How To Get a Green Card through Marriage

January 6th, 2010 by sysadmin

How do I get a Green Card through marriage?

U.S. citizens may sponsor their non-citizen spouses for permanent residency.  Permanent residents have Green Cards, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. permanently.  The process for obtaining a Green Card through marriage varies depending on whether the non-citizen spouse is in the U.S. or abroad and depending on when the marriage occurs.  Spouses of U.S. citizens are considered “immediate relatives” and are not required to wait for an immigrant visa to become available.

Apply for a Green Card through marriage right now!

Starting the Green Card process with a Foreign Fiancé(e)

If a U.S. citizen becomes engaged to a foreign fiancé(e) while overseas, the U.S. citizen can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), on behalf of the foreign fiancé(e).  In order to file this petition, the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé(e) must meet the following requirements:

  • The U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé(e) must show that they intend to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s entering the United States;
  • The U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé(e) are both free to marry; and
  • The U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé(e) must have met each other in person within 2 years before the petitioner files Form I-129F. There are two exceptions  to this requirement which require the filing of a waiver:
    • If the requirement to meet the fiancé(e) in person would violate strict and long-established customs of the U.S. citizen’s or the fiancé(e)’s culture or social practice; or
    • If the U.S. citizen proves that the requirement to personally meet the fiancé(e) would result in extreme hardship.

Once Form I-129F is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center, which will then process and forward the package to the U.S. consulate nearest the fiancé(e)’s foreign place of residence. The consulate will then invite the fiancé(e) to apply for a fiancé(e) visa.   The fiancé(e) will need to undergo a medical examination as well as complete Forms DS-256 and DS-256K.  The U.S. citizen may have to provide evidence of the ability to financially support the foreign fiancé(e) by filing Form I-134, Affidavit of Support.  The fiancé(e) may also be interviewed by a consular officer.

If the fiancé(e) visa is approved, the fiancé(e) may enter the United States with the fiancé(e) visa. Once admitted to the United States, the fiancé(e) will be authorized to stay for 90 days from the date of entry during which time the U.S. citizen and the fiancé(e) must marry.  If the couple does not marry, the fiancé(e)’s status. automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended.  The fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. within 90 days of entry if the marriage does not take place.  If the fiancé(e) does not leave, he or she will be violating U.S. immigration law.

After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for permanent residence by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. Once this application is approved, the foreign spouse will receive a Conditional Permanent Resident card that is valid for two (2) years.  The foreign spouse can remove the conditions of the Green Card by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, within 90 days before the Permanent Resident card expires.  When the conditions on residence are removed, the foreign spouse will receive a Green Card valid for ten years.

Starting the Green Card Process After the Marriage

Instead of obtaining a fiancé(e) visa for, a U.S. citizen may choose to marry a fiancé(e) overseas.  In that case, the U.S. citizen can file Form I-130, Petition for Relative, on behalf of the foreign spouse.  Once the I-130 is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center, which will process and forward the package to the U.S. consulate nearest the fiancé(e)’s foreign place of residence. The embassy or consulate will invite the fiancé(e) to apply for an immigrant visa.  The foreign spouse will be required to appear at a consulate abroad for an interview.  If the consulate grants an immigrant visa, the foreign spouse may use this visa to enter the U.S.  The spouse will receive a stamp in his or her passport upon entering the U.S. and will officially become a permanent resident.

A U.S. citizen may also choose to marry a non-citizen who is already present in the United States.  In such a case, the U.S. citizen may file Form I-130 on behalf of the non-citizen spouse. The non-citizen spouse may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with this petition.  This option is only available for non-citizens who entered the country with inspection.  The non-citizen will become a permanent resident once USCIS approves the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  If the marriage is less than two years old at the time that Form I-130 is filed, the non-citizen spouse will receive a Conditional Green Card, valid for two years.  The foreign spouse can remove the conditions of the Green Card by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, within 90 days before the Permanent Resident card expires.  When the conditions on residence are removed, the foreign spouse will receive a Green Card valid for ten years.

>Check out other popular blogs and news on the US Green Card:

Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is not legal advice. It is general information on issues commonly encountered when dealing with immigration matters. It should not be relied upon to reach any conclusion regarding any individual’s situation or case. Immigration Direct is not sponsored by or affiliated with the United States government or any government agency. We are not a law firm and are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Immigration Direct only provides self-help services at a user's direction. We do not provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations to our users about their legal rights, legal remedies, legal defenses, legal options or legal strategies, selection of forms, or answers to specific questions on forms. Customer support is for technical and billing issues. Customer support will not answer legal questions. Communications between you and Immigration Direct are not protected by any privilege. All forms that can be completed online through Immigration Direct are available as blank forms with written instructions for free from the USCIS. Purchase price does not include application or filing fees that may be charged by any government agency. Your access to and use of this website, and any purchase made using this website, is subject to Immigration Direct's Terms of Use to which, by using this site and/or making any purchase, you are agreeing to be bound.

Copyright © 2007-2017 Immigration Direct. All Rights Reserved.