- location of where the marriage took place and
- the overseas spouse’s current residence and
- the sponsoring spouse’s Immigration Status.
Marriage Outside of the United StatesIf the marriage between the foreign resident spouse and the United States citizen took place outside of the United States and the foreign resident spouse does not have legal non-immigrant status to stay in the United States, the applicant will need to apply for an Immigrant Visa. The processing time for an Immigrant Visa varies, depending on the workload of a particular immigration agency/office, generally takes 5 to 9 months on average. Upon approval of an Immigrant Visa through Marriage and entry into the U.S. on the Marriage based Immigrant Visa, a green card will be mailed to the Immigrant. The Immigrant Visa process can be complex and detailed, mistakes can jeopardize the case and/or cost you delays. Careful planning is required when determining the Marriage Green Card Application process.
Marriage within the U.S. and Adjustment of StatusGenerally, when a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen in the U.S. he/she is eligible to apply for a permanent residence application (green card application) after the marriage has taken place. If the foreign spouse remains in the U.S. after the marriage and wishes to adjust status from a non-immigrant visa holder to a permanent residence status, he/she may file for an Adjustment of status application within the U.S., given that he/she is eligible to adjust status in the U.S; has no inadmissible issues and does not require a waiver application.
Sponsoring Spouse’s Immigration StatusThe law and regulation relating to marriage based green card are complex and depend upon whether the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Both U.S. citizens and LPRs may petition a permanent residency for their foreign spouse. To be eligible, the U.S. citizen or LPR 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;