Marriage – The Most Common Way to Get a Green Card

Marriage – The Most Common Way to Get a Green Card

Despite the USCIS’s intensified scrutiny of marriage petitions marriage continues to be the avenue most frequently used by foreign nations to gain U.S. permanent residence.

If you are married to a United States’ Citizen or Permanent Resident you may qualify for an immigrant visa based on marriage.

Marriages Where Immigrant is Outside the United States

Generally, a foreign resident who is married to a U.S. citizen must remain in her home country until the green card is approved.

K-1 visa

If an alien is engaged to a U.S. citzen, an application for a K-1 Visa (fiance visa) may be filed that will allow him or her to enter the United States before getting married and applying for the green card.

The K-1 visa requires that the alien fiance actually get married and file for adjustment of status within 90 days of arriving in the country.

K-3 visa

If an alien is married to a U.S. citzen and the marriage took place outside of the U.S., an application for a K-3 visa may be filed to allow the alien to enter the United States and apply for the green card.

The K-3 visa requires that the alien spouse of a U.S. citizen file for adjustment of status within 2 years of arriving in the country.

Filing Procedure

The U.S. Citizen submits a visa petition (the marriage petition) estabishing that the marriage is legitimate and not entered into just to get a green card.

The foreign spouse should file an application for adjustment of status at the same time the citizen files the visa petition.

The foreign spouse should be issued an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) within 90 days of filing for adjustment of status.

Later, a marriage interview will be scheduled at a local immigration office.

Burden of Proof

The citizen and the foreign spouse must prove that the marriage is bona fide.

If the citizen and foreign spouse have been married less than 2 years at the time the spouse becomes a permanent resident, a conditional 2 year green card will be issued.

The spouses must file a joint petition to remove the condition within 90 days immediately preceding the end of the 2 year conditional term.

If the citizen has died or the spouses are divorced, or the spouse has been subjected to extreme cruelty or has been battered by the U.S. citizen spouse, the foreign spouse may apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

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