Foreign Resident Marriage to a Lawful Permanent ResidentA U.S. permanent resident may petition for his alien spouse, however, it is usually a significantly longer process. The alien spouse of a U.S permanent resident is categorized as a beneficiary of Second Preference A under the family based immigration discussed under Family Green Cards. Each year the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) establishes a maximum number of family based green cards, made available for families of Lawful Permanent Residence (“Green card holders). The DHS distinguishes between “Immediate Relatives” and “Preference Relatives”. Immediate relatives are not subject to a numerical limit, as long as they are eligible, a green card will be granted upon approval of the application. On the other hand, preference relatives are subject to a numerical limit due to the availability of green cards are limited and usually require a wait time between the approval of the applications and the granting of the actual green cards. Consequently, it is advantageous to be categorized as an Immediate Relative to a sponsoring US Citizen.
Marriage Green Card: Marriage to Green Card HolderTo be eligible, the Green Card Holder (Legal Permanent Resident) generally needs to prove the following:
- the marriage is legitimate and it is between a husband and wife;
- all prior marriages were legally terminated;
- sponsoring spouse is able to financially support his/her spouse, if not, a co-sponsor is available to provide such support if needed;