Law Offices Of Robert M. Bell, P.A. | Immigration And Nationality Attorneys
Robert M. Bell, P.A.

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Law Offices Of Robert M. Bell | Immigration And Nationality Attorneys

What You Need To Know About Marriage-Based Green Cards

When a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident marries a non-U.S. citizen, the new spouse is eligible to apply for a green card. This process is not automatic. In fact, to obtain a marriage-based green card for your spouse, you will need to file specific documents and comply with numerous requirements. This process is not simple or straightforward, but an experienced immigration attorney can help.

At Robert M. Bell, P.A., we are immigration and nationality lawyers who help clients obtain family-based green cards. We can assist in the process of applying for a green card through marriage. We provide our clients in Hollywood and across South Florida with attention and care.

Get Help with U.S. Immigration Form I-130, Petition For Alien Relative

We can help you fill out and file all the important forms and supporting documents to obtain a marriage-based green card for your spouse. We will also ensure that you meet any deadlines for these benefits so your process continues forward.

Here are some of the forms that we prepare for our clients:

  • U.S. Immigration Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: This form is the first step in helping an eligible spouse obtain a marriage-based green card. U.S. citizens and permanent residents must file this petition on behalf of their spouses.
  • U.S. Immigration Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: This form, also known as the Adjustment of Status (AOS) form, allows a foreign spouse to apply for lawful permanent resident status while in the U.S. In other words, the spouse will not have to return to their home country while the green card is being processed.
  • U.S. Immigration Form I-864, Affidavit of Support: This form helps family-based immigrants, such as spouses, show that they will not need to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.
  • U.S. Immigration Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility: This form can be used by the foreign spouse to apply for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility. The application will require evidence to support the case, so it can be helpful to work with an experienced immigration attorney to complete this form.

Some or all of these forms will be needed to obtain a marriage-based green card for your spouse. Because mistakes or incomplete applications could result in substantial delays or a denial of your application, turn to us to help you file your applications properly.

Marriage-Based Green Card Timeline

There are some general guidelines regarding the two processes for obtaining a marriage-based green card for your spouse.

Consular Processing With The Department Of State

This timeline will apply to you if you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident married to a foreign national who is still living abroad. While processing times are subject to change, here is the general timeline you can use as a guideline:

  • USCIS processing of I-130 petition (seven to 20 months): As stated above, you will need to file U.S. Immigration Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form must be filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on behalf of the foreign spouse. You may have to file additional paperwork for your spouse’s marriage-based green card, so it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to ensure that all requirements are satisfied. Processing times may be longer for a lawful permanent resident petitioning for a spouse.
  • Immigrant visa application (four to 10 months): If your I-130 petition is approved, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC), and the State Department will open an immigrant visa case. Additional paperwork will be required. The NVC will collect more information and documents from you and your spouse.
  • Interview and approval (six to 12 months): Once the NVC has received all necessary documents, the U.S. embassy or consulate in your spouse’s country of citizenship will schedule an interview. If approved, your spouse will be issued an immigrant visa that can be used to enter the U.S. The green card will be mailed to your spouse after their arrival in the U.S.

Adjustment Of Status With USCIS

This timeline will apply to you if you are a U.S. citizen and, in some cases, a lawful permanent resident married to a foreign citizen who is already living in the U.S. Here is the marriage-based green card timeline:

  • Preparation of filing: You are required to file a packet of application forms with supporting documents with USCIS. A qualified immigration lawyer can explain the forms and documentation that are required for your particular circumstances.
  • Interview and approval: A local USCIS office will interview you and your spouse to review the applications and ask relevant background questions. After the interview, USCIS will either make a decision or request additional evidence. If approved, you will receive a lawful permanent resident card (also known as a green card).

With either method of AOS or consular processing, you will have to provide evidence of a “bona fide marriage,” which can include:

  • A marriage certificate
  • Financial statements
  • Any shared housing paperwork, such as a mortgage in both names
  • Evidence of your relationship, such as photos and emails
  • Copies of joint bills

Any type of evidence that supports the reality and seriousness of your relationships from a personal and financial perspective is necessary for this.

Removing Conditional Residence

If you receive a green card via a marriage-based visa petition, you will receive a conditional permanent residence visa. Within 90 days before its expiration, you can petition for a non-conditional visa.

You will file the form with your spouse; provide evidence of a bona fide marriage, which we detailed previously; and complete an interview with USCIS.

Contact Robert M. Bell, P.A., For Help Obtaining A Marriage-Based Green Card

At Robert M. Bell, P.A., we are knowledgeable about every aspect of applying for a marriage-based green card, and we can assist you along the way. To begin the process of obtaining a green card through marriage, simply contact us at 954-400-3156 or send an email.