Overview of marriage based green card
Marriage for love to a U.S. Citizen can lead to obtaining a permanent residency (Marriage based Green Card). The rules surrounding marriage and marriage based green cards are detailed and complex, and largely depend upon the following factors:
- 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 States
If your marriage took place outside of the U.S. and your foreign spouse does not have legal status to live permanently in the U.S., you will need to petition for a marriage based green card for your foreign spouse. A marriage based green card also known as a marriage based Immigrant Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and similar to other immigrant visa (green card petitions) you must be able to prove the relationship is genuine and not for immigration benefits. Your foreign spouse must also prove they are admissible to the United States, or apply for a waiver in some circumstances.
Marriage within the U.S. and Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is a separate immigrant visa petition for foreign nationals who wish to adjust their status from a non-immigrant status to resident status such as a marriage based green card. Generally, when a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen in the U.S. he/she is often eligible to apply for a permanent residence application (green card application) after the marriage has taken place. If the foreign spouse wishes to apply for a marriage based green card while remaining in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa such as a work visa or student visa, he/she should include an adjustment of status application in addition to the immigrant petition.
Sponsoring Spouse’s Immigration Status
The law and regulations 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 a legally recognized marriage;
- 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;
- foreign spouse is admissible to the United States. If the foreign spouse is not admissible, a waiver in some circumstances may be available.
Marriage and Green cards is an extremely complex and detailed area of immigration law. If you are considering marriage or are married with a foreign national, contact Cipolla Law Group for a consultation.
You may be interested in the following pages:
- Marriage based green card requirements
- Proof of marriage
- Marriage with U.S. citizen
- Marriage with green card residence
- Marriage based adjustment of status