spouse, as sponsor, will also need to file a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support pledging to provide financial support and demonstrating the means to do so.
Applying for an Immigrant Visa or Adjusting to Permanent Status
The second part of the process involves applying for a permanent visa or changing status to that of a lawful permanent resident. Generally, if a spouse is located in the U.S., this part of the process is accomplished by filing the Adjustment of Status form, and if the spouse is outside the U.S., the immigrant petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center for processing.
Permanent visas are issued in limited numbers each year, and applications are ranked in order of preference. Spouses of U.S. citizens are in the highest preference category and are not subject to quotas, so the wait time is less than for spouses of LPRs who may have to wait some time for a visa to become available before they are allowed to apply.
Interviews and the Validity of Your Marriage
Whether the spouse is in the U.S. or abroad, if the immigration petition and visa application meet with preliminary approval, then the spouse seeking a green card will need to undergo an interview. The interview may be at a USCIS office or the U.S. embassy or consulate in the spouse’s country of citizenship.
Because marriage offers a legitimate path to residency and citizenship in the U.S., government agencies want to ensure that marriages in immigration cases are legitimate and not a sham. It is important to have not only evidence of a valid marriage, such as a marriage certificate, but also evidence proving the legitimacy of the relationship.
A Dedicated Immigration Attorney Can Help You Get a Green Card Through Marriage
It is not enough just to qualify for a marriage-based green card. You must show that you qualify.
An experienced immigration lawyer understands the documentation requirements and the forms of evidence U.S. agencies find most persuasive in the green card application process. To learn about how the dedicated team at American Dream™ Law Office could help you get a green card through marriage, contact us today for a confidential consultation.
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