Green card by marriage in the United States, in detail

Living together with the person they love in their new home is one of the most common desires of any migrant. Now, if you and your spouse plan to live together in the United States, obtaining a green card by marriage is best. Today we will take an in-depth look at this process, clearing up some of the most common doubts.

At Urbina Immigration Law we know that the process of obtaining residency can be intricate and difficult. But don’t worry. We are here to help you. Don’t let the difficulties of the immigration system put an end to your dreams. Speak to one of our attorneys today and take the first step towards legal status in your new home.

What is a Green Card by marriage?

A green card by marriage allows the partner of a U.S. citizen or resident to live and work legally in the country. With it, you obtain permanent resident status, with which, if you wish, you can apply for citizenship after three years.

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A green card by marriage allows the partner of a U.S. citizen or resident to live and work legally in the country.

How to obtain a Green Card by marriage?

The application process for a green card by marriage consists of the following three steps:

Step 1: Establish the marriage relationship

The first step in obtaining a green card by marriage is to prove the existence of the marital relationship with your spouse by filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). It must be filed by the U.S. citizen spouse, who acts as the sponsor of the foreign partner.

Step 2: Apply for a Green Card

If your spouse resides in the U.S., file Form I-485 for adjustment of status, including the appropriate evidence and the required medical examination. Note that you may file this form concurrently with the I-130.

Step 3: Interview with USCIS

The last step of the process is the interview with USCIS. Here, the interviewing officer will evaluate the authenticity of the marriage. The questions will focus on the history of your relationship, your daily activities and your future plans as a couple. If the officer is convinced, your application for a green card by marriage will be approved.

Remember that each case may vary and additional instances may arise. For this reason, it is essential to find an immigration attorney to assist you in every step of the process. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us about your case and take the first step towards your permanent status in the United States.

What documents are needed to obtain a Green Card by marriage?

To obtain a green card by marriage you must file the following documents:

  • Applicant’s birth certificate showing U.S. citizenship or permanent resident card.
  • Valid marriage certificate including names, place and date of marriage.
  • Proof of the authenticity of the marriage such as, for example:
    • Joint rental agreements.
    • Shared bank statements.
    • Photographs of the couple.
  • Divorce certificate (if either spouse was previously married).
  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to establish the marital relationship.
  • Form I-485 (if spouse is present in the United States).
  • Form DS-260 (if spouse is out of the country).
  • Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) to demonstrate financial ability of the sponsor along with supporting evidence such as:
    • Evidence of tax returns. 
    • Pay stubs.
  • Form I-693 (Medical examination by a USCIS-approved physician).
  • Proof of spouse’s nationality (birth certificate, passport).
  • Proof of legal entry to the United States (I-94 travel form and previous visa, if applicable).
  • Police statement (if there are interactions with the applicant spouse’s police).

Remember that these are the required documents may vary depending on each specific situation. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to complete the process correctly and gather the necessary documentation. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us about your case and let’s get your papers in order.

What to do if my spouse lives abroad?

If your spouse resides abroad, you must initiate consular processing and send your application to the National Visa Center (NVC). In these cases, the procedure is the same as that of the CR1/IR1 visa.

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Once your application is approved, you will be allowed to travel to the United States.

The interview will take place at the embassy or consulate of your country (the sponsor is not required to attend). If your application is approved, you will be allowed to travel to the United States and, within 2 to 3 weeks after your arrival, your green card will be sent to your home address by marriage.

How does the process continue?

What happens once your green card by marriage is approved will depend on how long you have been married at the time of green card approval. In the following table you will find which type of residence card you are entitled to according to your case:

Duration of MarriageType of Residence CardDuration of ValidityRenewal Process
Less than two yearsConditional Resident CardValid for 2 yearsFile Form I-751 for removal of conditions
More than two yearsIR1 Residence CardValid for 10 yearsSimpler renewal process, no new verification required

Green Card by Marriage: Waiting period

The entire process to obtain a Green Card by marriage can take between 9 and 36 months in total. The wait time depends on whether you are marrying a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. It is best to seek the help of an immigration attorney to understand the timelines and avoid unwanted delays.

How much does it cost to process a Green Card for marriage?

The government fees to apply for a marriage visa are $1,760 if the spouse resides in the U.S. or $1,200 if the spouse lives outside the country. Please note that this does not cover the cost of medical examinations, which can range from approximately $200 to $500.

I am an illegal alien and I married a U.S. citizen, can I apply for a Green Card by marriage?

Yes, you can apply for residency by marriage if you are an illegal alien in the United States. However, keep in mind that, being undocumented, the process changes. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the help of an immigration attorney to advise you.

What is the IR1 Visa?

An IR1 visa is a type of immigrant visa intended for foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. Like the CR1 visa, this type of spousal visa is also issued through consular processing abroad and grants a permanent resident card to the petitioning spouse.

What is the difference between a CR1 and IR1 visa?

The main difference between these visas is in the requirements. The CR1 visa is granted exclusively to married couples with less than two years of marriage. The IR1 visa, on the other hand, is a benefit issued to couples with more than two years of marriage.

A Green Card for marriage can give you the stability and peace of mind that comes with knowing that your married life is not at risk. However, the process can be confusing, as it varies depending on whether or not your partner resides in the country and its finality depends on the length of your marriage.

All of this can be overwhelming for any applicant. Therefore, it is best to seek the help of an immigration attorney who will be with you every step of the way. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you obtain a green card for the person you love. Contact us today and secure your family’s future.

Sources

USCIS – How to Bring Your Spouse to Live in the United States as a Permanent Resident

USCIS – Form I-130

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Take a look at these articles

Documents required for the Green Card process by marriage

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