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How to Legally Obtain a Green Card Through Marriage

It is well known that the easiest and quickest way to obtain a green card, or permanent resident status, is by marriage immigration, or marrying a US citizen or permanent resident. Once you are married, you can file a petition through Form I-130 along with Form G-325A, in which you outline the details to prove it is a bond fide marriage. If you petition for adjustment of status before your marriage is 2 years old, you will only get conditional permanent residency for 2 years and then be required to file additional forms and documents substantiating the continuation of your marriage.

Regarding the necessary forms, spouses of permanent residents as well as US citizens will also need to file the following:

  • Adjustment of status with Form I-485
  • Medical report
  • Affidavit of Support (prove income is at least 125% of the poverty level)
  • EAD—employment authorization document
  • Advance parole

Speak to an attorney about marriage immigration before you file any documents to ensure you have the necessary forms and information are able to get through the process swiftly and without any stumbling blocks.

Adjustment of Status Interview

Anyone who files for adjustment of status will undergo an interview, which is usually routine and designed to ensure all forms and documents are in order. But because so many people are seeking a green card through marriage and will befriend or even pay a US citizen or permanent resident solely for the purpose of marriage, USCIS officials will scrutinize the details and facts of the relationship, looking for discrepancies and inconsistencies regarding certain personal knowledge of each other.

If you are a foreign national and are thinking of marrying a US citizen or permanent resident, or have already done so, you should consult with an immigration attorney before petitioning the USCIS for a green card through marriage. Unless the official at your interview has some suspicions about the legitimacy of your marriage, you can expect routine questions and be done within 20 to 30 minutes.

Here are some facts you should know about what the USCIS requires and what you may expect at your interview:

  1. Birth and marriage certificate
  2. Photographs of the wedding
  3. A list of attendees
  4. Copies of wedding invitations
  5. Details about the wedding and the reception including who attended
  6. Proof of joint accounts—bank, credit card, real property ownership, auto registration, rental unit
  7. Possess intimate knowledge of your spouse including how and where you met, dates of birth, siblings, parents’ names, schools attended, significant life events, body markings, favorite movies and things to do, details of your home, etc.

While the interviewing officer may not ask such detailed questions, you should at least have some intimate knowledge about your spouse and review with one another details about your wedding, living arrangements and activities together. If there are discrepancies and fraud is suspected, the officer may delve into more in-depth questioning with each of you alone and out of the presence of your spouse.

If you are the spouse of a permanent resident or if you are living overseas and married a US citizen, you usually have go through consular processing in your country of origin and submit Form DS230 Part 1 along with the affidavit of support and other documents. If you lived in another country for more than 6 months, a police clearance certificate is needed from each nation.

If you married less than two years ago and you have supplied all the necessary documents and passed the interview, you will be granted a conditional green card that is valid for 2 years. Within 90 days of the expiration of the 2 years, you and your spouse need to file Form I-1751 and documents demonstrating that you have lived together during this time. You will also have to attend another interview before you are granted permanent residency.

If you have any questions about legally obtaining a green card through marriage in Pasadena or Los Angeles, contact Lee, Green, Stewart & Paul Attorneys at Law – we are happy to help.