Getting a Green Card through marriage is one of the most common ways for people born outside the U.S. to get legal status. However, the process can still be long, complicated, and confusing for spouses who are trying to get a Green Card after marriage. If you have any questions about how your spouse gets a Green Card after marrying a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) the Law Offices of Victoria J. Suh is here to help.
Green Card Through Marriage in Los Angeles
The process for getting a Green Card after marriage depends on the immigration status of the spouse, whether marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Apply for Green Card After Marrying a U.S. Citizen
Applying for a Green Card after marrying a U.S. citizen begins with filing a Form I-130 “Petition for Alien Relative.” The application can be completed immediately after marriage. After the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the petition, the new spouse can apply to become an LPR. Applying to register permanent residence for a spouse inside the U.S. is then done through filing a Form I-485.
When applying for a Green Card, the couple needs to provide evidence of a “bona fide” marriage, including:
- Documentation showing joint ownership of property;
- A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence;
- Documentation showing combined financial resources;
- Birth certificates of children born to the couple;
- Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship containing; and
- Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union.
Apply for Green Card After Marrying a Lawful Permanent Resident
The process for applying for a Green Card after marrying an LPR is different than after marrying a U.S. citizen. The process begins with filing a Form I-130 Immigration Petition for a Foreign Spouse. After the petition is approved, the spouse may have to wait until a visa number becomes available.
There are a limited number of Green Cards for spouses of LPRs and the number is based on the individual country the petitioner is from. There may be longer waiting periods for family-sponsored visas for people from China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.
Spouses of a permanent resident generally get second preference in visas after unmarried children age 21 and older of U.S. citizens. The next family preference category (F2A) is for spouses and unmarried children under 21 of LPRs.
U.S. citizens who want to bring a foreign fiancé(e) will need a Form I-129F to get a fiancée visa. The fiancée visa provides for entry to the U.S. for a person who intends to get married within 90 days of entering the country.
Legitimate couples could be accused of marriage fraud. The USCIS actively investigates suspected marriage fraud and sham marriages. Failure to follow the laws and to provide full documentation could make you suspicious of a fraudulent marriage, and your visa application could be denied. Talk to your Los Angeles immigration attorney before filing for a Marriage Green Card to avoid any potential red flags in your visa petition.
Green Card Assistance for Married Couples in Los Angeles
The Law Offices of Victoria J. Suh have a proven record of helping clients in tough immigration situations. Whatever your immigration matter, you do not have to face it on your own. The Law Offices of Victoria J. Suh is here to help you take control of your and your family's future. Initial consultations are always free. Call us today at 213-387-2888 to learn how we can help.