Congratulations on your marriage!
If you are in the US and you are ready to begin your immigration process based on the marriage to your US Citizen spouse, keep reading to learn what you will need for approval.
How long will it take?
The total processing time for a marriage green card is anywhere from 9-36 months, depending on whether you’re married to a US citizen or a green card holder (lawful permanent resident). Time will also vary on the filing location and most importantly, the completeness of your application.
The best way to ensure your application doesn’t get delayed is to file everything correctly and completely the first time. With Purdy Law, our attorney will guide you throughout the entire process and ensure that your case does not have many of the common mistakes that lead to rejections, delays, and denials.
Prove the Marriage is Real
When beginning the process, you must remember that the officer who will be adjudicating your case does not know who you are, has never met you, and is not your friend. The only way the officer can make a determination on the validity of your marriage is with paper.
Other than your marriage certificate and proof that your marriage is legally valid, you will have to demonstrate that you are living with your spouse and that your lives are comingled. You should have substantial evidence of household bills with both spouses’ names. A joint bank account, joint lease, and insurance will provide for a strong filing.
Once all of your forms are complete, you are ready to file your case. Don’t forget the government filing fee, $1,760 for a complete Adjustment of Status filing (Form I-130 and Form I-485), and your passport pictures (6 for the immigrant spouse and 2 for the US Citizen Spouse).
What happens after I file?
About 2-8 weeks after filing your application, you will receive your receipts from USCIS, indicating that your application is being processed. With these receipts, you can head to the DMV and apply for your driver’s license. Next, you will receive your biometrics appointment to have your fingerprints taken at a local USCIS service center.
About 4-6 months into the case, you will receive your Employment Authorization Document (work permit). Be advised, processing times are varying, and many applicants are not receiving their work permit it. This does not mean there is anything wrong with your case, it just means USCIS is not processing the cards fast enough to keep up with demand. There is a good chance you will receive your green card and never receive your work permit, don’t be alarmed.
Attending the Interview
The final step in the marriage-based green card process is the green card interview. The interviewing officer’s primary goal is to assess the authenticity of the marriage. Both spouses must attend the interview. Questions can focus on the couple’s relationship history, as well as their daily activities and future plans together. If the officer is convinced that the marriage is not fraudulent, they will approve the immigrant spouse for a green card.
If the immigrant spouse needs assistance with the English language, they are allowed to bring an interpreter with them to the interview. The interpreter should not be a family member and should be able to translate everything from English to the immigrant spouse’s native language and vice versa.
You are also allowed to have an attorney present at your interview. However, the attorney cannot serve as an interpreter.
My Green Card Arrived! What’s Next?
If you were married for at least 2 years on the date of your interview, you will receive a 10-year permanent green card. After 3 years of being a green card holder and if you are still happily married to your spouse at that time, you can apply for citizenship. If you divorced your spouse before the time frame, you will be eligible for citizenship after 5 years of being a green cardholder.
If you were married for less than 2 years on the date of your interview, you will receive a 2-year conditional green card (CR1). Both spouses must file Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately prior to the expiration of the conditional green card. This process will “remove the conditions” from the CR1 green card and allow the immigrant spouse to obtain a permanent 10-year green card. Upon receiving the I-751 application and supporting evidence, USCIS will re-evaluate the couple’s marriage to make sure it is authentic and not based on the intent to obtain an immigration benefit.
If you are ready to file Form I-751 and remove the conditions of your 2-year green card but you are contemplating a divorce, your spouse is refusing to sign, or you’re already divorced – you have options. It won’t be an easy road, but we can certainly help.
Marriage Green Card Attorney
Our attorney is ready to guide you through your marriage-based green card case. We have successfully obtained green cards for our clients over the years based on their marriage. A licensed immigration attorney on your side will ensure that your case is professionally prepared and accurately filed – the first time! Saving you time and money. Call to schedule your consultation today! (561) 350-9777