How To Get A U.S. Marriage Green Card

A marriage green card is essentially a permanent residence permit for the spouse of a US citizen. It allows the spouse to live and work anywhere in the United States.

A green card holder becomes eligible to apply for US citizenship after three years of permanent residency. It typically takes 1-2 years for their spouse to obtain a green card through marriage.

What is a Marriage Green Card?

If you are married to a US citizen or a green card holder, you can apply for a marriage green card. It is a type of immigrant visa that allows you to live and work legally in the US.

A green card is issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is the primary step towards obtaining US citizenship. It typically lasts for a defined period, before the end of which it must be renewed.

If you have been married for more than two years before applying, you can obtain the IR1 Green Card, which has a 10-year validity. On the other hand, if your marriage is less than two years old at the time of application, you may receive a CR1 Green Card, also called a Conditional Green Card. This is valid for two years, after which you will have to file another application in order to remove the conditions and receive a 10-year Green Card.

How to Apply for a Marriage Green Card?

An Individual either receives the status of an “immediate relative” after marrying a US citizen. Here are the major steps required to apply for a marriage green card:

1. File I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

Fill the USCIS Form I-130 to confirm the relationship of the foreign spouse to a US citizen or resident. This is to show that the relationship is legal, bona fide, and not chosen in bad faith to simply get a green card.

2. Await a Priority Date

Spouses of green card holders have to bear with annual limits on the green card allotment. Sometimes, the waiting list can last as long as two years. Applicants can find out their status by checking their priority date followed by the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

3. Consular Processing OR Adjustment of Status

There may be a choice when it comes to the application procedure:

• Overseas immigrants can opt for consular processing. This entails getting in touch with the National Visa Center (NVC) where documents are uploaded followed by an interview at a local consulate for an immigrant visa or US entry.

• Immigrants already living in the US can either leave the US and opt for consular processing or stay for an adjustment of status.

Final Word

As an immigrant, if you choose consular processing, you will be guided by the NVC and the consulate. You will need to fill out several documents, take a medical examination, and attend an interview.

On the other hand, if you are eligible for an adjustment of status, you will have to wait for approval of Form I-130, after which you can send a copy of that notice along with Form I-485 and relevant documents. You can also choose to submit the whole package by filing the Form I-130 concurrently.

Lastly, in order to get a marriage green card, the petitioning spouse has to prove to the US government that they can support their spouse financially.

If you have any questions or require more information about US Immigration and Nationality Laws, contact the NPZ Law Group. If you have more questions on how Immigration and Nationality Laws in the US may impact you and/or your family, you can get in touch with the lawyers specialized in US Immigration and Nationality laws at our Firm by e-mailing us at or you can call us at 201-670-0006 (x104). In addition to that, you can find more information on our website at