Obtaining Green Card through Marriage
Get Help from Orange County Green Card Attorneys
If you and your spouse plan on living your life in the United States, but one of you is a foreign national, you would need to apply for a marriage visa. If your spouse is a permanent resident or a United States citizen, your spouse will need to file an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on your behalf. This petition will typically include evidence of a bona fide marriage relating to your relationship. It will also include but is not limited to other important documents such as your marriage certificate and evidence of your spouse’s status as a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.
How to Get a Marriage-Based Visa: Petition or Adjustment of Status
To obtain a green card through marriage, you can go about it in one of two ways. Your spouse may petition for you or you may apply for adjustment of status even if you are out of status.
If your spouse is a permanent resident, your spouse will file a petition for you, with evidence relating to your relationship--including but not limited to important documents such as your marriage certificate. Once your priority date becomes current based on the visa bulletin, you can apply for adjustment of status if you are in the U.S. or a green card via consular processing if you are out of the country. If you are in the U.S., you must be lawfully present, meaning, your visa must be in-status, and not expired (unless you qualify for the 245(i) exception). If you do live abroad, your green card will be issued by your local US embassy or consulate.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for adjustment of status even if you are out of status. If you have previously been lawfully admitted to the country, you will be eligible for adjustment of status. To become finalized as a U.S. citizen, you must remain married and wait three years after obtaining your green card. If you and your partner divorce, you must wait five years. 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 requirement.
Immigration is now harder in the current political climate, so green card interviews will be conducted with great detail. These are to be taken seriously, as they can severely impact your status as a future citizen. It is essential you remain honest no matter the circumstances, as you will be asked a number of extremely personal questions regarding your marriage.
How to Get a Green Card through Family
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may petition for certain family members to help them obtain their green card.
You may petition for:
- Your spouse
- Your unmarried children (under 21)
- Your unmarried son or daughter of any age
The process is similar to obtaining a marriage-based visa. Below is the application process:
- File Form I-130.
- Provide proof that you are a permanent resident or citizen.
- Submit evidence of your relationship, such as a birth certificate (see instructions on the I-130)
- Submit proof of any legal name changes of you or your family member, if applicable.
In addition, if you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military, special conditions may apply. Reach out to a green card attorney in Orange County for guidance.
Which Is Better - Consulate 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 approximately 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 (EWI)"?
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 immigration 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.
Contact Our Green Card Lawyers in Irvine. Call (949) 478-4963.
If you or a loved one want to obtain a marriage visa, you will need the help of a skilled and knowledgeable Irvine immigration lawyer. 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.
Our team at Yekrangi & Associates is dedicated to helping keep families together because we have a unique immigration perspective. Attorney Yekrangi’s personal passion behind helping immigrants is an asset to all clients he serves. Don’t take on this situation on your own--let us help you acquire the results you deserve.
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