Ep. 28 What is the marriage based green card process for persons already in the U.S. and entered legally?

  • This process is only for somebody who entered the US legally
  • It is important that both parties are free to marry. A divorce proceedings pending in the foreign country is going to be a problem. Immigration service might not recognize the marriage
  • After the marriage takes place a number of paperwork will be filed along with supporting documents
  • After two years there will be another application that requires the removal of conditions on the green card

Raw Transcript:

Jacob: Hello everybody, welcome to another episode of Ask An Immigration Lawyer. And this question comes from Tina. This is, again, a very common question that we get asked a lot and the question is I am in the United States legally, I came here as a visitor and now I’m about to marry my US citizen boyfriend. How can I get a green card and what are the steps?

Well, as long as you entered the United States legally whether it’s in a tourist visa or student visa or any other visa and then you marry United States citizen you are able to, what is called, Adjust Your Status inside United States and eventually get the green card.

The process is fairly straightforward. First of all it’s important that both parties, the US citizen and the foreign national, are free to marry. For example if there’s divorce proceedings are pending in the foreign country and it’s not final yet it’s going to be a problem in the future because the immigration service may not recognize the marriage and everything that will happen is not going to be valid. So it’s very important to have both parties free to marry.

Once the marriage takes place inside United States, a civil marriage, that’s always required, then the paperwork may be filed. The paperwork consist of an I-130 form which is the marriage petition and I-145 which is the adjustment of status and I-765 application for work permit and I-131, application for travel permit, and the I-864 application for affidavit of support. So these are the main forms in a nutshell.

In addition to that there are supporting documents like birth certificates, medical exams, biographical information, ID copy, copies of ID. All these documents and forms should be prepared and submitted and then filed with the US immigration office, central office. And once they are filed if the immigrant enter the United States as a visitor, for example, as a tourist on a known immigrant visa then they are not supposed to be travelling outside of United States for at least two to three months until travel permits are obtained.

So once the case is filed within 30 days of the filing a fingerprints appointment will be setup and about three months after filing the permits and travel documents will be sent. And then most cases interviews are scheduled within about four months after filing and so … Once the interview is setup couple will attend the interview and if everything goes well, questions are answered correctly, there are no other issues, the green card will be mailed within two weeks.

In most cases it is a condition on green card because the couple usually are not married for more than two years and after two years there is another application that requires the removal of conditions.

So this is, in a nutshell, the process of filing for a green card for somebody who enter the US legally and then married a US citizen.

Hopefully this information was helpful. Once again we remind you that our answers here are provided as a service to you, the listeners. This is not an attorney-client relationship and you should not rely on the information we provide here because immigration law change very, very often. But, still, feel free to send us your questions. We’ll answer them as best as we can.

You ask, we answer, simple. Thanks a lot and we’ll see you at our next episode.