Marriage-based green card 2024

Obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a common pathway to lawful permanent residency in the United States. Here’s a guide to the marriage-based green card process in 2024:

1. Determine Eligibility

  • Valid Marriage: The marriage must be legally recognized in the jurisdiction where it took place and must not be fraudulent.
  • U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency: The sponsoring spouse must be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

2. Choose the Appropriate Petition

  • Form I-130: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the relationship between the petitioner and the foreign spouse.
  • Form I-129F (Optional): If the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse resides outside the U.S., the couple may also file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien FiancĂ©(e), to bring the foreign spouse to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancĂ©(e) visa.

3. Gather Required Documents

  • Form I-130: Documentation proving the validity of the marriage, such as marriage certificate, joint financial documents, photographs together, and affidavits from friends and family.
  • Form I-485: If the foreign spouse is in the U.S., they may concurrently file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with Form I-130.

4. Submit Forms and Fees

  • Filing Fees: Pay the required filing fees for each form filed. Fee waivers may be available for certain applicants.
  • Submission: Submit the forms and supporting documents to USCIS by mail or online, following the instructions provided in the form instructions and USCIS website.

5. Attend Biometrics Appointment

  • Biometrics: USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for the foreign spouse to provide fingerprints, photographs, and a signature for background checks.

6. Attend Interview (if applicable)

  • Interview: USCIS may schedule an interview to assess the validity of the marriage and eligibility for the green card. Both spouses should attend the interview and bring original documents as requested.

7. Receive Decision

  • Approval: If the marriage-based green card application is approved, the foreign spouse will receive a conditional or permanent green card, depending on the length of the marriage at the time of approval.
  • Request for Evidence (RFE): If additional evidence is needed, USCIS will issue an RFE outlining the required documentation or information.
  • Denial: If the application is denied, USCIS will provide reasons for the denial, and the couple may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply, depending on the circumstances.

8. Removal of Conditions (if applicable)

  • Conditional Green Card: If the foreign spouse receives a conditional green card (valid for two years), the couple must jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within the 90-day window before the card expires.

Note:

  • Consult Legal Counsel: The marriage-based green card process can be complex, and legal advice from an immigration attorney may be beneficial, especially in cases involving complications such as prior immigration violations, criminal history, or marriage fraud allegations.
  • Stay Informed: USCIS processing times, requirements, and procedures may change, so it’s essential to regularly check the USCIS website for updates and follow any instructions provided by USCIS throughout the application process.

By following these steps and meeting all requirements, eligible couples can navigate the marriage-based green card process and pursue lawful permanent residency in the United States.

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