A marriage green card allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to live and work anywhere in the United States. A green card holder will have “permanent resident” status until they decide — if they wish — to apply for U.S citizenship, for which they become eligible after three years.
Getting a green card through marriage is generally a three-step process:
1. Establish the marriage relationship (Form I-130).
2. Apply for the green card (Form I-485).
3. Attend the green card interview and await approval.
This guide will walk you through each step, with more detailed information along the way.
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Step 1: Establishing the marriage relationship (Form I-130)
The first step in the process of getting a green card through marriage is to submit Form I-130 (officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The main purpose of the I-130 form, along with supporting documents, is to establish that a valid marriage exists.The spouse filing the I-130 is called the “petitioner” or “sponsor.” This is the spouse who is a U.S. citizen or current green card holder.
The spouse seeking a green card is called the “beneficiary” or “green card applicant.”
Step 2: Establishing the spouse’s eligibility for a green card
The U.S. government follows two different processes to determine a spouse’s eligibility for a marriage-based green card. The right process depends on where that spouse currently lives:
FOR GREEN CARD APPLICANTS LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES
If the spouse seeking a green card physically lives in the United States, the next step is to file Form I-485 (officially called the “Adjustment of Status” application). The I-485 is filed with USCIS, and its primary purpose is to establish that the spouse is eligible for a green card.
Step 3: Attending the green card interview and awaiting approval
The final step in the marriage-based green card process is the green card interview. The interviewing officer’s primary goal is to assess the authenticity of the marriage. Questions can focus on the couple’s relationship history, as well as their daily activities and future plans together. If the interviewing officer is sufficiently convinced that the marriage is not fraudulent, they will approve the spouse for a green card.
The location of the interview — in addition to whether the sponsoring spouse must also attend — depends on where the spouse seeking a green card currently lives:
DOES YOUR SPOUSE LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES?
A spouse applying for a green card from within the United States will attend their interview with the sponsoring spouse at their local USCIS office. The physical green card will typically arrive by mail within 2-3 weeks of case approval.
DOES YOUR SPOUSE LIVE ABROAD?
A spouse applying for a green card from abroad will attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The sponsoring spouse does not attend this interview.
The spouse seeking a green card will then receive a visa stamp in their passport, allowing for travel to the United States. The USCIS Immigrant Fee ($220) must be paid online before a physical green card can be issued. (USCIS recommends paying this fee before the spouse leaves for the United States.) The green card is typically mailed to the couple’s U.S. address within 2-3 weeks of the spouse’s arrival.
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If you are a spouse applying for a green card from within the United States, your complete Greenbroad filing package will include all of the following forms that you’ll need to work, travel, and ultimately obtain your green card:
- Marriage relationship form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative
- Supplemental information form I-130A - Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
- Green card application form I-485 - Application for Adjustment of Status
- Financial support form I-864 - Affidavit of Support for Sponsoring Spouse
- Work permit application form I-765 - Application for Employment Authorization
- Travel permit application form I-131 - Application for Travel Document
- Online notification application G-1145 - e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
- Medical examination form I-693 - Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
If you are a spouse applying for a green card from abroad, your initial Greenbroad filing package for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will include all of the following required forms:
Marriage relationship form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative
Supplemental information form I-130A - Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
Online notification application G-1145 - e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
To get a marriage-based green card (both you and the spouse are located within the US), the following forms must be filed and submitted:
I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative
I-130A - Supplemental Information
I-485 - Application to Register Permanent Residence
I-1864 - Affidavit of Support
I-693 - Report of Medical Test and Vaccination Record
I-765 - Application for Employment Authorization
I-131 - Application for Travel Document
I-944 - Declaration of Self-Sufficiency
Form I-130 (officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”), is used to verify that a valid marriage exists between you and your spouse. The petitioner or sponsor of the application must be a citizen or permanent resident in the U.S.
This form is used by the USCIS to collect additional background information about the beneficiary spouse. The questions in the I-130A are based on the past five years of the beneficiary spouse’s employment and residential history. It must be filled out, signed, and submitted. The I-130A is filed and submitted with the I-130.
If the beneficiary spouse is in the U.S. on a different immigrant status, he/she will need to file an I-485 form to the USCIS to prove that, by virtue of the valid marriage between the applicant and permanent resident/citizen spouse, they have met the eligibility requirements to adjust their status to become a permanent resident in the U.S. The I-485 form contains several background-check questions. The I-130, 130A, and 485 forms can be filed at the same time by applicants who live in the U.S.
This is a form demonstrating agreement between the green card sponsor spouse and the U.S. government. It is an affidavit showing that he/she has income and/or assets that is enough to take care of their beneficiary spouse. This is done to assure the government that the spouse will not end up being a public charge after gaining a permanent residency.
According to the federal immigration law, there are four categories of health-related grounds of inadmissibility, which are:
The USCIS requires all beneficiaries to undergo a medical examination which can only be performed by a USCIS-designated physician. After the examination, the examining doctor will give the applicant the test results in a sealed envelope on the I-693, which is to be submitted at during the green card interview. The USCIS will not accept the result if the envelope is opened.
This form is filed with the USCIS to get a temporary work authorization while waiting for the Form I-485 to be approved, which in some cases may take six to eight months. However, though this form is not compulsory in the application process since it comes free of charge and takes about 90 days to be approved, it is usually advisable to take advantage of it while the application for permanent residence is pending. If approved, the applicant will have temporary authorization while waiting for their green card approval.
If the applicant has to travel out of the U.S. while their I-485 is yet to be approved, the USCIS may consider their application abandoned, which means they will have to restart the whole process from the beginning. To avoid this, the applicant can file an I-131 along with the marriage-based green card application to have the ability to travel abroad while their green card application is pending. This is another optional form, and just like I-765, it also does not carry a fee.
Meanwhile, if the applicant has to travel abroad on an urgent basis, they don’t need to wait for their I-131 to be approved before they leave. The approved document can be forwarded to the designated U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for them to pick it up.
Green Card is the official name for the permit allowing immigrants to permanently live and work in the United States of America. It is also known as Lawful Permanent Resident Card. Those who have a Green Card are allowed to immigrate to the USA and stay there for as long as they want. That means that anyone who would like to permanently live and work in the USA requires a Green Card. A person with a nonimmigrant visa is dependent on their job or the purpose of their stay in the USA, but a Green Card differs in that it gives the holder total freedom. Green Card holders can choose their place of work or where they want to live in the USA without limits and for however long they want.
A marriage green card allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to live and work anywhere in the United States. A green card holder will have “permanent resident” status until they decide if theywish to apply for U.S citizenship, for which they become eligible after three years.
Update - Proposed fees for US citizenship applications would increase by more than 80% and by 56% for marriage-based green cards post Nov 2019.
Introduction – there are multiple pathways to permanent residency status in the US, one of them is through “green card marriage” in which spouses of legal US residents are entitled to permanent resident status as well. A marriage green card is a Lawful Permanent Resident Card (the formal title of the green card) that is obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.Unlike the F1 and H1B visa, the permanent resident status with a green card is not dependent on the job or reason for entering the country. There is no limit on the duration of the stay in the U.S for the green card holders. They can travel freely and live at place of their choice in the US.
Process for applying for green card through marriage–
A breakdown of steps involved in the marriage green card process is presented below-
Submit I-130 – First, to make the marriage legal and legitimate, a form I-30 has to be submitted by the spouse who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, to the USCIS. This form provides proof of the marriage to immigration officials. The spouse filing the form can be described as “Petitioner” or “sponsor”. The other spouse is the “beneficiary” or the “green card applicant”.
The following information has to be provided on the Form I-30 submission by the petitioner-
Establishing Spouse Eligibility –Once the form I-30 is completed, it has to be submitted to USCIS by the sponsor along with the required documents and fees. A notice is sent by the USCIS to the sponsor upon their receipt of the application packet within 2 weeks.
If more information or documents are needed by the USCIS to complete the filing package, they send a Request For Evidence within 2-3 months to the sponsor. The sponsor will then get notice of approval or denial of their application within 7-15 months, depending on the circumstances.
For spouses applying within US, the next step is to complete an I-485 (Adjustment of Status application) form. This establishes the green card eligibility of the spouse.
I-485 Application packet must include the following:
If the sponsor is a U.S. citizen, they can concurrently file the Form I-485 with the Form I-130. Processing a concurrent application typically takes 9-11 months.
Sponsors with a green card, on the other hand, must file these forms separately. These applications can have a one and a half year wait time due to the visa cap, and, after being submitted, can take another 9-11 months to process.
If the spouse of the sponsor lives abroad, there is a different process.Application packages must be submitted to the National Visa Center (NVC), andthe green card interview takes place at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Spouses living abroad must submit the following:
The documents required for a marriage green card differs from the situation but generally include the following:
As you may already know, applying to immigrate to the United States requires a medical examination with a USCIS certified doctor. To learn more about this medical examination and it’s Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
Part of the medical examination requires doctors to check that you are up-to-date on all vaccinations designated as mandatory by USCIS and CDC. This article provides information about the basic vaccination requirements for those hoping to immigrate to the United States as well as describes what actions are required to opt-out of these requirements. For further information on vaccination requirements, check out some of the FAQ’s on the USCIS website.
Under US immigration law, all immigrants, including those seeking permanent resident status, are required to receive vaccinations to prevent the following diseases:
Any other vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices:
You should bring the following items with you:
During your appointment, the civil surgeon or panel physician will review your vaccination history with you to determine whether or not you have received all of the required vaccinations. This is why it is so important to remember to bring an official record of your vaccination history with you to your appointment. The results of this evaluation will be recorded on your Form I-693.If you are up to date on the required vaccines, no additional vaccines will be required at the time of the medical exam.
If you are not up-to-date on all of the required vaccinations, don’t worry! The civil surgeon or panel physician can often provide them and can help you determine which ones are appropriate. You also have the option to ask your family doctor to administer the required vaccines to you after your evaluation. If you choose the latter option, you will need to show the records of these vaccinations to the civil surgeon or panel physician to note on Form I-693.
Additionally, some of the required vaccine series require months to years to complete. This can make it difficult for applicants to receive all required vaccinations prior to adjustment of status or immigration. For many of these USCIS only requires that you have at least one dose of each age-appropriate vaccination listed as mandatory.
Some people may not be able to get vaccinated — or may need to wait.The day of your appointment, tell your doctor if you: