Marriage Green Cards

Green Card Marriage

Los Angeles Marriage Green Card Lawyer

California Spouse Visa Immigration Attorney

If you are marrying a U.S. citizen or green card holder, or you are a green card holder or U.S. citizen marrying a foreigner and want to apply for a green card for your spouse – we can help you! 

A marriage green card lets a U.S. citizen’s spouse or green card holder’s spouse live and work anywhere in the United States.  It is intended to allow spouses to be together and promote marriage as a matter of public policy.

Yaghmai Law Firm, APC has the best marriage based green card lawyer who can help you with the entire green card through marriage process, including:

  • Identifying and solving legal issues that may cause delays or denials;

  • Explaining the marriage green card timeline and process thoroughly;

  • Explaining the green card through marriage processing times;

  • Explaining the documents needed; 

  • Giving you advice on how to prove the validity of your marriage and avoid a fraud determination;

  • Preparing the necessary forms correctly to avoid costly mistakes;

  • Preparing you for the green card interview by giving you sample green card marriage interview questions;

  • Assisting you in removing the conditions from your conditional 2-year green card

Call or text us at +1 (888) 800-6731 or contact us to book a consultation with our best immigration lawyer for marriage based green cards now!

What is the Marriage Green Card Process?

Getting a green card through marriage is generally a three-step process:

  • Establish the marriage relationship (Form I-130)
  • Apply for the green card (Form I-485 or Form DS-260)
  • Attend the green card interview and await approval

Step 1 – Proving the Marriage Relationship (Form I-130)

The first step in obtaining a marriage green card for your spouse is to apply via Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The primary objective of the I-130 form, along with the supporting documentation, is to determine that there is a legitimate marriage.

Basic I-130 Filing Requirements

  • Government filing fee of $535 – subject to change by government;

  • Proof that the petitioning spouse is a U.S. citizen or green card holder via a copy of one of the following

    • Petitioner’s U.S. birth certificate; 
    • Petitioner’s U.S. naturalization certificate;  
    • Petitioner’s valid U.S. passport photo page; or
    • Petitioner’s green card;
  • Proof that a legally valid marriage exists

    • Marriage certificate showing the names of both spouses, as well as the place and date of the marriage
  • Proof that the marriage is bona fide (valid and not fraudulent)

    • Joint lease document;
    • Joint property deeds;
    • Joint bank account statements;
    • Pictures together;
    • Correspondence between the couple (i.e. emails, texts, etc.);
    • Travel records together;
    • Affidavits from friends and family;

  • Proof that any previous marriage of either spouse has been terminated:

    • Divorce decrees showing name of your spouse, your spouse’s ex, date of dissolution

After the entire I-130 filing is prepared and checked for accuracy, it must be mailed to USCIS for processing. The petitioning spouse will receive a “receipt notice” which confirms USCIS received the filing.  This may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks. You will also find a priority date on this receipt which is your spouse’s place in line for a visa.

A decision on the filing from USCIS should be expected anywhere from 8-15 months from filing.  If they require additional information or documents, they will issue what is called a Request for Evidence or RFE to the petitioner.  The RFE will explain what further evidence is needed to complete the processing of your Form I-130 for your spouse.   

The next step will be to decide whether the partner obtaining a green card is eligible for one, after getting notice that the I-130 form has been approved.

At Yaghmai Law Firm, APC, our family based green card lawyer will prepare your filing, review all of your documents, solve any legal issues, and answer any questions you have about the green card process.  

Step 2 – Determine Eligibility for Your Spouse’s Green Card

After approval of the petitioner’s Form I-130 spouse visa petition, the beneficiary spouse must then pursue his or her green card through one of two methods.  The method used depends on where the beneficiary spouse currently lives. 

Beneficiary Lives in the United States 

For a beneficiary spouse who has entered the United States and is living here at the time the I-130 is approved, their next step is to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  This is typically referred to as “adjustment of status.”  Form I-485 is filed with USCIS to determine the beneficiary spouse’s eligibility for a green card. 

Basic I-485 Filing Requirements

  • Government filing fees of $1,225 (including $1,140 for the green card application and $85 for biometrics) – subject to change by government;

  • Proof of beneficiary’s nationality

    • Copy of birth certificate; and
    • Passport photo page;

  • Proof of beneficiary’s lawful admission into the United States

    • Copy of I-94 travel record; and
    • Prior U.S. visa stamp;

  • Medical examination of the beneficiary performed by a USCIS-approved doctor;

  • Proof of the petitioner’s ability to financially support the beneficiary

    • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support; and 
    • Tax returns; or
    • Pay stubs; or
    • Proof of other income or liquid assets;

  • Proof of beneficiary’s ability to support themselves and not become a public charge*

    • Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency; and as applicable:
    • Federal income tax returns for most recent tax year;
    • Tax transcript for household members;
    • Proof of ownership and the claimed value of any household assets;
    • Documentation of all liabilities and debts;
    • Credit report and credit score;
    • Proof of the resolution of any bankruptcy;
    • Proof of health insurance or evidence of future enrollment;
    • Documentation of any public benefits used;
    • Proof of any diplomas, degrees, or certifications;
    • Proof of any training, licenses, or certificates that show specialized skills in a trade or profession;
    • Proof of language classes or language certifications;
    • Proof of any retirement benefits or other income from a pension or Social Security;

* Important Public Charge Note: the public charge requirement is currently being litigated and may or may not be required at the time of filing.  Please consult with an immigration lawyer prior to filing. 

If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you are considered an immediate relative and there is no cap on visas for immediate relatives.  As such, you may do a concurrent filing which means you can combine your petitioning spouse’s I-130 form and your I-485 form and submit them to USCIS at the same time. The average wait time for a concurrent filing is still approximately 8-12 months. 

If you are the spouse of a green card holder, you are subject to annual visa caps under U.S. immigration laws and you must wait until a visa is available to you.  As a spouse of a green card holder you are in the second family preference category, specifically, the F2A category.   

As a spouse in the F2A category, you will only be able to submit your I-485 after the Department of State (DOS) has determined a visa is available for you via their monthly DOS Visa Bulletin

     Beneficiary Lives Outside the United States

There is a different process to sponsor a green card for a spouse living abroad. The next step is to file an application package with the National Visa Center (NVC), which is run by the State Department. The NVC gathers the necessary forms and documents and decides whether the spouse is ready for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad (a procedure known as “consular processing”).

Basic NVC Filing Requirements

  • Government filing fees of $445 (including $120 for the financial support form and $325 for the DOS processing fee)  – subject to change by government;

  • Form DS-260 immigrant visa application;

  • Proof of beneficiary’s nationality

    • Copy of birth certificate; and
    • Passport photo page;
  • Copy of a police clearance certificate for the beneficiary (showing previous interactions with law enforcement, if any);

  • Medical examination of the beneficiary performed by a USCIS-approved doctor;

  • Proof of the petitioner’s ability to financially support the beneficiary

    • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support; and 
    • Tax returns; or
    • Pay stubs; or
    • Proof of other income or liquid assets;

  • Proof of beneficiary’s ability to support themselves and not become a public charge*

      • Form DS-5540 Public Charge Questionnaire; and as applicable:
      • See I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency evidence requirements above;

Once completed and submitted, the NVC will process the filing package for approximately 3-5 months.  The NVC will then forward the filing to the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in your beneficiary spouse’s home country. The U.S. embassy or consulate will then schedule your interview after 1-3 months.

Yaghmai Law Firm, APC can help you with applying for a green card through marriage. 

Step 3 – The Green Card Interview & Approval

What Happens at the Green Card Marriage Interview?

The green card interview is the final step in the green card process for a green card through marriage. The main objective of the USCIS immigration officers is to determine the validity of the marriage through investigation and questioning. 

Your green card interview questions will focus on your relationship history, as well as your everyday activities and plans for the future together. If the USCIS officer is satisfied that your marriage is bona fide and not fraudulent – meaning it is not solely for getting a green card – your green card application will likely be approved. 

Our marriage based green card lawyer will help you prepare for your marriage based green card interview.

Where is the Green Card Marriage Interview?

Does My Petitioner Spouse Have to Attend?

If the beneficiary spouse lives inside the United States then the green card marriage interview will be at the local USCIS office and your petitioning spouse must attend the interview.

If the beneficiary spouse lives outside the United States then the marriage green card interview will be at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of residence and your petitioning spouse does not need to attend the interview.

What Happens After My Marriage Green Card Interview?

How Long Does it Take to Get My Green Card?

If your interview was at the local USCIS office, you will receive your physical green card in the mail anywhere from 2-4 weeks after your marriage green card interview.  

If your interview was at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you will receive a visa stamp in your passport which allows you to travel to the United States.  It is permission to knock at the door.  Prior to departing your home country, you should pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee online which covers the cost of your physical green card.  

Upon arrival in the United States, you will present yourself to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and seek admission using your immigrant visa stamp in your passport.  The CBP officer then has full discretion to question you, search you and your belongings, and then make a final decision to admit you or not.

Should you be admitted into the U.S. by the CBP officer, you will receive your green card to your U.S. address within 2-4 weeks of your arrival. 

Contact Yaghmai Law Firm, APC Today

Yaghmai Law Firm, APC can help you with interview preparation and every other step of the green card process.

Call or text us at +1 (888) 800-6731 or contact us to book a consultation with our best immigration lawyer for marriage based spouse visa by marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident now!

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