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A Guide to Secure Marriage-Based Green Card Successfully

Marriage is a beautiful thing especially when you’re married to the right significant other.


Marriage has also evolved with time, with internationals now being joined together in holy matrimony.


A very good example of interracial marriages like this will be a Swiss international getting married to an American citizen.


According to reports from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), thousands of individuals apply for marriage-based green cards each year to obtain legal permanent residency in the United States.


Furthermore, as of 2019, over 432,000 individuals obtained lawful permanent resident status in the United States through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.


In fact, over time, statistics have shown that over 500,000 green cards are issued through family-sponsored preferences annually.


So if you’re one of those considering applying for a marriage-based green card, it’s important to understand the process and requirements involved to increase your chances of a successful application.


However, it is noteworthy that the process can be complex and daunting.


And in that regard, this article will aim to address this demand and provide viable solutions.

Marriage-based Green Card Process

A mariage-based Green Card, also known as a spousal Green Card, provides a route to permanent residency for foreign nationals married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.


In order to be eligible, the marriage must be legally recognized and bona fide, meaning entered into in good faith.


When obtaining a marriage-based green card, there are specific eligibility requirements for both the sponsor (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and the foreign spouse.


The application process usually involves completing forms, providing documents of the marriage, attending an interview, and awaiting a decision from USCIS.


On average, the processing time for a marriage-based green card can range from between several months to over a year, depending on various factors.


There are mainly two types of marriage-based Green Cards:


  • Immediate Relative Green Card: This is for spouses of U.S. citizens, with no annual numerical limit.
  • Family Preference Green Card: For spouses of lawful permanent residents, with annual numerical limits.

Steps to Obtaining a Marriage-based Green Card

To successfully apply for and obtain a green card on account of your spouse’s nationality, the following tips would help:


  • Preparation and gathering required documents:Gather documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificates, and proof of legal status.


  • Filing the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130): Submit the petition along with supporting documents to establish the relationship.


  • Completing the Adjustment of Status process or consular processing:Depending on your circumstances, you may adjust status in the U.S. or go through consular processing in your home country.


  • Attending the marriage-based Green Card interview:Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship and provide further evidence of a bona fide marriage.

Benefits of a Marriage-based Green Card

There are lots of benefits that come with being granted a green card as a result of the nationality of your spouse.

One of the primary benefits of a marriage-based green card is obtaining legal permanent residency in the United States.

This allows individuals to live and work in the country indefinitely, as well as access certain benefits and protections.

In addition to that, a marriage-based green card can lead to opportunities for family reuniting and eventual eligibility for U.S. citizenship.

A quick recap of this would be:

  • Permanent residency in the U.S.
  • Eligibility to work legally in the U.S.
  • Ability to travel in and out of the U.S.
  • Opportunity to sponsor family members for Green Cards

Common Misconceptions about Marriage-based Green Cards

There are several myths and misunderstandings surrounding the process of obtaining a marriage-based green card.

Some of these common misconceptions include the belief that getting married solely for immigration purposes is acceptable, or that the process is quick and straightforward.

If that’s all the reason why you’re considering settling down with a citizen or legal permanent resident, then you’ll be in for a rude shock.

It’s important to address these misconceptions and clarify the true requirements and responsibilities involved in applying for a marriage-based green card.

Tips for a Successful Marriage-based Green Card Application

To ensure that your application is successful, it’s crucial to gather all necessary documents and evidence to prove the legitimacy of the marriage.

It is recommended that communication with immigration officials should be clear and accurate.

Seeking legal assistance if needed can be beneficial.

Additionally, staying organized and informed throughout the process can help avoid delays or complications.

Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid

While applying for a marriage-based green card can be a rewarding experience, there are potential challenges and pitfalls to be aware of.

These may include issues with documentation, language barriers, or delays in processing.

Some other challenges and their solutions are:


  • Addressing potential issues with proof of a bona fide marriage:Provide a variety of documents to demonstrate the genuineness of your relationship, such as joint bank accounts, shared lease agreements, and photographs.


  • Handling delays in the processing of the Green Card application:Stay informed about processing times and follow up with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if there are any significant delays. Additionally, consider reaching out to legal assistance or an immigration attorney for guidance on optimising the process.


By being proactive in your approach and addressing any potential issues early on, applicants can go through the process more smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take to get a marriage-based Green Card in the United States?

A: The processing time for a marriage-based Green Card can vary depending on various factors such as the USCIS workload, the completeness of the application, and any additional requests for evidence. On average, the process can take anywhere from 10 months to 2 years.


Q: What documents are required for a marriage-based Green Card application?

A: Commonly required documents include a marriage certificate, proof of identity and legal status, evidence of a bona fide marriage (such as joint financial accounts, property ownership, and photos), birth certificates, and police clearance certificates. Additional forms and supporting documents specific to the application must also be included.


Q: Can I work in the United States while waiting for my marriage-based Green Card?

A: If you are in the U.S. and have filed for Adjustment of Status using Form I-485, you can also file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to obtain a work permit while your Green Card application is pending. This allows you to legally work in the U.S. while awaiting your Green Card approval.


Q: What happens if my marriage-based Green Card application is denied?

A: If your application is denied, you will receive a written explanation from USCIS outlining the reasons for the denial. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply with additional evidence to address the concerns raised by USCIS.


Q: Can my spouse apply for a marriage-based Green Card if they are living outside the United States?

A: Yes, if your spouse lives outside the U.S., they can apply for a marriage-based Green Card through consular processing. This process involves completing forms and attending an interview at a U.S. consulate in their home country. Once approved, they can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

Final Thoughts

Going down the path to obtaining a marriage-based Green Card can be a complex and challenging process.

But with proper preparation, documentation, and support, you can increase your chances of success.

Remember, each case is unique, and seeking guidance from immigration professionals can help you address any issues that may arise along the way.

By following the steps outlined in this article and staying informed about the process, you can move closer to achieving your goal of obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. through marriage.

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