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Obtaining Green Cards through Marriage

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If you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you undoubtedly want your spouse to have a green card. The path you take to obtaining lawful permanent residence for your spouse depends upon your own status and whether your spouse is in the U.S. or outside of the country.

When Your Spouse is Inside the U.S.

If your spouse is lawfully in the U.S. and you’re a U.S. citizen, then their route to a green card is through the I-130 petition process. You file the I-130 petition and they file for an adjustment to their immigration status. This allows them to skip the process of leaving and re-entering the country.

If you’re a green card holder and your spouse is lawfully in the U.S., then it’s up to you to file the I-130 form. Once a visa number becomes available, then your spouse can file the I-485 form to adjust their immigration status.

When Your Spouse is Outside of the U.S.

If you’re a U.S. citizen and your spouse is outside of the U.S., then the path to their green card lies in filing an I-130 form and an I-129 form. Typically, the I-130 form is approved, but if the approval doesn’t come through quickly, then the I-129 will authorize them to obtain a K-3 visa that will enable them to come to the U.S. Once the USCIS has approved the request, they will send the approval to the consulate or embassy near where your spouse resides. Your spouse will then be able to get their visa there.

If you’re a green card holder, then you are required to go through the I-130 process to obtain a green card for your spouse. The I-129 form isn’t available to you.

The I-130 Process

The I-130 process involves more than simply completing a form and submitting a filing fee. You must also send in a wealth of documentation. Regardless of whether you’re a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you must include a copy of your marriage license, copies of paperwork documenting the end of previous marriages, photos of you and your spouse, and documentation of any name changes you or your spouse have had.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, then you also need to submit proof of citizenship, such as a copy of your passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate. If you’re a green card holder, then you need to prove your status with a copy of your green card or a copy of your stamped passport demonstrating evidence of your permanent residence.

Conditional Green Cards through Marriage

If you and your spouse have been married less than two years when your spouse’s green card is approved, then the green card is considered conditional and will be valid for two years. Your spouse will need to petition to remove the conditionality within 90 days of the green card’s expiration date.

If you are attempting to get a green card through marriage for your spouse, there’s too much at stake to try and do it yourself. The experienced Bay Area immigration attorneys from Silver Law Firm are committed to bringing and keeping couples together and will guide you through the U.S. immigration system and to a positive outcome.

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