Getting a Green Card Through Marriage
Marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) with a green card gives you the opportunity to obtain your own green card to live and work in the U.S. While it seems like the process of obtaining a green card as a spouse should be easy and straightforward, unfortunately that is rarely the case.
Immigration officials are often suspicious that the relationships supporting a marriage green card application are a sham. If officials decide that you failed to provide adequate evidence to support the legitimacy of your marriage, your application could be delayed or denied. Any hint of fraud could make it very difficult for you to obtain a visa in the future.
To prevent this type of problem, many couples work with an experienced immigration lawyer when applying for a green card. At the law office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we know the documentation that officials are looking for, and can guide you through the process to avoid costly mistakes and get a green card without unnecessary delays.
Proving Your Marriage is Legal and Bona Fide
You must be legally married in a ceremony recognized as valid by the government of the country where the wedding took place. A common law marriage may be recognized if you can produce evidence to show that it meets the legal requirements for the state or country where you lived as a married couple. Both spouses must have been legally eligible to marry, so if either of you was married previously, you will need evidence of a valid divorce or death of the first spouse.
In addition to providing documentation to show that your marriage is legal, you also need evidence to show that it is based on a genuine marriage relationship in which you intend to build a life together. You will need to provide physical evidence such as photographs showing you’ve been together for a while, bank statements showing combined accounts, joint insurance policies and mortgage documents or deeds showing joint ownership of property. Additionally, you need to be prepared to answer detailed questions about your relationship.
The Process of Obtaining a Marriage-Based Green Card
The process of applying for a green card starts with the U.S. spouse filing a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and supporting documentation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency may request additional information, and it is important to respond promptly.
If the foreign spouse is already located in the U.S., an immigration attorney may advise filing a concurrent Form I-485 Application to Register Permanence or Adjust Status, or that application could be filed later. If the foreign spouse is living abroad, once USCIS approves the immigration petition, then the agency forwards the information to the State Department’s National Visa Center, which will contact the applicant to request a formal application and fees. When the documentation is complete, the applicant will submit biometric information and undergo an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
A Dedicated Immigration Attorney Could Help You Get a Marriage-Based Green Card
The process of applying for an immigrant visa is complex, and any discrepancies can lead to painful delays or denials. The experienced immigration attorneys at Luis F. Hess, PLLC can help you at each step along the way to ensure that you are taking advantage of every available opportunity to keep the process moving forward. Contact our office today to learn more about how we could help you obtain a green card through marriage.