How long do I need to be married to get a green card?
If you are wed to a non-U.S. citizen, you may be able to seek a green card for your spouse. To obtain a green card for your spouse, you will need to demonstrate that a valid marriage exists. A green card by marriage is one of the best ways to seek permanent resident status for your spouse, as husbands and wives of U.S. citizens will not be held to quota restrictions and even those who are in the U.S. illegally may qualify. However, the green card through marriage process can be complex and it is possible that your application will be denied. Our green card through family immigration lawyers at NPZ Law Group, P.C. discuss the steps to seeking a green card for your spouse below.
The Petition for Alien Relative
There are two options for seeking a green card for your spouse: Adjustment of Status or embassy or consulate processing. Adjustment of Status is available to those living in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, while consular processing is an option for people living outside the U.S. In either case, you, as the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, will need to file a Petition for Alien Relative with the USCIS. The petition is contained within Form I-130.
Completing Form I-130 can be a complicated process. You will want to carefully and thoroughly complete the document. You will also need to attach significant supporting documentation. It is generally wise to obtain the help of a green card attorney when completing this vital step.
The Green Card Application
With Form I-130 complete, you can then apply for a green card for your spouse. If you live in the U.S., you can apply with the USCIS using a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence. Those residing outside of the U.S. will need to apply for a green card through the consulate within their country of residence or the U.S. embassy.
Length of the Marriage
Newlyweds often wonder whether they must be married for a certain number of years before seeking a green card for the immigrant spouse. The answer is that there is no set number of years, but a longer marriage may be subject to less scrutiny. The most challenging part of the green card application process will be proving that the marriage is valid. Many spouses will need to undergo the feared interview process. A longer marriage, or a marriage supported by other factors like living together, joint bank accounts, and close ties, is less likely to result in denial of your application.
The immigration attorneys at NPZ Law Group understand how stressful and confusing the green card process can be. Our firm offers client satisfaction guaranteed and will simplify the process for you so that you can start your new life as permanent U.S. residents.