Understanding Marriage-Based Green Cards-A Comprehensive Guide by Calvo Immigration Lawyers

Understanding Marriage-Based Green Card

Understanding Marriage-Based Green Card: A Comprehensive Guide by Calvo Immigration Lawyers



Introduction to Marriage-Based Green Cards

A marriage-based green card offers a unique opportunity for the spouse of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident to live and work in the United States, enjoying “permanent resident” status. This status paves the way for potential U.S. citizenship, subject to the holder’s choice, after a mandatory three-year period of marriage.

Essential Insights

  • Processing Times: As of January 2024, it takes approximately 9.3 months to process a marriage green card application.
  • Application Costs: The cost stands at $1760 for couples residing within the U.S., while it’s reduced to $1200 for those with one or both partners living abroad.
  • Initial Steps: The process begins with the sponsoring spouse filing Form I-130, serving as proof of a genuine marital relationship.

Navigating the Green Card Process

Securing a green card through marriage entails a structured three-step procedure:

  1. Establishing the Marriage Relationship: The U.S. citizen or green card holder files Form I-130 to affirm the marriage’s authenticity.
  2. Application for Green Card: Depending on the current residence, the applicant will either go through an adjustment of status within the U.S. (Form I-485) or apply from abroad (Form DS-260).
  3. The Green Card Interview: Both partners attend an interview, culminating in the final decision on the application.

Calvo Immigration Lawyers has curated a detailed guide that elaborates on each step, suitable for applicants both in and outside the U.S., and provides insight into the types of interview questions to anticipate.

Understanding Marriage-Based Green Cards-A Comprehensive Guide by Calvo Immigration Lawyers

Preparing Your Application

Gathering the right documents at the outset is crucial. Key documents include:

  • Legal marriage certificate
  • Divorce decrees, if previously married
  • Evidence of legal U.S. entry and birth certificate (for the beneficiary)
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship (for the sponsor)
  • Documentation proving the legitimacy of the marriage

Timeline and Financial Considerations

The processing duration for a marriage-based green card currently averages 9.3 months. Calvo Immigration Lawyers offers an in-depth guide to help navigate through processing times and understand the financial commitments involved in your application.

Citizenship Post-Marriage Green Card

Typically, a lawful permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen can initiate the naturalization process via Form N-400 under the “three-year rule,” contrasting with the broader “five-year rule.” Eligibility hinges on continuous U.S. residency for three years, substantial physical presence, and living in marital union with the U.S. citizen spouse while upholding “good moral character.”

Understanding Costs

The government filing fees total $1760 for spouses within the U.S. and $1200 for those abroad. These figures exclude medical examination fees, which can range from $200 to $500. Calvo Immigration Lawyers has compiled a guide detailing these costs, including the impending fee increases scheduled for April 1, 2024, by USCIS.

The Application Journey

  1. Form I-130 Submission: Validates the marriage.
  2. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Application methods vary based on the applicant’s location.
  3. The Interview: A crucial step to verify the marriage’s authenticity.

Update for Green Card Holder Spouses: Significant delays are anticipated for spouses of green card holders following changes in the September 2023 Visa Bulletin under the F-2A category. Our monthly Visa Bulletin report offers detailed insights.

Naturalization Post-Marriage Green Card Lawful permanent residents married to U.S. citizens may start the naturalization process by filing Form N-400 under the “three-year rule,” contrasting with the “five-year rule” applicable to other green card holders. This process demands three years of U.S. residency, physical presence for 18 of those months, cohabitation with the U.S. citizen spouse, and proof of “good moral character.”

Calvo Immigration Lawyers supports clients throughout their application process, ensuring clarity and assistance from initial filing to the immigration interview. Our expertise in immigration law ensures that clients navigate their journey to obtaining a marriage-based green card with confidence and comprehensive legal backing.

For detailed support and to start crafting your tailored visa strategy, reach out to Calvo Immigration Lawyers today.