If you were recently married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you may be eligible for a marriage green card. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you are now the immediate family member of that person.
A marriage green card is like any other green card. It is officially called a “Permanent Residence Card”. A green card allows non-U.S. citizens to live permanently in the United States. After you obtain a green card, you can lawfully work and live anywhere in the United States. Having a green card is the first step to applying for U.S. citizenship. You must be married and have a green card for 3 years before applying for citizenship.
How Can I Get A Marriage Green Card?
In order to get a marriage green card there are generally three steps. These are the three steps:
Submitting the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
What is The Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?
Adjustment of Status means applying from inside the U.S. You will apply for a green card this way if you are married to a U.S. citizen, or green card holder and you live in the United States.
Consular Processing means applying from another country. You will apply for a green card this way if you are married to a U.S. citizen, or green card holder and you live abroad.
The USCIS and NVC require most supporting documents to be translated in English. In addition to the forms that will be mentioned here, you may need to submit a certified translation of any documents that are not in English. The most common documents that need to be translated for a Marriage Green Card include:
The cost for a marriage green card is different if you’re applying from inside the United States, or applying from another country. The total cost will be the combination of different forms and applications. The cost of the forms listed below does not include the cost of a medical examination, which varies.
Adjustment of Status: The total cost is $1,760 to apply for a marriage green card from within the U.S. This amount includes the combined price of these forms:
If you are married to a U.S. green card holder and currently living in the U.S.
In this situation, you cannot file your I-130 and I-485 at the same time. There is also an added wait for a green card to become available. There must be a green card available before you can file your I-485.
Scheduling a green card interview and awaiting approval can take 1-3 months.
Total: 19-26 months.
What Is the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative?
Submitting a Form I-130 is the first step in obtaining a marriage green card. The I-130 is officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”. In the context of marriage, the purpose of the I-130 is to prove to USCIS that your marriage is valid and authentic. U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services want to know your marriage is not fraudulent.
The person who files the I-130 petition is the person who is already a U.S. citizen or U.S. green card holder. They are called the “Petitioner”. The person who is trying to obtain a green card is called the “beneficiary”.
There are several different types of documents that the petitioner and the beneficiary need to provide for the I-130:
To establish proof that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen they will need to provide several documents. These include but may not be limited to:
According to USCIS, if you submit a document with information in a foreign language, you must also submit an English translation. To guarantee that your I-130 is processed as quickly as possible, it helps to use a certified translator. You can order a certified translation of these documents from our online store:
For spouses of green card holders the I-130 and I-485cannot be filed at the same time. There must be a green card available on the Visa Bulletin before filing form I-485. This waiting period exists because the U.S. limits the number of visas given in certain categories, and to certain countries, per year.
What Is Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application?
This is step 2 if you are applying for a green card while living abroad.
Form DS-260 is officially called the “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application”. It must be filed by the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder. This form should be used if you are applying for a green card, while living abroad. This is known as Consular Processing. The purpose of the DS-260 is for the NVC to gather information and documents. When the NVC finishes processing the DS-260, it is transferred to the U.S. consulate in the country where the applicant is located.
This step can only take place after the U.S. citizen or green card holder has filed form I-130. After the NVC creates your case in their system, they will send you a welcome letter by email or physical mail. This welcome letter will have your NVC case number and invoice I.D. number. You can log in with this information to file form DS-260. The State Department provides a sample DS-260 to view if you haven’t started the filing process.
This is step 3, the final step. The goal of the interview is for the interviewing officer to decide if the marriage is authentic, and not fraudulent. There is no prescribed set of questions available to the public. The interviewing officer can create their own questions. These questions can be about anything including how the couple met, what their wedding day was like, and what their future plans are together. If the interviewing officer is satisfied by the interview, they can approve the spouse for a green card.
The location of the interview depends on if you are applying from the U.S. or in another country.
In the United States
If you are applying through Adjustment of Status, your interview will take place in your local USCIS office. In this case, the petitioning spouse will attend with the beneficiary spouse. If your green card is approved, the physical copy will usually arrive in the mail, within 2-3 weeks.
What to bring to your interview
Most of the documents you should bring to your interview are the same as the ones you submitted with your I-485. Additional documents include:
If you are applying through Consular Processing, your interview will be at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This will be in the country where the beneficiary spouse is located. The State Department has many embassies and consulates throughout the world.
The petitioning spouse may or may not have to attend the interview. Every person required to attend will be named in the interview Appointment Letter from the NVC. Most likely the petitioning spouse will not have to attend the interview.
If the interviewing officer approves the green card application . The beneficiary spouse will get a visa stamp in their passport. The next thing to do is pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee. This must be paid before they can enter the U.S. This fee must be paid before USCIS will mail your green card to your address in the U.S.
Your visa stamp allows you to travel to the U.S. When you enter the U.S., you enter as a green card holder. Your physical green card should arrive within 2-3 weeks of your arrival in the U.S.
Beneficiary spouse’s unexpired passport.The passport should be valid for six months after the day you plan to travel to the U.S.
Two passport style photographs.
DS-260 Confirmation Page.
Where Can I Get a Certified Translation?
The documents and forms mentioned above may not be a complete list. The USCIS and NVC require most supporting documents to be translated in English. You may need to submit a certified translation of any documents that are not in English. The most common documents that need to be translated for a Marriage Green Card include:
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