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Getting A Green Card Through Marriage

Marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can make you eligible for a Green Card. This iconic identification card demonstrates your status as a lawful permanent resident in your own right, making you eligible to work and live in the U.S. permanently, and to potentially sponsor other family members for immigration.

The process of getting a Green Card through marriage is not as simple as it might seem, unfortunately. You will need to prove that your marriage is based on a genuine relationship and not entered into solely for immigration benefits. This can often be a challenging task. In addition, if you have been married for two years or less, your status may be conditional, and you will need to take certain legal steps to make it permanent.

The team at Odunlami Law can help you succeed in obtaining a Green Card through marriage. We understand the difficulties people often encounter in the immigration process because we have all experienced these challenges ourselves. We want to help you succeed on your immigration journey just as we are enjoying the fulfillment of our own goals.

Demonstrating that Your Marriage is “Bona Fide”

Regardless of whether you are inside or outside the U.S. and whether your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident, you will need to present evidence to prove the authenticity of your marriage.

This will include the marriage certificate and proof of identity, but you will also need evidence to prove that the marriage is “bona fide” and that the two of you intend to build a life together. Some ways to demonstrate this could include evidence of combined financial interests such as a bank account statement with both names on it or the title to a vehicle with both names included. 

Immigration authorities expect married couples to live together, so proof of shared residence is also essential. This might include a lease or utility bill with both names. Or if both spouses have the same address on their driver’s licenses or other documents—even letters from family members or employers—that can help satisfy the requirement. If spouses do not live together, they need to prepare a letter providing a very good reason for the separate living arrangements. Our team can help you prepare evidence to demonstrate the validity of your marriage regardless of the circumstances.  

If You are Married to a U.S. Citizen

When your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you are considered an “immediate relative” by immigration standards. That puts you in the top priority category to receive lawful permanent residence and get a Green Card.

Your spouse will need to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This document will need to include evidence to demonstrate the validity of the marriage. If you are already in the U.S., you can apply to adjust your status to permanent resident by filing Form I-485 at the same time as your petition is filed. This is known as concurrent filing.

If you are located outside the U.S., you must wait for the immigration petition to be approved, and then the materials will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your area for consular processing.

If You are Married to a Lawful Permanent Resident

Your eligibility for a Green Card is based on the availability of a permanent visa if your spouse is a lawful permanent resident rather than a citizen. You are considered to be in Family Preference Category F2A. Depending on your country of origin, you may have to wait some time for a visa to become available.

Your spouse will file a Petition for Alien Relative with the supporting documentation discussed above, and once the petition is approved, then when a visa becomes available, you can complete the process of applying for your Green Card.

If You are Engaged to a U.S. Citizen

If you’re planning to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States, you can apply for a K-1 fiancé visa that will allow you to enter the U.S. for the wedding. The visa is valid for up to 90 days, so you must get married within that time frame. Once you are married, then you will be an immediate relative eligible for permanent resident status without the need to wait for a visa. But your permanent residence will be conditional and only valid for two years. Before it expires, you will need to file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence to receive full permanent resident status.

Odunlami Law Helps with Marriage-Based Green Cards

U.S. immigration procedures can be confusing and frustrating. Mistakes can delay approval or—worse—lead to a denial. But we can help avoid common pitfalls and prevent mistakes.

At Odunlami Law, our goal is to help you succeed in reaching your goals. We have decades of experience helping individuals and families all around the country gain permanent residence, citizenship, and other objectives. Talk to us now and find out how we can help. 

Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and get your case started today.
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