You can apply for a marriage green card if you are married to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR). There are several factors to take into consideration when applying for a marriage green card and consulting with an attorney is extremely important. Attorneys have specialized knowledge into the legal realm that notaries and/or other individuals might not have.
- Spouse of U.S. Citizen. If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you do not have to wait in line and can technically file immediately. The government does not have a quota for the amount of green cards offered to immediate relatives. This category is known as the immediate relative category.
- Spouse of a Permanent Resident. Under this category (F2A), the government sets an annual limit to the amount of green cards being offered. We can help you determine if one is immediately available, or how to get you in line. For most of 2021, there was no waiting time to apply under this category. One important caveat about this category is that the beneficiary must maintain legal status when filing for their green card. If the beneficiary has fallen out of status, they will no longer be eligible to apply while married to a LPR.
DID YOU KNOW? Although in order to adjust your status you must have entered legally (through a port of entry), you can apply for a provisional waiver if you entered illegally. If you are outside of the country, you will have to apply through a process known as consular processing.
WHAT IS CONSULAR PROCESSING?
Consular processing is the process one must use when applying for a green card while outside the United States. This process is much more convoluted than applying within the country, but it is the only option for many individuals who have established residencies in their own countries. In this process, the US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Petitioner applies with USCIS through an application known as the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Once approved, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center which in turn, transfers it over to the consular post where your application will continue.
HOW TO PROVE YOUR MARRIAGE IS REAL?
One of the most important things to consider in your marriage green card application is that you must prove you have a bonafide marriage. That is fancy terminology saying that you must prove your marriage is real and not entered for the purpose of attaining an illegal immigration benefit. There are several documents you could use to prove your marriage is real, but some of the most important ones include:
- Birth Certificates of any children you may have listing you both are parents
- Joint tax returns
- Lease or Mortgage listing both spouses
- Bank statements showing commingling of finances
- Cable, utilities, internet monthly bills listing both spouses
- Auto, life, health insurance listing both spouses
- Pictures throughout the relationship