Getting married to an American citizen or green card holder has lots of advantages. It is one of the quickest ways to get a Green Card. A marriage-based Green Card will let you live and work in the US. However, non-US spouses are not permanent residents for the given simply by being married to a US citizen or a green card holder.
To get a Green Card after marriage, you will need to apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can be done for people living in the US or outside the US, and it is part of the category of Green Cards for Immediate Relatives.
There is no limit on how many can be issued each year, so you can apply if you are a US citizen. Unfortunately, it can be tricky, especially for couples who do not know how to apply.
It is important to get the application process right from the get-go. That is where a fiancé visa attorney comes in. In this post, we will break down the different stages of the application process.
File Form I-130
This form aims to prove that there is a marriage between the American citizen/green card holder and the non-American citizen. It is a complicated process, so you will need to attach the right documents to the form.
Some of the common documents required to be submitted along with the Form I-130 are:
- If you are applying for a green card based on marriage in the US for your foreign spouse, you will need to provide proof that you are a citizen or green card holder, like a birth certificate or a valid passport. You can also show that you have been naturalized or that you have been born in the US.
- A valid marriage certificate with the names of the couple, and the date and location of the wedding.
- Documents that prove the marriage is real. It could be a lease agreement, a joint bank statement, or any other document in the couple’s name.
- If you were married to someone else before, your petition needs to show that you ended that marriage.
- Evidence of the nationality of the foreign spouse.
Once the USCIS has all the necessary info and documents, they’ll decide if they can approve the I-130 form. They’ll usually do this within two to three months of filing, but they can also ask for more evidence if they need it. This is by sending a Request for Evidence (RFE) to the petitioner.
Depending on the couple’s situation, this could take longer or shorter. No matter what your immigration status is (i.e., US citizen or green card holder) or where you live (i.e., inside the US or out of the US), hiring a fiancé visa attorney who is well-versed can help you get your Form I-130 approval quickly and easily.
Application for Green Card Application
After the approval of your Form I-130, the next step is to apply for a green card. The application process for a green card will depend on whether the beneficiary resides in the US or outside the US.
For a Beneficiary within the US
If you are applying for a green card for your foreign spouse living within the US, you’ll need to fill out a Form I-485 (the “Adjustment of Status” application). Before you fill it out, make sure you read the instructions from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This form is used to figure out if you can get a green card. You can do this alongside filling out the form I-130 mentioned above. This is especially important if you’re married to an American citizen, but don’t have a green card yourself. You will need to attach some documents to your green card application.
These documents include proof of financial capacity of the petitioner to support the beneficiary in the US, documents of lawful entry, and other relevant documents. The petitioner must file Form I-864 (a sworn statement of support).
The beneficiary needs to complete a medical exam and get a signed Form I-693 within sixty (60) days before the submission of the application. Read this instruction to understand this better. A fiancé visa attorney can help you identify the relevant documents.
For Beneficiaries outside the US
An application for these beneficiaries is through consular processing by filing Form DS-260. Duly completing and applying to the National Visa Center (NVC) through the application package. You can get relevant instructions on this here.
This application must along with certain documents such as a police clearance certificate, evidence of the beneficiary’s nationality, and other documents. Upon receipt of this application, the NVC considers the application and supporting documents.
This consideration determines whether the NVC will schedule the beneficiary for an interview.
Interview and Approval/Denial
Before the interview, the applicant would have been invited for a biometric appointment. This invitation for an interview occurs between seven to fifteen months after filing an application for a green card. Where the beneficiary is within the US, the spouse must both attend the interview.
But where the beneficiary is outside the US, only the beneficiary will attend the interview. It is important to prepare for this interview. This is to ensure that you give the right responses to questions. A fiancé visa attorney can prepare you for the interview.
After the interview, if the USCIS approves the application, you will receive the green card within two (2) to three (3) weeks of approval. Where the couple are married for less than two years, the USCIS will issue a conditional green card. You can remove this condition with the help of a fiancé visa attorney.
But for couples married for more than two years, the USCIS will issue a permanent green card.
Get Help HERE
We understand that the process of getting a marriage-based green card is challenging. This is not surprising, because it involves filing of several forms and gathering bundles of documents.
But you do not need to face this process alone. Gehi & Associate is here to make the application process an enjoyable ride. Talk with one of our fiancé visa attorneys today.