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Published On: Thu, Apr 22nd, 2021

How to apply for a marriage-based green card?

A marriage-based green card is your best option if you plan on settling down in the United States with your partner/spouse. If permanent citizenship is on your mind, family-based immigration will help you with it. Before you apply for it, research well. Here are a few steps that you have to follow to get a green card.

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Submit Form I-130

It is the petition for Alien Relative that you must submit before applying for the green card. In the case of a marriage-based green card, establishing the marriage relationship is crucial. It is an important procedure of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Not just the form, you must be able to produce a number of other documents as well. 

All of these will then be considered as proof of a valid marriage relationship between you and your spouse. The spouse who is already a green card holder will be able to fill out the form for their partners. They are called “petitioners.” There are conditions related to filling an I- 130 form –

  • Marriage claims cannot be fraudulent, or you will lose the right to apply.
  • A $535 fee for filling up the form to be paid to the government.
  • The petitioner has to be a U.S. citizen. You might have to produce naturalization and birth certificates. 
  • The marriage has to be legally binding. 
  • If there has been a marriage earlier, proof of its termination has to be produced as well.

Eligibility of the spouse

If the applicant is already living in the United States, they have to file a  Form I -485. This is also termed as the ‘Adjustment of Status’ application. Once this form is filed, the government will let you know if your spouse is eligible for the green card or not. 

In the case of spouses whose partners are already U.S. citizens, the I- 130 form along with the I- 485 can be filed together to get their green card within eleven months of application. For those whose spouses are green card holders, a green card has to be available in the visa bulletin. 

This takes around a year and a half. Only after this can the I -485 form be filled. The time depends on the home country of the partner or applicant that is seeking the card. On completion of this, it will take another nine to eleven months till the card arrives. 

The conditions for the I- 485 form are as follows – 

  • A government fee of $1225 is the foremost step for the application.
  • The applicant has to keep proof of their nationality ready to be submitted in the form of birth certificates or other viable documents.
  • Proper documents to be submitted that prove the lawful entrance of the applicant to the United States. 
  • A medical examination is also required before one can fill out the I- 485 form. 
  • The petitioner has to be able to support the applicant financially throughout their stay, and this is why their income proof is an important document in the process. 

Author: Arina Coleman

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