7 Frequently Asked Questions About Obtaining a Green Card Via Marriage:
Obtaining a Green Card via marriage is one of the most common ways for foreign nationals to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. Under this program, a foreign national who is married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident can obtain a Green Card.
If you’re considering applying for a Green Card through marriage, you may have several questions about the application process. In this article, we will go over seven of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to obtaining a Green Card through marriage.
1. Who Is Eligible to Apply for a Green Card Through Marriage?
To be eligible for a Marriage Visa, the foreign national must be married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. The couple must have a genuine marital relationship, and the marriage must be legally recognized under US law.
To apply for a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the immigrant spouse must meet certain eligibility requirements. Here are the key requirements:
- The immigrant spouse must be married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident: The first requirement is that the immigrant spouse must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The marriage must be valid and recognized by the U.S. government.
- The marriage must be bona fide: The marriage must be genuine and not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining a Green Card. USCIS will review the couple’s circumstances, including the duration and nature of the relationship, to determine if the marriage is bona fide.
- The immigrant spouse must be admissible: The immigrant spouse must not be inadmissible to the United States. Inadmissibility can be based on factors such as criminal history, immigration violations, or health issues.
- The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse must meet certain financial requirements: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse must demonstrate that they have enough income or assets to support the immigrant spouse and prevent them from becoming a public charge. This requirement is meant to ensure that the immigrant spouse will not need to rely on government assistance.
- The immigrant spouse must have a clean immigration record: The immigrant spouse must not have any previous immigration violations or criminal history that would make them ineligible for a Green Card.
It is important to note that these are just the basic eligibility requirements. The Green Card application process can be complex, and there may be additional requirements or factors that can impact eligibility. Working with a qualified immigration lawyer can improve the likelihood of success by ensuring that all eligibility requirements are met.
It is also worth noting that the eligibility requirements for obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a permanent resident are slightly different from those for marriage to a U.S. citizen. The wait time for a Green Card through marriage to a permanent resident is typically longer than the wait time for marriage to a U.S. citizen, and the financial requirements are different as well.
2. Can I Still Apply for a Green Card If I Am Not Yet Married?
If you are in the process of getting married or planning to get married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may still apply for a Green Card. However, you must be aware that you can only qualify for the Green Card once you have entered into a legal marriage.
here are several options available to you, including:
- Family-Based Green Card: If you have a close family member who is a U.S. they could be able to sponsor you for a Green Card if they are a citizen or permanent resident. Included in this are partners, parents, siblings, and kids. Green Card Based on Employment: Having received a job offer from the U.S.
- Employment-Based Green Card: If you have a job offer from a U.S. employer, you may be able to apply for a Green Card through employment. This option typically requires a labor certification and an employer to sponsor you.
- Diversity Visa Lottery: Each year, the U.S. government conducts a lottery for individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. If you are selected, you may be able to apply for a Green Card.
- Asylum or Refugee Status: If you are unable to return to your home country due to persecution or fear of persecution, you may be able to apply for asylum or refugee status in the United States. This can lead to a Green Card if your application is approved.
- Investment-Based Green Card: If you have significant funds to invest in a U.S. business, you may be able to apply for a Green Card through an investment-based visa.
It is important to note that the eligibility requirements and application process for each of these options can vary widely, and it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced immigration attorney to determine the best option for your unique circumstances.
Additionally, if you plan to marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in the future, it may be possible to apply for a Green Card through marriage once you are legally married.
3. How Long Does the Green Card Application Process Take?
The overall timeline for the Green Card application process varies, but the application process typically takes between six months to two years, depending on the individual circumstances. The processing time can be delayed due to several factors such as processing times by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, document requirements, and background checks.
Here is a breakdown of the different stages of the Green Card application process and the estimated time frames for each:
- Filing the Petition: The first step in the Green Card application process is filing a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The processing time for this step can vary depending on the type of petition and the service center processing the application. Generally, it takes about six to twelve months for the USCIS to process the petition and issue a decision.
- Waiting for Priority Date: For family-based Green Card applications, applicants may need to wait for their priority date to become current before proceeding with the next step. The priority date is determined by the date the petition was filed, and the wait time can vary depending on the demand for Green Cards in that particular category. Priority dates are published monthly in the Visa Bulletin, and applicants can track the progress of their priority date.
- Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status: Once the priority date is current, the applicant can proceed with either consular processing or adjustment of status. Consular processing involves attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country, while adjustment of status involves attending an interview in the United States. The processing time for each of these steps can vary widely depending on the service center processing the application, but typically takes around six to twelve months.
- Green Card Issuance: Once the consular processing or adjustment of status is approved, the Green Card will be mailed to the applicant’s address. The processing time for this step is usually around one to four weeks.
It is important to note that the above time frames are estimates and can vary depending on the applicant’s specific circumstances and the service center processing the application. Additionally, there may be delays or additional steps required if the applicant’s application is incomplete or if additional evidence is required.
4. What Are the Required Documents for a Green Card Application?
The Green Card application process can be complex and require a series of documents to support the application. Documents required include a completed marriage-based Green Card application, identification documents such as passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates, proof of financial support, any criminal records, and your medical history.
- Identity and Civil Documents: The applicant must provide identity documents, such as a passport or birth certificate, as well as civil documents, such as marriage and divorce certificates.
- Proof of Eligibility: The applicant must provide proof of eligibility for the Green Card, such as a family relationship or job offer.
- Affidavit of Support: If the applicant is seeking a family-based Green Card, the sponsor must provide an affidavit of support, which is a legal document indicating that they will financially support the applicant.
- Medical Examination: The applicant must undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved doctor to ensure that they are not inadmissible due to health reasons.
- Police Certificates: The applicant must provide police certificates from each country where they have lived for six months or more since the age of 16.
- Passport Photos: The applicant must provide passport-style photos that meet specific size and quality requirements.
- Filing Fees: The applicant must pay the required filing fees for their Green Card application.
It is important to note that additional documents may be required depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant’s case. For example, if the applicant has a criminal history or has previously been deported from the United States, additional documentation may be required to demonstrate eligibility for a Green Card.
Additionally, it is crucial that all documents submitted are accurate, complete, and translated into English if necessary. Any incomplete or inaccurate information can lead to delays or even denial of the Green Card application.
Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that all required documents are submitted correctly and on time, increasing the likelihood of a successful Green Card application.
5. Is It Possible to Apply for a Green Card Within the US?
It is possible to file for adjustment of status within the United States if you entered the country lawfully and meet all other eligibility requirements for the Green Card Application. This means that if you entered the US legally and maintained lawful status, you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card within the country.To apply for a Green Card within the United States through a process called “Adjustment of Status.” Adjustment of Status is available to certain individuals who are already present in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, such as a student or work visa, or who have been granted asylum or refugee status.
To apply for Adjustment of Status, the applicant must meet certain eligibility criteria and submit the appropriate forms and supporting documentation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application process typically involves the following steps:
- Determine Eligibility: The applicant must first determine if they are eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status based on their current immigration status and the eligibility criteria for their specific category.
- File Form I-485: The applicant must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with the required supporting documentation and filing fees.
- Attend Biometrics Appointment: The applicant will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment, where their fingerprints and photograph will be taken for background check purposes.
- Attend Green Card Interview: The applicant may be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer to review their application and eligibility for a Green Card.
- Receive Decision: If the application is approved, the applicant will receive their Green Card in the mail. If the application is denied, the applicant may have the opportunity to appeal the decision or reapply at a later time.
It is important to note that the Adjustment of Status process can be complex and time-consuming, and it is essential to ensure that all forms and supporting documentation are completed accurately and submitted on time. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help to navigate the process and increase the likelihood of a successful Green Card application.
6. What Happens if My Green Card Application is Denied?
If your Green Card application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. You may have the right to appeal or file a motion to reopen or reconsider the application. If you are eligible to file an appeal or reopen the application, it is important to reach out to an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.
There are several reasons why a Green Card application may be denied, including:
- Incomplete or inaccurate application forms or supporting documentation
- Failure to meet eligibility criteria, such as criminal convictions or immigration violations
- Insufficient evidence to support your case
If your Green Card application is denied, you will receive a written notice explaining the reasons for the denial. You may have the option to appeal the decision or request that the decision be reconsidered. The specific options available to you will depend on the reason for the denial and the type of application you submitted.
If you choose to appeal the decision, you will need to file a Notice of Appeal with the appropriate immigration court or agency within a specific timeframe. The appeal process can be complex and time-consuming, and it is recommended that you work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that your appeal is filed correctly and on time.
If your appeal is denied or you are not eligible to appeal, you may be able to submit a motion to reopen or reconsider your case. This option allows you to present new evidence or information that was not available at the time of your original application or appeal.
If all of your options for challenging the denial have been exhausted, you may need to consider other immigration options, such as applying for a different type of visa or pursuing naturalization through the citizenship process. It is important to remember that being denied a Green Card does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to achieve your immigration goals, but it does require careful consideration of your next steps and options.
7. Can I Apply for US Citizenship After Obtaining a Green Card?
Yes, once you have maintained lawful permanent residency for a specific time and meet all other naturalization eligibility requirements, you can apply for US citizenship. Typically, you must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or three years if you have been married to a US citizen for that time.
To become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you must generally:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
- Meet certain physical presence and continuous residence requirements
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Be able to read, write, and speak English
- Pass a civics test covering U.S. history and government
- Take an oath of allegiance to the United States
Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for naturalization by submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, along with the required supporting documentation and filing fee to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The naturalization process involves several steps, including a background check, biometric screening, interview with a USCIS officer, and the naturalization test. If your application is approved, you will be scheduled for a ceremony where you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a U.S. citizen.
Becoming a U.S. citizen can provide a variety of benefits, including the ability to vote in elections, travel with a U.S. passport, and sponsor family members for immigration to the United States. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential impact of renouncing your current citizenship and to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for naturalization.
In conclusion, obtaining a Green Card through marriage can be a life-changing experience that provides new opportunities and a sense of security in America. The Green Card application process can be daunting, but if you meet the eligibility requirements and follow the correct procedures, the process can become manageable. It is essential to gain a clear understanding of the application process, obtain necessary documentation, and consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the entire process. With the right preparation and guidance, the Green Card application process for marriage can be smooth and stress-free, providing you with long-term benefits such as lawful permanent residency in the United States and the potential to become a US citizen.
How can cosmos immigration can help?
Cosmos Immigration is an immigration law firm that specializes in helping clients navigate the complex U.S. immigration system. They have extensive experience in assisting individuals and families obtain Green Cards through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Here are some of the ways that Cosmos Immigration can help:
- Assess eligibility: The attorneys at Cosmos Immigration can assess the eligibility of the immigrant spouse for a Green Card through marriage. They can review the couple’s circumstances, including the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse’s status, the duration and nature of the relationship, and any potential issues that may arise in the application process.
- Prepare and file the necessary forms and documents: The process of obtaining a Green Card through marriage involves filling out multiple forms and submitting extensive documentation. The attorneys at Cosmos Immigration can help prepare and file all necessary forms and documentation, ensuring that they are complete and accurate.
- Provide guidance and support throughout the process: The Green Card application process can be lengthy and stressful. The attorneys at Cosmos Immigration can provide guidance and support throughout the process, answering questions and providing updates on the status of the application.
- Represent clients at USCIS interviews: The Green Card application process includes an interview with USCIS. The attorneys at Cosmos Immigration can represent clients at the interview, ensuring that they are prepared and confident.
- Handle any issues or complications that arise: The Green Card application process can be complicated, and issues or complications can arise. The attorneys at Cosmos Immigration can handle any issues or complications that arise, such as a request for additional documentation or a denial of the application.
Overall, Cosmos Immigration can provide the necessary guidance and support to help individuals and families navigate the complex process of obtaining a Green Card through marriage. They can ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.