Marriage Green Card Guide

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Marriage Green Card

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Marriage Green Card

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may qualify for a marriage-based green card.

What is a Marriage Green Card?

If you are a non-U.S. citizen married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you can apply for a marriage green card to live and work in the U.S. region permanently. A marriage green card will also make you eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of possession.

What are the Legal Requirements for Applying for a Marriage Green Card?

To apply for a marriage requirement, you must have a legal marriage certificate or license to meet the legal requirement to apply for a marriage green card. 

You can obtain your marriage license at the City Hall or the county clerk’s office with a $100 certificate fee.

Application Process

Before you file for your application for the marriage green card, make sure you are legally married to a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident and have documents to support the legitimacy of your marriage. 

Next, you will file your form I-130 and I-485, the Adjustment of Status document to the USCIS, attend the green card interview, and wait for the USCIS’s response to your application. 

Required Documents

1. Proof of Sponsor eligibility

For U.S. Citizenship: 

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    Note: A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain requirements are met. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240) is a document that certifies a child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth. You can refer to details listed on Travel.state.gov.

For Permanent Resident (green card holder):

  • Green card (permanent resident card)
  • Passport issued in another country and bearing stamp or temporary permanent residency in the United States

2. Proof of valid marriage 

  • Marriage certificate
  • Joint leases 
  • Joint bank account statements
  • Photos of you together
  • Letters from friends and relatives proving your relationship

3. Proof of termination of prior marriage(s) (if applicable)

Any of the below can serve as the proof varying by situations: 

  • a divorce decree
  • a death certificate of the other spouse
  • a certificate of annulment

4. Proof of an official name change (if applicable)

Any of the below can serve as proof:  

  • a marriage certificate
  • a court order of name change
  • adoption papers

5. Petitioner’s passport photos*2: 

Every sponsor (petitioner) needs to provide 2 passport-style photos (2 inches by 2 inches) with their Form I-130 petition. These photos are apart from any other application requirements you may be filing at the same time as Form I-130.

How Much Does a Marriage Green Card Cost?

The fee for a marriage green card varies based on where the applicant currently resides. For applicants who currently live in the U.S. the fee for their marriage green card is $1,760; While the fee for a marriage green card for applicants applying from outside of the U.S. is $1,200. 

An initial break-down of the fees being charged in details:

Note: The DS-260, officially called “immigrant visa application, ” is for those applying outside the United States. The applicant needs to file the DS-260 online form, which is handled through the National Visa Center (NVC) and the applicant-designated, local U.S. embassy, or consulate.

DS-261, "Online Choice of Address and Agent,” is a relatively simple form that informs the State Department how to communicate with you during your application.

Application Timeline

1. Submit the application form: I-130, I-485/DS-260 for green card application

  • I-130: Petition for Alien Relatives 
  • I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • DS-260: Online Immigrant Visa Forms
  • DS-261: Online Choice of Address and Agent
  • Form I-864: Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA
  • Form I-944: Declaration of Self Sufficiency (A new form imposed on February 24, 2020, due to USCIS' new Public Charge Rule)

2. Receive USCIS Receipt Notice (Form I-797)

You’ll receive a notice from the USCIS letting you know they have received your application. It will have the serial number for your case, which you can then use to check your application status. 

3. Receive Biometrics Appointment Notice 

You will receive a notification from the USCIS informing you of the time, date, and location of your biometrics appointment. 

4. The Applicant Attends the Biometrics Appointment

You will attend the biometric appointment at the designated time and date at the appointed USCIS Application Support Center. During which the USCIS will collect your fingerprint, photograph, signatures, etc. 

5. Interview Notice Arrives for the Sponsor and Applicant

After your biometrics appointment, you will receive the interview notice from the USCIS informing you of the date, time, and location of your interview, and also the documents you need to bring with you for the interview. 

6. The Sponsor and Applicant Attends the Green Card Interview

You and your sponsor (spouse) will then both attend the green card interview at the scheduled time and date at the designated location. Have all documents requested with you.

This is a process for the USCIS officer to verify the information you have provided and to also verify that you are in good standing. 

7. Complete the application and receive the Green Card

If you are approved, you will receive your green card after around 7 to 10 months (this is an estimated time and may vary depending on your location and status) 

According to where you currently reside and the status of your spouse, below is a rough estimate of the time it’ll take to process your application.  

Track Case Status and Processing Time

To track your case status, you can do it: 

1. Online

If you currently reside in the U.S., you can check your case status via USCIS’s website with the receipt number that came with the Receipt Notice.

If you currently reside outside of the U.S., you can check your case status via NVC’s “Consular Electronic Application Center” (CEAC) website with your Immigration Visa Case Number. 

2. By email

This option is only available if you applied from outside of the U.S. You can request your application status update through the NVC’s questionnaire that will ask for your NVC case number or USCIS receipt number, your name, your employer or sponsoring relative’s name, and your birthdate; after filling out the questionnaire, you will receive a response in your email. 

3. By phone

If you are in the U.S., call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. If you have hearing/speech impairment, call TTY at 1-800-767-1833. Make sure to have your A-Number, USCIS Receipt Number available during the call. 

If you are outside of the U.S., please check the NVC website for the agency’s most current hours of operation. You can reach the NVC at +1-603-334-0700 during the agency’s hours of operation. The waiting time can be longer than 30 minutes during times with high call volumes. Make sure to have your NVC case number or USCIS receipt number ready at the time of your call. 

4. By mail

USCIS will send out official notifications regarding your case, so make sure your mailing address is correct and reachable.

5. In-person

If you are looking for additional information or answers to more specific and complex questions regarding the pending green card application status, it is recommended that you apply for “InfoPass” appointments with a USCIS field office to talk to a USCIS in person. However, this process can be more complicated than the aforementioned options. 

If you are applying from outside of the U.S., you can still apply for “InfoPass” under certain situations through the USCIS InfoPass Website.

What’s next

Depending on the physical location of the spouse and the financial sponsor, waiting times for the Marriage Green Card may differ. For example, the total waiting and processing time for an applicant who is married to a U.S. Citizen and are both physically present in the U.S. is approximately 10-13 months. However, if the spouse is abroad during the time of filing, the waiting time can take up to 17 months. In other words, the process moves faster when both the spouse and the financial sponsor are located in the United States as they wait for their green card in the mail.

The processing time is also heavily dependent on the filing of the I-485, which establishes the basis for a Biometrics appointment and then an interview with the spouse and financial sponsor. These timelines are incorporated in the Adjustment of Status Guide.

FAQs
Questions? We answered some of your most frequently asked questions.

How do I apply for a green card for my spouse?

How long is the waiting time before I apply for a green card for my spouse?

What documents will I need to submit to get a marriage-based green card?

When will the interview be scheduled?

What will take place during the interview?

What happens if my marriage-based green card is denied?

How do I prove my marriage is “bona fide”?

Can I work in the U.S. while waiting for my green card?

Where can I receive the latest information about the government legislation updates regarding green card applications?

How much does it cost to get a green card?

What are the income requirements for a marriage visa?

What if my alien fiancé wants to come to the U.S. to get married? Which visa should he/she apply for?

Marriage Green Card

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may qualify for a marriage-based green card.

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