Marriage to a US citizen is one of the fastest and most effective ways to get permanent residency, and then legal citizenship, in the United States. However, one cannot obtain a green card automatically after marriage. Rather the application process has to be followed precisely. Moreover, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can examine applications carefully on the basis of a marital relationship. Hence, an applicant and their spouse must have proper, mandatory documentation in place.

Green Card Application Process

The application process typically starts with filing Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative by the US citizen spouse. The petition confirms the presence of a lawful, authentic marriage relationship between the non-permanent-resident, non-citizen spouse and the US citizen. Most often, the form is filed as a component of many other mandatory forms to update the spouse’s status. When the spouse is already residing in the US, they may be eligible to apply simultaneously get their status adjusted as a green card holder or a permanent resident. If their “Priority Date” (availability for a visa number) is present, they can file Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, in addition to many other supporting documents and forms.

Just to make you aware that this process of obtaining a green card is for couples who are already married. That is why there is a different, alternate process for the pair who is engaged only thus not yet married. The spouse seeking US citizenship has to be lawfully married in any country. In the event of previous marriages, both parties must be legally divorced prior to their current marriage to the United States Citizen Spouse. USCIS usually also requires further information, conforming the marriage’s validity as well as the relationship’s bona fide nature between the partners, such as commingled financial resources, home ownership, insurance policies, and tax returns. Other proof of a genuine martial relationship includes:

  • children born into the relationship
  • evidence of living together
  • phone bills
  • frequent travel together
  • wedding photos
  • social media logs
  • affidavits      from individuals who acknowledge the personal relationship

Legal status of the foreign spouse currently in the US is another factor USCIS considers when making any decision regarding green cards.