How to get a Green Card through Marriage

Obtaining the Green Card by marriage represents a step forward in obtaining US citizenship. Learn about the entire process and immediately begin your search for a better future.

Marriage is the possibility of sharing your life with the person you love, finding your best ally to build the family you long for. This union also has great advantages, among them, regularizing the status of immigrants in the United States.

Obtaining the Green Card by marriage is one of the most accessible options to be a resident in the land of the American dream. But before starting this process, know the eligibility criteria, the characteristics of the Green Card for which you will apply and the fees that you will have to cover for the process.

What is a Green Card by marriage

A Green Card through marriage is the document that validates your immigration status as a permanent resident within the United States. Obtaining it will allow you to live and work legally in the country, as well as access health, financial, and mobility benefits, among many others.

Achieving permanent residence is the first step in obtaining US citizenship, with which you can aspire to all the benefits and obligations established by law. There are two ways to carry out the procedure:

  • When the couple lives in the United States.
  • When one of those involved lives outside the country.

How to get a Green Card by marriage

The approximate period of this procedure ranges between nine and 36 months, it varies according to the status of the sponsor, that is, if he is a US citizen or a permanent resident.

The first step to begin the process is to complete and submit the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. To accompany this form, you must present the relevant documentation to prove the validity of the marriage. Required documents are:

  • Copy of the sponsor's birth certificate, naturalization certificate, valid US passport or green card.
  • Marriage certificate
  • Proof of validity of the marriage: this section refers to joint documents such as rent payments, bank statements and even family photographs.
  • In case of having been married before, it is necessary to present the divorce certificate
  • Payment of government fee of $535 USD

This package must be sent by mail and expect a notification of receipt within approximately two weeks. In the event that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires additional information, it will be requested in two or three months after receiving the package.

After providing the necessary information, the final decision will come within seven to 15 months. If the procedure is approved, the term will begin to establish if the sponsored person is eligible to obtain the Green Card by marriage.

Applicants within the United States

If both applicants reside in the United States, in addition to form I-130, they must submit form I-485 Adjustment of Status. This process takes from five to 16 months and it will be necessary for the sponsored person to have one of the following types of visas:

  • IR6/CR6 Spouse of a US citizen
  • F26 Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
  • CF1 Spouse of a US citizen who is currently in adjustment of status for fiancĂ© visa.

The package that will accompany the I-485 form must include:

  • Birth certificate or passport of the requesting spouse
  • Proof of legal entry to the United States (prior visa or I-94 travel record)
  • Medical examination performed by an institution authorized by the USCIS
  • Proof that the sponsor can provide spousal support (Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, tax return, or pay stubs)
  • Payment of fee of $1,225 USD ($1,140 USD for the application and $85 USD for biometric services)

Applicants outside the United States

If one of the applicants lives outside the country, this process is carried out before the National Visa Center (NVC). The duration of the process can take one to two months, and once completed, the result is sent to the United States embassy in the country of origin. The processing is applicable for the following types of visas:

  • CR1/IR1 Spouse of a US citizen
  • F21 Spouse of a lawful permanent resident

The package that will accompany the NVC application must include:

  • Form DS-260 Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa
  • Copy of the birth certificate or passport of the spouse requesting the Green Card
  • Payment of the filing fee of $445 USD ($120 USD for the financial support form and $325 USD for the cost of filing with the Department of State)
  • Copy of the criminal record certificate of the spouse applying for residency
  • Proof that the sponsor can provide spousal support (Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, tax return, or pay stubs).

And now, what's next?

The final stage of the process to obtain the Green Card by marriage is the interview. In this meeting, questions related to the couple's information will be made. The main objective is to evaluate the validity of the marriage and avoid immigration fraud.

In the event that the petitioning spouse lives in the United States, both must attend the USCIS office closest to their place of residence. Whereas, for applicant spouses from another country, the interview will take place at the United States Embassy in their country and it is not necessary for the sponsor to attend.

In case of receiving the authorization, the Green Card will be sent in a period of two to three weeks after the approval. If the spouse resides outside the United States, she will receive a special stamp to enter the United States and must pay a $220 USD immigration fee. A few weeks later, she will receive the document, at the address registered in the procedure.

Marriages lasting more than two years will receive a permanent Green Card valid for 10 years. Otherwise, they will receive a conditional Green Card valid for two years. As you approach 90 days for this term, you must apply to remove the conditions of this type of Green Card.

Learn all about the removal of Green Card conditions. Click here

How much does it cost to get a Green Card by marriage

The cost for the entire process varies depending on whether the petitioning spouse is inside or outside the United States.

In the first case, the total sum of fees is $1,980 USD, without taking into account the cost of medical exams, transfers and other representative expenses. In the case of applicants who live outside the United States, the accumulated amount reaches $1,200 USD, without considering the aforementioned expenses.

In both types of processes, this is a large investment that you might not be ready for. Do not sacrifice your expenses or postpone this procedure, access capital to start your process with the help of Alvva.

Build a legacy in the United States and provide a better quality of life for your loved ones with the help of the Green Card by marriage.