Getting Your Green Card through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
This article will explain how to obtain your green card (or legal permanent residence) if you are married to a United States citizen and are here in the United States. Getting your green card in the United States without having to leave to country is known as "adjustment of status." The advantage to obtaining your green card here is that the process is usually faster, and you may obtain a permission to work while you are waiting for your adjustment interview.
Getting your Marriage Green Card in the U.S.
To be eligible for adjustment of status here in the United States through marriage you must meet the following requirements:
- Have entered the United States legally with a visa;
- Be married to a United States citizen;
- Be able to show sufficient income or resources; and
- Not be "inadmissible" based upon your prior immigration history, criminal conduct, misrepresentation, etc.
Forms needed - the Green Card Application and Petition
The immigration process begins by filing an Adjustment of Status Application (form I-485) and a Petition for Alien Relative (form I-130) along with the required supporting forms and documents. Generally speaking, these include your marriage certificate, prior divorce certificates, birth certificates, photographs, a medical examination certificate, proof of legal entry into the United States (such as an I-94 card), and tax returns for the past three (3) years from the U.S. sponsor showing sufficient income. These documents are by way of example only, and more documentation may be needed in certain cases.
Applying for Your Marriage Visa
When the required immigration forms and documentation have been completed and assembled, the entire package is filed with the USCIS at a specially designated filing location. You will then receive a receipt showing payment of the appropriate fee within approximately two (2) weeks. After receiving the receipt, you will receive a notice from USCIS notifying you to appear for fingerprinting at a local USCIS facility. When this is completed, your application will be sent to the local USCIS office in the state where you reside for an interview. You should receive an interview notice stating the time, date and place of your interview approximately thirty (30) days prior to the interview.
Your Marriage Interview for Permanent Residence
Both you and your spouse must appear at this interview to be examined, under oath, by an immigration officer. At this interview, you need to prove that you and your spouse are living together as husband and wife. The immigration officer will want to see documents proving a bona fide marriage, such as joint bank statements, rent receipts, joint credit cards, joint health insurance, joint car insurance, joint income tax returns, joint utility bills, etc. The immigration officer will also go over your application with you making sure that all information is updated and correct. If your case is approved, you should receive your "green card" in the mail a short time after the interview. It is mailed from a different facility and it is not produced at the local office at the time of the interview.
How Long Does it Take to get a Green Card in Connecticut ?
As a Connecticut immigration attorney, I am frequently asked about how long it takes to get a green card or permanent residence through marriage. Time frames from the initial filing of the application to the final interview vary from state to state and location to location. Currently, in the State of Connecticut, the processing time for a marriage green card case is fairly quick, and cases usually take from four (4) to five (5) months from initial filing to interview. These time frames can change without notice.
Do I need a Connecticut Immigration Lawyer for my Marriage Green Card ?
I highly recommend that before submitting any application to the USCIS that you consult with a qualified and experienced immigration attorney. Even though green card marriage cases may appear straightforward, there are sometimes immigration issues that must be addressed, such as, prior immigration history, criminal convictions, entering into the marriage within 60 days after arriving on your non-immigrant visa (known as pre-conceived intent), and other issues which may affect your ability to ultimately receive your green card. For this reason a consultation with an immigration attorney is highly recommended before you file.
The information contained in this article is for general purposes only and is not to be relied upon in any specific case.
Contact the Law Offices of John J. LaCava, LLC
Our main offices are located in Stamford, but you can reach us at any of our three convenient Fairfield County locations by calling 877-293-6717 or by contacting an immigration attorney at our firm online. You can speak directly with a lawyer about your immigration case.
We have three locations, in Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport, to conveniently serve our clients with day or evening appointments. Appointments can be made for evenings, weekends and off-site locations for your convenience.
Attorney John LaCava, a founding partner of the Law Offices of John J. LaCava, has over thirty years of immigration experience and looks forward to providing you with a new level of excellence in client services. Attorney LaCava is listed in the Woodward-White publication "Best Lawyers in America" in the field of Immigration.