Obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is a common path to lawful permanent residency in the United States. It’s a process that allows foreign nationals to build a life with their American spouse in the country. However, it’s essential to understand the requirements, steps, and potential challenges involved in this journey. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Step 1: Ensure Eligibility
Before embarking on this journey, it’s crucial to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. To obtain a Green Card through marriage, you must:
- Be legally married to a U.S. citizen.
- Both you and your spouse must intend to live together as a married couple in the United States.
- Be in a bona fide marriage, which means the marriage is genuine and not for immigration purposes.
- Your spouse must be willing to financially support you, either by meeting specific income requirements or through a joint sponsor.
Step 2: Filing the Petition
The next step is for your U.S. citizen spouse to file an immigration petition on your behalf. This is typically done using Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. Along with the form, you will need to submit supporting documentation, including marriage certificates, proof of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship, and other required evidence.
Step 3: Approval of the Petition
After filing, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your petition. If they find it eligible and approve it, they will send notice of approval to both you and your spouse. This approval indicates that the government recognizes your marital relationship.
Step 4: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing
The next step depends on your current immigration status:
- Adjustment of Status: If you are already in the United States, you can file for Adjustment of Status using Form I-485. This application process allows you to transition from your current immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
- Consular Processing: If you are outside the United States or ineligible for Adjustment of Status, you will go through Consular Processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
Step 5: Attend the Interview
Regardless of whether you’re adjusting your status or going through consular processing, you and your spouse will need to attend an interview. During this interview, immigration officials will assess the validity of your marriage and determine if you qualify for a Green Card.
Step 6: Conditional Green Card
If your marriage is less than two years old at the time your Green Card is approved, you will receive a Conditional Green Card, valid for two years. To remove the conditions and obtain a permanent Green Card, you’ll need to apply for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, jointly with your spouse.
Step 7: Obtain a Permanent Green Card
After successfully removing the conditions, you will receive a permanent Green Card, granting you lawful permanent residency in the United States. At this point, you have successfully obtained a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen can be a life-changing experience, but it’s essential to follow the process diligently and ensure that your marriage is genuine. Seek legal guidance if needed to navigate any complexities in the immigration process. With patience and the right documentation, you can build a future with your American spouse in the United States.