Green Card Through Marriage to a US Citizen

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Green Card Through Marriage to a US Citizen

Becoming A Permanent Resident After Marrying A US Citizen  

Congratulations on your big day!

Here’s everything you need to know about changing your status through marriage.

Assessing Your Eligibility For A Marriage Based Green Card:

The process begins with establishing the existence of a valid marriage through the filing of Form I-130 (officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

A complete I-130 filing package will include:

  • Government filing fee of $535
  • Proof that the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen (copy of the sponsor’s birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or valid U.S. passport photo page, for example) or permanent resident (copy of the sponsor’s green card, for example)
  • Proof that a legally valid marriage exists (for example, a marriage certificate showing the names of both spouses, as well as the place and date of the marriage)
  • Proof of a valid marriage (for example, a joint lease, joint bank account statements, and pictures together)
  • Proof that any previous marriage of either spouse has been terminated (this is usually a divorce document)

Once you’ve filed the I-130, it must be mailed to the appropriate USCIS address (this will depend where you’re filing from). The sponsoring spouse will then receive an official acknowledgement (or “receipt notice”) in the mail from the UCIS within two weeks.

The USCIS may request the sponsoring spouse for more information or documents via A Request For Evidence (RFE) within 2-3 months. Once USCIS has determined they’ve got everything they need, they’ll make a decision on the I-130 application within 7–15 months, depending on the particulars of your situation.

After receiving notice that the I-130 form has been approved, the next step is to determine green-card eligibility on the part of the spouse applying for one.

·       For Green Card Applicants Living In The United States

You’ll be able to remain in the United States while your AOS application is being processed, even if your visa expires before your green card is approved.

·       Concurrent Filing Of Form I-485

Concurrent filing of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is when an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) is filed before the underlying immigrant visa petition is approved. You needn’t wait for an approved l-130 to file concurrently because both applications will be adjudicated the same time during the adjustment of status interview.

The immigrant visa petition and the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) can be submitted at the same time and mailed together with all the required filing fees and supporting documentation to the same filing location.

For applicants physically living in the United States, the next step is to file Form I-485 (officially called the “Adjustment of Status” application). The I-485 is filed with USCIS, and its intended to establish green card eligibility.

·       For Green Card Applicants Living Abroad

Applicants filing from outside the United States will file an application package with the National Visa Center (NVC) and cannot travel to the United States until their green card is approved.

 The NVC will do the work of collecting the requisite forms and documents and determining whether the spouse will sit for an interview at the U.S embassy or a consulate abroad. This procedure is known as consular processing, and operates on a different timeline with different application forms, supporting documents, and costs — though the green card eligibility requirements are identical.

Your Green Card Interview

The green-card interview is the last step in the marriage-based green card process.

It’s the interviewing officer’s job to assess the authenticity of your marriage. You can expect to be asked about your relationship history, your life together and your plans for the future.

·       Have you been married for less than two years?

If you’ve been married for under two years, you’ll receive a CR1 (or “conditional”) green card that’s valid for only two years. To obtain a permanent green card, couples together must file Form I-751 (officially called the “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence”) in the 90-days immediately prior to the expiration of the conditional green card.


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