If you have a spouse who lives in the United States, then first of all we would like to say congratulations. Hopefully, you and your partner plan to move to the USA and live here permanently. If you do, then you will need to apply for a marriage green card to get access to permanent residence in the US. This can be quite tough to do, but we’ll break down the key laws and regulations for you below so that you will find the process a little easier.
First off, you need to go through a 3-stage process.
This begins with you needing to file an I-130 form. This is known as the “Petition of Alien Relative” and must be filled in as soon as possible. Your spouse will be known as the “sponsor”, and the individual applying for the card will be referred to as the “beneficiary” or “applicant”, so keep that in mind.
When you file this form, you must make sure that the following is true:
- You have provided information as clearly and as truthfully as you can.
- Proof is shown that your marriage is legal and genuine, via a marriage certificate.
- Proof that your spouse is a full US citizen, or a permanent resident of the country.
- You have paid the $535 filing fee that the United States Government requests.
If you have completed the form and can ensure the above is true, then your first step to becoming a US citizen nearly finished. At this point, you will wait around 2-3 months for a full response. When this arrives, your spouse will be asked to deliver as much evidence as they can to support your application.
What happens next?
Once this happens, you will need to fill in an entirely different form. If you already live within the United States and wish to get your green card, then you must fill in an I-485 form, or an “Adjustment of Status” application form. This will help to provide proof that you are eligible for the green card.
You’ll need to provide proof of your nationality, proof of lawful entry until now, and also undergo a full medical examination. You might also be asked to show that your spouse/sponsor can support you financially, including proof of pay stubs/tax returns. You’ll need to pay another filing fee of around $1,225.
If you live abroad, the system changes somewhat because you need to file an application with the National Visa Center instead. They will then decide, based on your application, if you should get an interview with the U.S. Embassy of your nation.
Either way, you will need to attend a green card interview at some stage. This will help to determine how real your marriage is, and it could even go into things like your day-to-day activities or what your plans are for your future together. If your marriage is deemed legal and genuine, you should be given approval for your green card. If you have been married for longer than two years, you should receive an IR1 – Immediate Relative – card, which is valid for a decade.
The location of your interview depends on whether you are presently in the US or abroad. If you wish to get a marriage green card for the USA, the above process is likely what you will need to undergo if you wish to receive a Green Card based on married.