You can apply for a green card through marriage, allowing you to reside and work anywhere in the country. If you are a foreigner engaged to a U.S. citizen, you may wonder how to join your partner in the United States. This article will guide you through obtaining a green card through marriage, whether you decide to get married in the United States or abroad.
The Marriage Green Card Process
To settle permanently in the United States, you need to apply for a green card through a marriage contract. Spouses of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are eligible for a green card through marriage. Getting married to a U.S. citizen means you can apply for a green card immediately. Marriage green cards are exempt from quotas and processing times, which is excellent news given the strong demand for all other green cards.
Sponsorship is necessary for all U.S. immigrants. Your U.S. spouse will act as your sponsor and apply so that you can join them in the United States. If your case is complicated or you have children, the entire process could take months, if not years, to conclude. Additionally, spouse sponsorship is still required. They must show they are tax compliant and financially stable enough to support you or have a sponsor who is. An Affidavit of Support is a legal document that promises financial support from the sponsor if you cannot secure a job or income in the United States.
Getting Married in the USA
If you are currently in the United States on a temporary visa, you must go through the Adjustment of Status procedure to obtain a green card. To qualify, you must first enter into a marriage ceremony. Form I-130 (‘Petition for Alien Relative’) and Form I-485 must be submitted together when applying for a green card. You’ll also have to schedule an appointment to get interviewed and have your fingerprints taken. The government wants to ensure your relationship is legitimate, so they’re conducting the interview. Unlike green card holders, spouses of U.S. citizens are not subject to quotas or waiting periods. If you entered the country lawfully but are now out of status, you can have that forgiven during the adjustment of the status procedure.
If you’re not in the United States, you have two options. You can have the wedding abroad and apply for your green card through consular processing. The process can be lengthy, but it ultimately results in a green card that can be used to enter the country, allowing you to move in and start working immediately. The second step is to have your fiancé enter the country on a K1 visa so that you can get married and then apply for permanent residency.
When and Where Should I Marry?
When you factor in the complexity of U.S. immigration law and a foreign spouse, choosing where to have a wedding can be a monumental undertaking. You can petition for Adjustment of Status if you get married in the United States (AOS). During this internal procedure, you and your spouse can remain in the United States, where you can live together and, in some cases, even find gainful employment.
Be aware of your visa status and the ‘90-day rule‘ before traveling to the United States. This rule is a USCIS directive for determining whether or not a green card applicant has lied on their initial visa application from within the United States. In most cases, an application for AOS filed within the first 90 days of entry into the United States will be declined.
Visa and marriage fraud:
Unfortunately, some individuals may commit fraud to gain a visa or green card through marriage. This can include marrying solely for immigration purposes or using fake documents to support the marriage application.
It’s important to note that immigration fraud is a serious crime that can result in both civil and criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and deportation. The applicant and the U.S. citizen spouse can be held responsible if fraud is discovered.
The U.S. government has implemented a rigorous screening process for marriage-based green card applicants to prevent fraud. This includes background checks, interviews, and verification of supporting documents.
Obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen can be a complex process, but it can also be rewarding. With proper planning and preparation, you can successfully navigate the process and join your spouse in the United States.
Remember to carefully consider your options for getting married and applying for a green card, and be aware of the potential challenges and requirements involved. By working with a qualified immigration attorney and using helpful resources like Our Love Visa, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your dream of living in the United States with your loved one.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, and best of luck with your immigration journey!
Our Love Visa makes your immigration process easy, fast, and worry-free, guaranteed. We provide you with complementary tools and resources free that help you plan your future in the United States together. Learn about how OLV is helping couples through their immigration journey.