Explaining Marriage-Based Green Cards: Your Top FAQs Addressed
If it’s time to figure out how to get your marriage-based green card in the U.S., know that this journey can be both exciting and complex. It’s a path that leads to permanent residency, enabling couples to build a life together in the land of opportunity. However, it’s not without its questions and uncertainties.
In this guide, we’ll dive into some of the most common questions regarding the marriage-based green card, providing you with clarity and guidance.
What Is a Marriage-Based Green Card?
A marriage-based green card, officially known as a “spousal visa” or “IR-1/CR-1 visa,” is a legal document that grants permanent residency to the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It’s a crucial step for couples intending to live together in the U.S. without the limitations of a temporary visa.
Who Is Eligible for a Marriage-Based Green Card?
To be eligible for a marriage-based green card, you must be married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. However, simply being married is not enough; you must also prove that your marriage is genuine and not a sham to obtain immigration benefits.
How Do I Apply for a Marriage-Based Green Card?
The application process involves multiple steps:
- Your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse files an immigrant petition (Form I-130) on your behalf.
- If you’re in the U.S., you may be able to file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) concurrently.
- If you’re outside the U.S., the process typically involves consular processing at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?
The processing time varies based on several factors, including your location, the type of application, and government processing times. On average, it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months or more to receive a green card through marriage.
What Documents Do I Need to Submit?
When applying for a marriage-based green card, you’ll need to provide various documents, including marriage certificates, financial records, and evidence of the genuine nature of your relationship. It’s crucial to follow the specific document requirements outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Can I Work While My Green Card Application Is Pending?
If you are in the U.S. and are eligible to file an application for adjustment of status, you can apply for a work permit (employment authorization document or EAD) concurrently with your application. This allows you to work legally in the U.S. while your application is being processed.
What Happens After I Receive My Green Card?
Once you’re granted a marriage-based green card, you’ll have the right to live and work in the U.S. permanently. After a certain period (usually two years), you can apply for a 10-year green card, and eventually, you may be eligible for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process.
What If My Marriage Ends in Divorce?
If your marriage ends in divorce before you obtain a 10-year green card, you may face challenges. However, it’s still possible to retain your green card if you can demonstrate that the marriage was entered into in good faith. Seek legal guidance to navigate this situation.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Process?
While it’s not required to have an attorney, many individuals find it beneficial to have legal representation, especially if they encounter complications or have concerns about their application. An experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process efficiently and address any issues that may arise.
Begin Your Green Card Process
Obtaining a marriage-based green card can be a life-changing experience. It allows couples to build a future together in the U.S. However, the process can be complex.
If you have more questions or need assistance with your marriage-based green card application, don’t hesitate to reach out to legal professionals who specialize in immigration matters. Your dreams are within reach, and with the right guidance, you can navigate the path to permanent residency with confidence.
Contact Heckler Law Group for a free case evaluation so you can complete your green card process in the most efficient way possible.