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. Many applicants find it helpful to work with an experienced immigration lawyer.
The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. employs immigration and nationality attorneys who help clients obtain marriage-based green cards for their spouses. An immigration lawyer from our firm can assist in the process of applying for a green card through marriage.
Get Help with U.S. Immigration Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
Our immigration attorneys 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 you meet any deadlines for these benefits so your process continues forward.
Here are some of the forms that our office prepares 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 or 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 his/her home country while the green card is processed.
- U.S. Immigration Form I-864 “Affidavit of Support.” This form helps family-based immigrants such as spouses to 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.
- U.S. Immigration Form I-944 “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.” This form is used to determine whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge at any time in the future. Due to a new nationwide law, Form I-944 must be filed with many applications for adjustment of status.
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, it is important to seek representation from an immigration attorney from The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A.
Marriage-Based Green Card Timeline
The quickest and most efficient way to obtain a marriage-based green card for a spouse is to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can help comply with deadlines and requirements for filing. However, there are some general guidelines regarding these 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. Here is the general timeline you can use as a guideline. Processing times are subject to change.
- USCIS Processing of I-130 Petition (7-11 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 all requirements are satisfied. Processing times may be longer for a lawful permanent resident petitioning for a spouse.
- Immigrant Visa Application (3-6 months). If your I-130 petition is approved, 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 (3 or more 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 arrival in the U.S.
Adjustment of Status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 attorney 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 make a decision or request additional evidence. If approved, you will receive a lawful permanent resident card (also known as a green card.)
Contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. for Help Obtaining a Marriage-Based Green Card
The immigration attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. are knowledgeable in every aspect of applying for a marriage-based green card and can assist you throughout the process. Call our firm to hire an immigration lawyer who can help you obtain a green card through marriage. To begin, simply contact us at (954) 241-4209.