I am married to a U.S. citizen? Can I get a green card
Lawyer Advice: Marriage to a U.S. citizen can result in a green card – provided everything is done correctly. There are many difficult steps – preparing the green card application (many, many forms), sending it to the correct USCIS address, preparing for the marriage interview… Your wife or your husband will thank you if you get a consultation from us – knowing the right information can mean the difference between a denial and a green card.
Here’s some more useful information: if you crossed the border illegally, it will be much more difficult for you to apply, but not impossible – we will help you with the process. It is much simpler if you have have an entry stamp in your passport – meaning you arrived with a visa – in that case, you are eligible to apply for your green card, even if you overstayed and are illegal right now.
Still, a lot depends on the details. Have you ever been arrested? What paperwork do you have to prove that your marriage is real? What documents does USCIS require at the interview? A knowledgeable lawyer would know how to proceed.
I’ve had clients who came to me after their case was denied by USCIS because of some mistake that they had made. Those people lost about $2,000 in filing fees, but they were the lucky ones – because I was able to re-apply for them. Some mistakes are not that easy to correct. It’s better to talk to a professional attorney to make sure that everything goes smoothly. This way you can have your green card in just a few months.
Here’s more in depth information about it
A green card that’s received based on marriage to a U.S. citizen (a so-called “marriage green card”) is a document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and provides the spouse of a U.S. citizen or spouse of a permanent resident the right to live and work anywhere in the U.S. It is a required step in the process of eventually becoming eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Getting a marriage green card is not easy. There are some basic requirements that must be met. The steps vary depending on whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. There is a different process to follow if the spouse who needs the green card lives in the U.S. or resides outside the U.S.
Legal Requirements for Applying for a Marriage Green Card
The person applying for the marriage green card is referred to as the beneficiary or the green card applicant. The citizen spouse or green card holder spouse is referred to as the petitioner or sponsor.
To be eligible, the proper application forms must be submitted, with the attachments. The required step is to submit a Petition for an Alien Relative, and prove the following:
- You are legally married to either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
- If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you must submit proof that your spouse is a citizen. Acceptable documents for this are a birth certificate, a U.S. passport, naturalization papers, or a certificate of citizenship.
- If you are married to a permanent resident, you must submit a copy of your spouse’s green card.
- Proof that your marriage is a real marriage, and you are building a life together. An interview with USCIS is almost always required (if you are applying in the U.S.) and if the interviewer is not satisfied with your answers or the documents submitted, there may be a second interview.
- Proof that neither of you is married to anyone else. If you or your spouse were married before and divorced, the final divorce decree must be submitted. If you or your spouse were widowed, a death certificate will need to be submitted.
Application Process if the Beneficiary is Living in the U.S. at the Time of the Application
In addition to the Petition for Alien Relative, if you are living in the U.S., you will also have to submit your Application for Adjustment of Status (“green card application”). If applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you can submit the Petition for an Alien Relative and your green card application concurrently.
If applying as the spouse of a permanent legal resident, you usually would not be able to submit both two forms concurrently. Additionally, more requirements need to be met for a spouse of a green card holder, who is applying in the U.S. – so it’s very important that you get proper legal advice before you do so.
There will almost always be an in-person interview. If you and your spouse are both in the U.S. you will attend the interview together.
Consular Process if Beneficiary is Outside the United States
If you are outside the U.S., you will submit your form I-130 and stay in your home county until that is approved. The USCIS will then give you notice that your file has been sent to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). The notification letter will tell you what the next step are, which are usually:
Filing form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa Application. Along with this form, you will need to submit:
- Proof of your nationality. This can be done by submitting a copy of your birth certificate or your passport photo page.
- Certificate of police clearance from any country that you lived in after age 16.
- An “Affidavit of Support” with evidence that your spouse is able to support you in the U.S.
There will be an interview with you at the U.S. consulate in your home country. Your spouse is not required to attend this interview with you.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Green Card?
Getting a marriage green card is a complicated process. Success depends on whether you have done everything correctly. This means filling out the right form in as much detail as possible and submitting the correct paperwork.
Even before you do so, it’s important to make sure that there are no hidden issues that could result in a denial – an experienced immigration lawyer is someone who is able to spot such issues and to correct them even before they would become a problem.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (646) 543-0745 or contact us online. Our immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Spektor, Spektor & Berman will reply to you very quickly.
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Picking the right lawyer is difficult. Your future or the future of your loved ones depends on it. Lawyers at Spektor Law Group take this responsibility very seriously. We understand that you trust us with your case and will do everything we can to take it to successful outcome. Call us (646) 543-0745 to see the difference.
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