Marriage-Based Green Card
August 14, 2018
Foreign-born men and women who marry a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident can apply for a green card. Marriage does not automatically guarantee citizenship. Though this is a fairly common way to obtain a green card, it can be a lengthy and complex process.
A marriage green card allows the spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to live and work anywhere in the country. Green card holders are granted permanent resident status and are permitted to apply for United States citizenship after three years, if they desire.
Am I Eligible?
You are eligible for a marriage-based immigrant visa or green card if you are married to a United States citizen or permanent resident and can show that:
- Your marriage is legal
- Your spouse is a citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Neither spouse is married to anyone else
- Your marriage is bona fide, not a sham or fraudulent union
How Do I Obtain a Marriage Green Card?
Obtaining a marriage green card involves a three-step process:
- Establish the marriage: You must submit Form I-130, or the Petition for Alien Relative, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Submitted along with valid, supporting documents, Form I-130 establishes that a valid marriage exists. The United States citizen or green card holder as the sponsor or petitioner completes the form on behalf of the green card applicant.
- Establish the spouse’s eligibility for a green card: You must establish the foreign-born spouse’s eligibility for a marriage-based green card. If the spouse currently lives in the United States, you will file Form I-485 with the USCIS. This step involves government filing fees, several official documents, and a medical exam. If your spouse lives abroad, you should file an application with the National Visa Center, who will then contact your spouse for an interview in their home country.
- Attend the green card interview and wait for approval: During this final stage of the process, an interviewing officer asks the green card applicant questions about the couple’s history and daily lives to confirm the validity of the marriage. If the applying spouse lives in the United States, both spouses will attend the interview at their local USCIS agency. If approved, your green card will arrive via postal mail within two to three weeks.
If the applying spouse lives abroad, the interview is conducted at the United States embassy or consulate. The sponsoring spouse is not required to attend this appointment. If approved, the foreign-born spouse receives a visa stamp on their passport and a green card at the couple’s United States address within a few weeks.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Couples Obtain Marriage-Based Green Cards
For couples to obtain a marriage-based green card for a spouse born abroad, they must complete a systematic three-step process. Every document must be current, valid, and complete to prevent denials or delays. Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC protect the rights of men and women here and abroad. We ensure that you have everything you need to successfully complete your application. Call us today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area.