If you are not from the United States but are married to a U.S. citizen, you can be eligible for a Green Card. This can be a complicated process, so it’s essential to make sure you take the correct steps and complete the requirements to become a permanent resident of the U.S.
Marriage Green Card: What Is It?
A Marriage Green Card allows you to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident. This means you don’t have to worry about losing your visa and being sent back to your home country – being torn from your spouse and children.
Issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Marriage Green Card can be your first step to becoming a U.S. citizen. For most individuals, when you get your card, it is conditional and expires in two years.
The amount of time you’ve been married can factor into how often your Marriage Green Card needs to be renewed. If you have been married for more than two years before applying for a Green Card, you can receive the IR1 Green Card, which can last for 10 years. If you have been married for less than two years when you apply, then you will receive a CR1 Green Card. This is a Conditional Green Card. After two years, you can renew it and get the 10-year Green Card.
Who Is Eligible for a Marriage Green Card?
When applying for a Marriage Green Card, it’s essential to work with your immigration attorney to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements.
You will need to prove:
- Your marriage is legal: First and foremost, you need to provide documentation that shows your marriage is recognized by the U.S. government. You will need to show your marriage certificate.
- You are married to a U.S. citizen: To get a Green Card, you will need to also prove that your spouse is a legal U.S. citizen. You will need to provide your spouse’s birth certificate, U.S. passport, or naturalization certificate.
- You are married to a U.S. Green Card holder: If you are married to a permanent resident, you are still eligible to apply for a Green Card. However, you must show a copy of your spouse’s Green Card during the application process.
- You are not currently married to anyone else: If you had a previous marriage, you will need to provide paperwork to prove you are divorced or show a death certificate if your previous spouse is deceased.
- Your marriage is real: In addition to providing legal proof of your marriage, you also need to show USCIS that you are living as spouses and are working to build a life together. You might be asked to show a lease or mortgage with both names on it, or other utility bills that show you are living together and functioning as a couple.
Applying for a Marriage Green Card
To apply for a Marriage Green Card, you should first hire an immigration attorney. Your lawyer can then help you navigate the process.
Typically, you will need to do the following:
- Submit Forms I-130 and I-130A. You may be asked to provide additional documents to include with this form.
- Apply for a Green Card. You can do this by submitting Form I-485 or Form DS-260 depending on whether you will be adjusting status from within the U.S.
- Finally, you can work with your immigration attorney to prepare for an interview.
After completing these steps, you should receive your Green Card.
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