Obtaining a Green Card via Marriage.
Marriage is one of the best ways to acquire citizenship in the US. Since the law considers the spouse a direct relative, it is a fast track to lawful permanent residency. Additionally, there are no limitations on the number of people who can obtain permanent residency by marrying a US citizen. If you wish to learn more about getting a green card through marriage, read on.
Understanding the Process.
The process is not as complicated as it may seem. The US citizen has to submit an I-130 visa petition for their spouse. If the spouse has entered the US legally, the process is simpler. But he/she will still need to file for an adjustment of status through an I-485 petition. This requirement has to be fulfilled by the foreign-born spouse without leaving the US.
Within 90 days, the spouse will receive an Employment Authorization Document. Additionally, they may also qualify for the Advance Parole Document so they can travel abroad. However, if the individual entered the US illegally, he/she will have to apply for the green card from their native country.
Even though it is an effective way to acquire permanentresidency, the individuals will still need to prove the authenticity of their marriage
. It is easier to prove if a wedding reception was held as the citizen’s relatives and family will be able to verify the communion. Moreover, the marriage can also be authenticated if the couple owns a joint property or have a child.
If the couple has been married for no more than two years, the green card will be valid for two years. Before the green card expires, the couple will need to submit an I-751 petition to extend the tenure by ten years.
Filing in the U.S vs. Consular Processing.
As mentioned earlier, if the spouse is present in the US, he/she will have to change his/her status without exiting the US. But if they live abroad, they will need to undergo consular processing. The real dilemma here is to determine which method will yield the desired results. To better understand these two options, let’s consider the following factors:
- It is faster than filing in the US, six to twelve months of processing time can be expected once the immigrant visa numbers become available.
- The foreign born spouse cannot seek advanced parole or employment whilst their application is being processed.
- A medical exam, police report and an interview at the consulate abroad is mandatory.
- The processing must be carried out in the US consular office and the National Visa Center of the country of birth.
Filing in the U.S.
- The spouse needs to be present in the US while filing the I-485.
- The individual will need to have his/her fingerprints taken at the USCIS office. A medical exam by a certified doctor in the US is mandatory for the completion of the process.
- The individual can seek work permits and advance parole while their application is being processed.
- The process can take a lot of time. An average of one to two years of processing time can be expected.
Keeping this in mind, it is worth noting the couple will need to file the petition for a green card immediately. Once the foreign-born spouse becomes a US citizen, it will be easier for him/her to upgrade the petition. But it is important to get into the line as soon as possible, as the delay will add extra time before you begin the process.
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