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How do I get a Green Card in the United States through marriage?
The green card also known as permanent residency allows the individual to live and work in the United States. It is the closest step towards a US citizenship.
I am breaking this write-up into a question answer format so that it makes it simple rather than a long drawn-out narrative.
Green Card through Marriage FAQ
1. Can I get a green card through marriage?
Yes, you can.
2. Who do I need to marry to apply for a green card?
You need to marry either a US citizen or a green card holder to attain a green card or permanent residency.
The US citizen spouse or green card spouse is called the Petitioner while the immigrant is the applicant or beneficiary.
3. Can I marry someone of the same sex?
Yes In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities, is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
4. What are the benefits of marrying someone with a US citizenship compared to marrying a green card holder?
US Citizen Spouse
1) Immediate visas available
2) If you have overstayed visa after entering legally, then it will be forgiven.
Green Card Spouse
1) May have to wait, depending on availability of visa
2) Will not be forgiven for overstay. May have to leave country, which can then result in bars to entry depending on time you have overstayed your visa.
5. What is the process if the immigrant is already in the US?
The petition I-130 will need to be filed. Once that is approved, then you will be required to file I-1485 for your adjustment of status if the immigrant is already in the US. Also, if immigrant is already inside the US, then the I-130 and the I-485 can be filed concurrently. You will also want to file a I-765 and a I-131 to be able to receive a work permit and the ability to travel outside the country if the need arises. You will also have to submit yourself to a medical exam. Once that is clear and you pass your interview at the USCIS office then you will be granted a green card.
6. What is the process if the immigrant is outside the US?
If immigrant is outside the US, then he/she will have to go through consular processing. This means that once the petitioner file the I-130 and it is approved, then it will be sent to the National Visa Center and once you jump the documentary qualification with them then it will be sent to the embassy of your country of residence where you will be asked to attend an interview. If you pass the interview, then you will receive your immigrant visa.
7. Do I need a financial sponsor?
Yes. At the time of filing, you will need to file the form I-864 which is a contractual obligation in which the financial sponsor promises to support the immigrant if the immigrant is unable to do so now or in the future. This means that if the immigrant loses a job or quits it then the immigrant can ask for your support financially and you cannot refuse it based on the contract. You can be sued in court by the immigrant to enforce this contract.
The financial sponsor can be the Petitioner or the Petitioner and another joint sponsor if the Petitioner’s income is not adequate.
The I-864 obligation ends in the following circumstances:
a) Any intending immigrant who has earned or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters (credits) of work in the United States. In addition to their own work, intending immigrants may be able to secure credit for work performed by a spouse during marriage and by their parents while the immigrants were under 18 years of age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide information on how to count quarters of work earned or credited and how to provide evidence of such.
b) If the immigrant becomes a US citizen.
c) If the immigrant or financial sponsor dies
d) If the immigrant must relinquish his permanent residency
Remember a divorce does not end the sponsorship obligation.
For assistance with green cards for your family members, please contact us at the address below or fill out the contact link for a free consultation.