If you are a foreign national married to a US Citizen, you can qualify for permanent residence.
How do I qualify for a Green Card through marriage to a US citizen?
Qualifying for a Green Card through Marriage to a US Citizen
To qualify for permanent residence based on marriage to a US citizen, you must be able to show the following:
Proof of a legal marriage. In most cases, this is done by providing a copy of a valid marriage certificate. If either spouse has been previously married, you must show that all previous marriages have ended through annulment, divorce, or death.
The petitioning spouse must be a US citizen. Proof must be submitted that the petitioning spouse is a citizen of the United States. This can be done through a birth certificate, valid US passport, naturalization certificate, or other acceptable proof of US citizenship.
The ability to provide financial support. To sponsor someone for permanent residence, evidence must be submitted with Form I-864 to establish that the petitioner (the US citizen spouse) has the financial ability to support the household and the intending immigrant. Financial support can be shown through US employment or through assets that can be readily converted into cash. The petitioner must show assets or income above the federal poverty guideline for the household size. If the petitioner is not able to show their ability to provide financial support at or above the federal poverty guidelines a co-sponsor must be obtained. Failure to meet the financial support requirement will result in the denial of the petition.
Bona fides of the marriage. The burden is on the petitioner to prove that the marriage was entered into for love and not for immigration benefits. This can be done through the submission of the following types of evidence:
Joint ownership of property
Joint lease or rental agreement
Joint bank account
Birth certificates of the child or children born to the married couple
Affidavits from third parties that have knowledge of the legitimacy of the marriage
Any other relevant documentation to show that the marriage is legitimate
How do I obtain my Green Card through marriage to a US citizen?
How to Obtain a Green Card for Spouses of US Citizens
The first step to obtaining a green card for a qualifying spouse or other immediate family member is to establish a relationship by filing Form I-130 with USCIS. Once Form I-130 is receipted by USCIS, a priority date is issued. The priority date will determine when the immediate relative will be able to process their green card. After Form I-130 has been approved and the wait time has been met, the consular processing or adjustment stage begins. If the process is successful, a green card will then be issued.
The process of petitioning for a Green Card for a spouse can be done from inside or outside the United States, and is handled differently depending on whether the family member is already in the United States in legal status or whether they will be processed at a consulate.
Inside the US. If the family is already in the United States, a valid immigration status Form I-130 and Form I-485 can be filed together. Once the I-130 and I-485 are approved, a green card will be issued.
Outside the US. If the family member is not within the United States, the process will begin by filing Form I-130 through a US consulate. Once Form I-130 is approved, the family member will then begin consular processing for their green card.
How long does this process take? Spouses (as well as parents and unmarried children under 21) of a US citizen are not subject to wait times.
Take the Worry Out of the Petition Process—Hire an Immigration Lawyer
The Green Card petition process for the spouse of a US citizen is complex and must be done properly with attention to detail. Failure to follow the process with exactness can result in processing delays, additional expenses, and even denials. It is our experience that otherwise approvable Green Card petitions are delayed or denied because the proper procedures are not followed. This leads to increased wait times, unnecessary expenses, and unneeded stress.
It is best to work with an experienced immigration lawyer early on in the process. We understand the sensitive nature of this process, and the importance of properly filing each petition with attention to detail and with adequate supporting evidence. We work with each client to compile adequate supporting evidence, complete all necessary Forms, and only file approvable petitions.
At Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law, we focus our legal practice on the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States. We have helped hundreds of US Citizens sponsor their foreign spouses for Green Cards and permanent resident status, including questions about your eligibility for a Green Card, or assistance with the preparation, filing, and successful adjudication of green cards.
Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law regularly creates video content about the current state of a certain aspect of US immigration law, and how it applies to Canadians living and working in the United States today.