How Do I Get a Green Card Through Marriage?

Finding true love rarely happens within the few blocks of your neighborhood. Globalization and media and technology advancements have allowed for people to make intimate connections with others from all around the world. Some might just find their soulmate on another continent.

Finding your love should be the hard part, but now you’re met with the decision of whose home country to reside in, and how to do so. If you and your partner are going to settle down in the United States, your spouse will have to apply for a green card.

What Is the Application Process for a Green Card?

To get a marriage green card, the couple endures three steps:

  • File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: In this step, the couple proves the legality and length of their marriage through the provision of documents that establish the authenticity of their marriage, including joint documents and photos together.
  • File Form I-485, Adjustment of Status or DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application: In this step, the couple completes one of these forms based on whether the non-American partner is currently residing inside the United States (I-485) or abroad (DS-260) to determine eligibility for a green card.
  • Attend and pass the interview: Finally, the couple meets with an interviewing officer to answer questions intended to prove that the marriage is real.

After completing these steps and getting approval, you receive one of two green cards based on the length of your marriageat the time of approval. The two green cards are:

  • CR1 or “conditional” green cards are for couples married less than two years. The green card remains valid for two years, and the couple then files a form to remove their conditions on residence and ultimately receive a permanent green card after once again proving the legitimacy of their marriage.
  • IR1 or “immediate relative” green cards are for couples married more than two years. The card remains valid for 10 years and may be renewed through a simple process without the requirement to prove the authenticity of their marriage again.

In either scenario, upon receipt of a green card, your spouse can indulge in many new opportunities that become available to them as a legal permanent resident.

Benefits of a Green Card

Beyond being necessary to stay in the United States legally as a couple, the possession of a green card offers many new opportunities. By applying for and receiving a green card, your spouse becomes eligible for many new benefits to begin their American dream. The green card makes them a legal permanent resident, therefore allowing them to:

  • Sponsor immediate relatives to stay in the United States with them
  • Apply for a driver’s license
  • Prove employment eligibility on I-9 forms
  • Access better career options because they no longer need an employer-sponsored visa
  • Pay lower tuition costs compared to international student fees

Of course, the best perk of it all is that their green card allows the two of you to live together happily ever after.

Contact The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC for help applying for a green card for you or your spouse.