Getting married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident makes the foreign national eligible for immigration benefits. It is one of the most common ways for foreign nationals to apply for a Green Card. A Green Card is a physical identification card that states your immigration status as a lawful permanent resident of the US.
Applying for a Green Card can be an unfamiliar and confusing process. However, successfully applying for a Green Card will make you eligible to live and work permanently in the US.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Obtaining a Green Card through Marriage
When is the best time to apply for a Green Card?
The best time to start your Green Card application process is after you have gathered sufficient documentation to prove that your marriage is Bona Fide. This means that you should be able to provide supporting evidence to prove that your marriage was for love and not solely for immigration benefits.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may charge you with misrepresentation if there isn’t enough evidence to prove that your marriage was in good faith through Family-based Immigration. Most couples apply for a Green Card as soon as they receive their marriage certificate.
Which forms are required to apply for a marriage-based Green Card?
To understand which forms will be required, first, you need to know that there are 2 ways to start the immigration process: Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status. The path you take usually depends on where you are applying.
Most people who go through consular processing live outside of the US. To start the process of your marriage-based Green Card through consular processing, the following steps must be followed:
- US citizen or permanent resident spouse files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary, to the USCIS
- Once approved, additional forms must be submitted with the National Visa Center which includes Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application, and Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
Adjustment of Status:
This process is followed when the foreign spouse is already residing in the US. The foreign spouse applies for Adjustment of Status by filing the following forms with the USCIS with their US citizen or permanent resident partner:
- I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
- I-864, Affidavit of Support
- I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if required
- I-131, Application for Travel Document, if required
What options are available for fiancees or engaged partners of US citizens or permanent residents?
For foreign engaged partners of US citizens, the USCIS offers the K-1 Visa. The K-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa with dual intent, meaning that it allows your foreign engaged partner to travel to the US to get married within 90 days of arrival in the US.
This visa program will also allow the beneficiary to eventually apply for a Green Card through adjustment of status. To start the process of applying for a K-1 Visa, the US citizen partner will be required to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé.