Obtaining a marriage green card is an important process for married couples who are looking to live and work in the United States. A green card allows non-U.S. citizens to secure lawful permanent residency in the United States. It’s essential for couples who are hoping to build a life together in the United States. In this blog post, we will discuss the process of obtaining a marriage green card, the requirements and benefits associated with it, and answer some commonly asked questions about the process.
What is a Marriage Green Card?
A marriage green card is a document that allows a foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to live and work permanently in the United States. The marriage green card, also known as a “permanent residence card” or “green card”, is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is usually valid for 2 or 10 years depending on how long you’ve been married.
To start the process, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for the foreign national spouse with USCIS. After the petition is approved, the foreign national spouse can enter the U.S. with a spousal immigrant visa.
The process of obtaining a marriage green card can be long and complex. It is important to make sure that all the paperwork is completed accurately and that all of the necessary documents are provided. The foreign national spouse must also pass a medical exam and attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Once the marriage green card is obtained, the foreign national spouse can live and work in the U.S. permanently.
How to Get a Marriage Green Card
Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life. But for couples where one person is a non-U.S. citizen, there is an additional step that must be taken: obtaining a marriage-based green card. Here is a step-by-step guide to the process.
The first step in obtaining a marriage-based green card is to get a sponsor. This must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is willing to sponsor you and must file an immigration petition on your behalf. The petitioner spouse must submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In some cases, you may be required to attend an in-person interview with the USCIS. During the interview, you and your spouse may need to provide evidence of a genuine marriage. Once approved, you will receive a conditional green card valid for two years if your marriage was less than 2 years old on your application approval date. Before the expiration of your conditional green card, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days. After the petition is approved, you will receive a permanent 10-year green card.
Going through the process of obtaining a marriage-based green card can be a complicated and lengthy process. But with the right help and guidance, you can successfully obtain a marriage-based green card and begin your new life together in the U.S.
Step 1. Complete I-130 Filing
Including a complete and accurate I-130 filing package is essential to obtaining a marriage-based green card. The I-130 filing package must include a fully completed and signed Form I-130, photocopies of the petitioner’s evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence, evidence of the marriage, and copies of the beneficiary’s birth certificate, passport, and other documents. Additionally, any other supporting documents, such as proof of name change or joint financial documents, should be included. Any inaccuracies or omissions in the package can result in a denial of the application, so it is important to make sure to provide all of the necessary documents in a timely manner.
Step 2: Apply for the Green Card (form I-485 or Form DS-260)
The next step in the marriage green card application process is to apply for the green card. This can be done through Form I-485 (if the foreign national spouse is already in the US on a valid nonimmigrant visa) or Form DS-260 (if the foreign national spouse resides abroad). For Form I-485, you will need to fill out personal information and answer questions about you and your spouse, as well as provide supporting documents to show that you are admissible as an immigrant.
When submitting Form I-485, you will need to provide additional documents, such as a copy of your passport, birth certificate, petitioner’s tax records, and other supporting documents. If a non-citizen spouse is located abroad, Form DS-260 must be filed with the National Visa Center (NVC).
DS-260 form requires more detailed information and you must provide evidence that you are eligible for a green card. Once your application is complete, you will need to submit it to the NVC for further processing.
Marriage-Based Green Card Timeline
The timeline for the marriage-based green card process will vary based on the couple’s individual circumstances and government agencies’ backlogs, but generally, it can take anywhere between 3 months to 24 months to complete the process.
It is important to note that if the couple divorces before the conditions on a green card are removed, the foreign-born spouse will not be able to remain in the United States. Therefore, it is essential that couples who are considering applying for a marriage-based green card consult with an immigration attorney to ensure they understand the process and the implications of the laws.
Marriage-Based Green Card Cost
Getting a marriage-based green card can be an expensive process. Knowing the costs and fees associated with the process can help you plan and prepare for the financial commitment. Generally, the total cost for a marriage-based green card ranges between $1,200 and $4,860.
The main cost for a marriage-based green card is the government filing fees for Form I-130, which is $535 and Form I-485 (application to adjust status) is $1,140 plus the cost of biometric services, which is $85. Any additional costs, such as the cost of documents like birth certificates or police reports, must also be taken into account. If the applicant is outside of the United States, additional fees may be required for consular processing.
It is important to note that the cost of a marriage-based green card may be higher if the applicant has a criminal record or has previously been deported. To learn more about the costs associated with a marriage-based green card, be sure to speak to an immigration attorney to get all of the information you need.