Marriage-Based Green Card
Securing permanent residency in the U.S. is a significant milestone in one’s life, and one of the most common avenues to achieve this is through the marriage-based green card. If you find yourself in a loving and committed relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, this option could be the key to making your American dream a reality.
At Heckler Law Group, we are not just your legal advocates; we are your partners in this life-changing journey. With a wealth of experience, we specialize in guiding our clients through the intricate process of obtaining a marriage-based green card, all while excellently navigating potential roadblocks to minimize the risk of delays and denials.
Eligibility for a Marriage-Based Green Card
Before delving into the process, it’s crucial to understand the eligibility criteria. First and foremost, you must be married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Equally significant is the requirement to prove that your marriage is genuine, founded on love and commitment, rather than being solely orchestrated to secure immigration benefits—a bona fide relationship is the cornerstone of your application.
The Path to a Marriage-Based Green Card: Step by Step
Let’s break down the journey to obtaining a marriage-based green card into its essential components:
Your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse plays a pivotal role in this process. They must initiate the journey by filing an immigrant petition on your behalf. This petition serves as the bedrock upon which your relationship as a married couple is established in the eyes of immigration authorities.
For foreign nationals married to U.S. citizens, the classification is “immediate relatives.” This designation brings a significant advantage—once the immigrant petition is approved, a visa immediately becomes available for the foreign national. It’s a vital step towards realizing your permanent residency.
However, the scenario is slightly different for those married to U.S. lawful permanent residents. This category falls under the “preference category.” Family preference categories come with annual numerical limits, potentially resulting in waiting periods before a visa becomes available. Therefore, the processing time for these cases is influenced by the availability of visas.
The exact steps in the process pivot on your current residence status—whether you are already in the U.S. or are residing outside the country.
Applicants in the U.S. – Adjustment of Status
If you are a foreign national married to a U.S. citizen and are currently residing in the U.S., you have the opportunity to concurrently file an application to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident. This application is filed alongside the petition submitted by your U.S. citizen spouse.
However, for foreign nationals married to U.S. permanent residents, the adjustment of status to permanent resident is only possible when a visa becomes available. This may happen simultaneously with the filing of the immigrant petition or at a later date. To be eligible for this adjustment, foreign nationals must maintain a legal non-immigrant status while in the U.S.
In conjunction with the adjustment of status application, you can also submit applications for temporary work authorization and advance parole (permission to travel). Before these applications are processed, foreign nationals will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center, where fingerprints and a photograph are taken.
Green Card Interview: Verifying the Authenticity of Your Marriage
Before granting final approval for the foreign national’s green card, a crucial interview may be scheduled at a USCIS office. This interview is attended by both parties—the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse and the foreign national applicant. The primary aim of this interview is to ensure the authenticity of the marriage, confirming that it is indeed a bona fide union.
Applicants Outside of the U.S. – Consular Processing
For those foreign nationals married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who find themselves outside the U.S., the post-approval phase of the green card process unfolds through the National Visa Center. During this stage, you’ll be preparing for an immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in your home country.
However, for spouses of U.S. lawful permanent residents, the consular processing phase begins upon the availability of a visa.
Commence Your Green Card Application: Your American Dream Awaits
If you find yourself concerned about your immigration status or that of your spouse, there’s no need to carry that burden alone. Seek legal guidance and let Heckler Law Group be your partner on this transformative journey.
Contact us today to schedule your case evaluation and receive not only excellent legal representation but also compassionate support. Your path to permanent U.S. residency is a step away, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. Your American dream awaits—let’s make it a reality together!