Marriage-Based Green Card: Your Guide to Spousal Immigration in the U.S

For countless individuals around the world, obtaining a marriage-based green card represents a path to a new life in the United States with a spouse who is an American citizen or permanent resident. This process allows the foreign national spouse to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident. We understand that navigating the ins and outs of immigration law can be daunting, which is why it’s essential to grasp the basics of obtaining a marriage-based green card.

While love is the foundation of marriage, when it comes to immigration, we must also consider stringent legal criteria and a complex application process. To qualify for a marriage-based green card, we must present substantial evidence to demonstrate the authenticity of the marriage. This goes beyond simply being married; it involves a thorough evaluation by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of both partners’ commitment and intent to build a life together. Learn more about marriage based green card

Applying for a marriage-based green card also requires us to meticulously follow a series of procedural steps and submit the necessary paperwork. These steps include filing petitions, attending interviews, and passing background checks. Given the high stakes of the process, accuracy and thoroughness in our application are paramount to avoid delays or a denial. We recognize the importance of being prepared and informed at every turn to ensure a smooth journey towards obtaining legal permanent residency through marriage.

Eligibility Criteria

In this section, we outline the specific requirements that applicants and their sponsoring spouses must meet to obtain a marriage-based green card.

Family Relationship Requirements

To be eligible for a marriage-based green card, we must prove a legal marriage between the U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsor and the foreign national spouse. Evidence includes:

  • Marriage Certificate: An official document confirming the marriage.
  • Joint accounts and assets: Documents showing shared finances or property.

Financial Stability Evidence

Affidavits of Support (Form I-864) are required to show that we can financially support the spouse seeking a green card, ensuring that they will not rely on government assistance. The sponsoring spouse must demonstrate an income level at or above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This proof can include:

  • Tax Returns: Recent federal tax returns.
  • Employment Letters: A letter from employer stating the salary.

Residency and Background Checks

We must provide proof of the sponsoring spouse’s residency in the United States and pass comprehensive background checks. Key documents include:

  • Proof of Residency: A valid U.S. passport or State ID as evidence.
  • Criminal Records: Disclosing any past encounters with the law, if applicable.

Each step involves a thorough examination of the evidence provided to meet the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) standards.

Application Process

In this section, we outline the necessary steps and important details for navigating through the marriage-based green card application process.

Filing the Petition

We begin by submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the marital relationship between the U.S. citizen or permanent resident and the foreign spouse.

Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing

Depending upon the foreign spouse’s location, we may proceed through Adjustment of Status (if they are already in the U.S.) by filing Form I-485, or through Consular Processing (if they are abroad) which involves processing the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Biometrics Appointment

After the petition, if we are pursuing an Adjustment of Status, USCIS will schedule a Biometrics Appointment. This involves providing fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature to confirm identity and to conduct required background checks.

Interview and Approval

Lastly, we typically attend an Interview where an immigration officer will verify the authenticity of the marital relationship. If approved, the foreign spouse will be granted a green card, signifying lawful permanent residency in the United States.