How do I obtain a Green Card Through Marriage?
I am married to a permanent resident, how do I get a green card or US Citizenship?
Obtaining a green card, or permanent residency, through marriage can be
obtained in one of two ways. If your spouse is a permanent resident, your
spouse must file a petition for you, with supporting evidence related
to your relationship, including a copy of your marriage certificate and
other vital documents.
Once your priority date becomes current based on the
visa bulletin, you can apply for adjustment of status if you are in the United States,
or apply for your green card through a consulate if you are abroad. If
you are in the United States, you must be lawfully present, meaning, your
visa must be in-status, and not expired (unless you qualify for the 245(i)
Applying for naturalization to obtain US Citizenship occurs only after
you first obtain your green card. If you are still married to your spouse,
you will need to wait three years before you apply for citizenship. Otherwise,
you will need to wait five years.
I am married to a US Citizen, how do I get a green card or US Citizenship?
If your spouse is a United States citizen, you can apply for adjustment
of status even if you are out of status. This means that so long as you
entered the United States "with inspection" (for example, entering
the country with a visa or entering through a port-of-entry and being
"lawfully admitted"), you are eligible for adjustment of status.
There are certain visas, however, that do not qualify for adjustment of
status, such as a C-1/D visa (crewman), or a J visa with a home residency
You are also eligible for consular processing as well if you live outside
the United States. if you do live abroad, your green card will be issued
by your local US embassy or consulate.
To become a US Citizens you must wait three years after you receive your
green card if you are still married, or five years if you have divorced
since receiving your green card.
Which is better -- Cosulate Processing or Adjustment of Status?
There are a variety of factors to consider. Generally, adjustment of status
within the United States gives you the privilege of obtaining a permanent
residency while you are in the United States. The process takes approixmately
nine months and allows you and your spouse to remain together until your
USCIS adjustment of status interview.
Other factors, such as personal factors, including employment and obligations
abroad, may make consular processing more appropriate. In other circumstances,
you may have no choice but to obtain your permanent residency through
consular processing. Discuss this with your immigration attorney.
What if I entered the United States "Without Inspection"?
Entering the United States "without inspection", commonly referred
to as "EWI", generally means that you cannot adjust your status
in the United States. However, some important exceptions to apply, and
these should be investigated by your attorney. Factors to consider are
1) how old you were when you entered the United States; 2) whether you
were "waived" into the country; 3) whether a family member filed
an immigration petition for you prior to April of 2001 (making you eligible
for the 245(i) exception), or whether an immediate relative is, or was,
in the military. This issue can be incredibly complex and should be discussed
with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Finally, if you find the none of the exceptions apply to you for adjustment
of status in the United States based on the manner in which you entered
the United States, you should consider filing a
601-A waiver. Countless immigrants who entered the United States without inspection
are granted 601-A waivers.
In short, if your spouse is a permanent resident or United States Citizen,
consult an immigration attorney. Every fact matters in immigration cases,
even facts you think you are not important. An immigration attorney will
help pinpoint these facts and guide you in the right direction for the
smoothest transition to permanent residency.