Marriage Based Green Card
Marriage to U.S. Citizen
Our office specializes in Marriage to U.S. Citizen Green Card cases. Our legal fee includes interview preparation and attendance by one of our attorneys the day of your interview at USCIS.
If You Get Married In the U.S.
If the marriage took place in the U.S. and can be evidenced with civil documentation, the U.S. citizen spouse must petition the USCIS for an immigrant visa. At the same time, the foreign-born spouse applies for an adjustment of status to permanent residency. They may also apply for work authorization and permission to travel abroad if needed.
The work permit and travel permit (advance parole) are usually issued within a few of months. The green card process takes slightly longer. For example, in San Francisco it can take up to 6 months for the initial interview with the USCIS. The application to adjust status must be filed with the USCIS local office that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.
In any case, the foreign-born spouse is permitted to live, work, and study in the United States.
If You Get Married Outside the U.S.
If a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national outside of the United States, the same initial procedures apply except that the foreign-born spouse must usually wait outside the United States for the immigrant visa to be approved. Procedurally, this petition process also includes presentation of documents and an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where the foreign-born spouse resides, before an immigrant visa is granted. Usually, immigration processing time through the consulate is significantly more than in many local USCIS offices.
Conditional Residency & I-751 Removal of Conditions
If the marriage is less than two-years-old before permanent residency is approved, USCIS will issue conditional residency valid for two years. Conditional residency can be removed within 90 days of the expiration of the green card and must be petitioned for jointly by both spouses. Failure to remove the conditional residency in time places the foreign-born spouse out of status and subjects him or her to deportation proceedings. Our office has over 20 years experience representing couples in filing I-751 petitions to remove conditional residency requirements from their green card.
If the marriage has dissolved for reasons of death of the citizen spouse, spousal abuse, or divorce, the foreign-born spouse may request to have the joint petition requirement waived. Our office is experienced in obtaining waivers of the joint petition requirement.