Getting a greencard or being a US citizen is never going to be easy task in 2020, it was a cake walk back in 1990’s not anymore. The United States being the richest country in the planet, offers all kinds of oppurtunity for everyone irrespective of caste, creed and colour. It is what makes the United States the dream destination for many people around the globe. There are several ways of acquiring a greencard, if you ask me about the direct way; I would simply say, the DV Lottery process which happens every year. Diversity Lottery system grants greencard for about 50,000 people every year.
Applying for a green card is not a relatively easy task. However, if you are married to a United States citizen or a permanent resident in the States, you may be eligible for a United States green card status. Basically, there are two paths to apply for a green card through marriage. The first path is the “adjustment of status”. Adjustment of Status is for people who currently live in the U.S. on a temporary, non-immigrant visa. The second path is “consular processing”. Consular processing is for the people who live outside the United States. Let’s dig deep and see what it is all about.
Get Greencard Status Through Marriage
There are certain steps to be followed while applying for greencard status through marriage. We have explained each steps which has to be taken while applying for the same. Kindly follow the steps, if you fall under this category.
- Establish the marriage relationship (Form I-130)
Submitting Form I-130 (or officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the first step in the process of getting a green card through marriage. It is same for both Adjustment of Status process and Consular processing. The aim of the I-130 form, along with supporting documents, is to establish that a valid marriage exists. The I-130 application collects biographic information that confirms your relationship and eligibility to apply.
The form is long, complicated and expensive. It consists of 12 pages and costs $535 as the government filing fee.
Critical elements of a complete I-130 filing package include:
- Proof that the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen
- Proof that a legally valid marriage exists
- Proof that the marriage is not fraudulent
- A divorce document to prove the termination of a previous marriage, if any.
The USCIS will send the sponsoring spouse a Request for Evidence (RFE) within 2–3 months if it needs more documents to process the filing package.
- Apply for the green card (Form I-485 or Form DS-260)
The next step is to file the application for a green card. This is where the process differs depending on whether you live in the U.S. or outside. As mentioned earlier, there are two different paths for obtaining green card through marriage.
If the spouse seeking a green card lives inside the United States, he or she should apply for a green card through Adjustment of Status using the USCIS Form I-485 (officially known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). The I-485 is filed with USCIS, and its primary purpose is to establish that the spouse is eligible for a green card.
Critical elements of an I-485 filing package include:
- Government filing fees of $1225
- Copy of birth certificate and passport photo page as the proof of nationality of the spouse who needs a green card
- Copy of I-94 travel record and prior U.S. visa as the proof of lawful entry to the United States by the spouse who needs a green card
- Medical examination by USCIS
- Proof of the sponsoring spouse’s ability to financially support the spouse who needs a green card
However, if the spouse who seeks a green card lives abroad, the process is quite different. The next step for them is to file an application package with the National Visa Centre (NVC). The NVC gathers the necessary documents and then decides if the spouse is ready for an interview at a US embassy or a consulate in the country of the spouse’s residence.
Critical elements of an NVC filing package include:
- Government filing fees of $445.
- Green card application filed online (or Form DS-260).
- Copy of birth certificate and passport photo page as the proof of nationality of the spouse who needs a green card.
- Copy of a police clearance certificate.
- Proof of the sponsoring spouse’s ability to financially support the spouse who needs a green car
- Attend the green card interview and await approval
The green card interview is the final step in the marriage-based green card process. The interviewing officer will ensure the authenticity of the marriage – thus the applicants can expect questions based on their relationship history as well as the future plans. If the interviewing officer is convinced that the marriage is legitimate, the USCIS will approve the spouse for a green card.
I think it is time to get on to some of the most frequently asked questions on greencard status through marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to get a Green Card through marriage?
As mentioned earlier, getting a Green Card through marriage involves three important steps. The first two of those steps involve paying government filing fees. The I-130 form costs $535, which is the same for both the Adjustment of status and the Consular processing paths.
However, in the second step, it costs $1225 for Adjustment of status process. It includes $1140 for the green card application and $85 for biometrics. The consular processing path is significantly cheaper. It costs around $445. It includes $120 for the financial support form and $325 for the State Department processing fee.
Make sure to check the USCIS and Department of State websites for the most current fees.
What are the income requirements for a marriage visa?
For an applicant to be eligible for a marriage-based green card, he or she must have a sponsoring spouse who certifies in an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) that their annual income is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (100% for military sponsors).
I hope you all loved reading the article, if you are still having any doubts regarding the process. Kindly use the comment section. We will try to solve all queries as soon as possible. Subscribe to our mail box for getting latest updates on US Greencard and other immigration related news.