Green Card through Marriage

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Most Common Immigration Law Issues:

Can I Get a Green Card through Marriage?

In many case, a green card, which confers lawful permanent resident status, may be granted when a foreign national marries a citizen of the United States. Lawful permanent resident status, or LPR status, allows the person to live and work in the United States. It may also allow them to apply for U.S. citizenship in the near future. Initially, the foreign national will be granted “conditional permanent resident” status, which will then be adjusted later on to reflect LPR status.

In order to be eligible for such a green card, the person must have a clean criminal record and must be in the country legally with a valid visa. Their marriage must not be solely motivated for the purpose of obtaining favorable immigration passage into the United States. Also, they must fill out and complete a number of forms and may be required to complete interviews with immigration officials.

What If My Spouse Is Only a Permanent Resident?

Permanent residents can also petition persons for a marriage-based green card. However, they may need to get married first before they become eligible for such a visa. Also, there may be waiting lists associated with this specific type of arrangement.

Also, a couple might encounter issues if the permanent resident had also gained entry to the U.S. through a marriage visa of their own. Here, the new green card may be denied if the LPR spouse’s previous marriage occurred within the last 5 years, but there are exceptions if this previous marriage had ended in death. The couple must also show that they are being married out of love and are not seeking to defraud immigration officials.

Are There Quotas for Green Cards Issued through Marriage?

No, there are no yearly quotas for green cards issued through marriage, unlike family-based visas. However, the timeline for processing marriage-based green cards can vary in each case. Some cases take only a few months to process, while other can take much longer.

Lastly, while there are no quotas, one of the biggest concerns in this area of immigration law is the danger of green card marriage fraud. Immigration authorities will often adopt strict measures to ensure that a marriage is not based on fraud. For instance, they may review various pieces of evidence, such as photos and receipts, to determine that a marriage is legitimate and not formed for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card.

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Obtaining a green card through marriage is a common occurrence in immigration law. You may need to hire a lawyer if you are considering this type of option. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and representation when it comes to the immigration process. If you have any questions or concerns, your attorney can be on hand to guide you to the right procedure.

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Last Modified: 05-20-2014 12:46 PM PDT

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