United States citizens may apply for their spouse to earn a green card by marriage. Similarly, after foreign citizens have lived and worked in the United States and met the qualifications for permanent residency status, they too may apply for a green card by marriage for their new spouse.
The process for a green card by marriage application for U.S. citizens is different than for a current green card holder.
For U.S. Citizens Sponsors
Once both the citizen-sponsor and the beneficiary have proven their eligibility, the U.S. citizen can apply for permanent residency for the spouse as an immediate relative. In these cases, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will grant a Visa number immediately. The spouse may then apply for green card status with Form I-130.
- For beneficiaries already in the United States, they should apply for a change of status to permanent residency.
- For beneficiaries outside the United States, they should first apply for an immigration visa at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or consulate.
Another option for green card marriage is available for U.S. citizens. The United States also offers a K-1 Visa to a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. The K-1 visa is valid for only 90 days during which the green card marriage should take place or the fiancé(e) must leave. Since this approach can be expensive and complicated, many prefer to marry outside the United States and apply for permanent residency when they return.
For Green Card Holder Sponsors
After applying and receiving eligibility through the Form I-130 procedure, applicants must wait for a visa number to become available. Once the Department of State announces the status of the candidate’s priority date, the beneficiary can then formally apply for permanent residency.
Children of Green Card Marriage Candidates
Whether the sponsor is a citizen or a current permanent resident, eligible minor children of foreign spouses many also immigrate with the foreign spouse. The USCIS website outlines additional family-based categories for permanent residency.
Green Card Marriage Interviews
As part of the process, USCIS requires an extensive interview with the prospective couple usually about three months after the time of application. In these discussions, candidates for a green card marriage should be prepared to answer questions correctly and truthfully. Preparation is essential as poor responses can result in delay or rejection of the application. There are no questions or answers that must be memorized. The officer is mainly examining the couple’s credibility and character.
Here are some suggestions regarding preparation for the interview:
- Be on time.
- Dress appropriately, in a way that demonstrates your respect for the process.
- Listen carefully and answer briefly and to the point. The interviewer will have many precise questions to ask each of you regarding where you met, what you do, what kind of car each spouse drives, foods served at the wedding, and so on. These very specific questions are intended to reveal whether the sponsor and the candidate know each other and have shared memories.
- Don’t guess. It is better to say you do not understand or can’t recall rather than make up an answer.
- If the officer suspects the marriage may be faked to gain permanent residency status for the candidate, you may be separated and asked questions to determine whether you know each other. Trying to fake a green card marriage is a serious legal offense.
- Bring original documentation and a set of copies to provide the interviewer to prove your wedding occurred.
Seek Professional Legal Assistance
Immigration law is complicated. Attempting to navigate the variables of visa applications, immigration and entry, legal residency, green cards, and U.S. citizenship without professional assistance can fail. Experienced immigration attorneys like the professionals at Nanthaveth & Associates of Austin TX understand the intricacies of immigration law and resident rights.
In recent months, there has been much political commentary and legislative activity surrounding immigration and the rights of current residents. In many cases, the window seems to be narrowing for many individuals hoping to come to the United States to work or to join their families.
Accurate, organized, and well-presented applications are more likely to succeed. Similarly, in case of conflict, experienced legal representation from a reputable immigration law firm is essential.
Contact Nanthaveth & Associates Immigration Law Firm in Austin
In Austin TX, schedule your free consultation with the multilingual professionals at Nanthaveth & Associates to discuss green card marriage processes or other immigration challenges. The free consultation will allow you to understand your rights and to begin the bureaucratic process of applying for permanent residency by green card marriage.
About Nanthaveth & Associates:
Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in Austin, Texas. Immigration law experts at Nanthaveth and Associates are prepared to provide legal counsel for businesses, families and individuals in the areas of green cards, deportation, adjustment of status, work visas and investor visa applications, family-sponsored immigration, employer compliance, self-petitions, permanent residence, naturalization, waivers, appeals, foreign adoptions, mediation and more.
For Austin, TX immigration help call Nanthaveth & Associates at 512.371.9000.