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What to Know About Getting Married & Immigration

Gurian Group, P.A. Jan. 27, 2022

Book with title immigration law on a tableIf you and your current or future spouse want to live permanently together in the United States, you may consider applying for a marriage-based green card. For many immigrants, obtaining a marriage green card is the quickest and simplest way to obtain permanent residence in the U.S.

However, there are many hoops to jump through when getting immigration benefits through marriage. One of them is proving that your marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is “bona fide.” Consider speaking with an immigration attorney to discuss everything you need to know about getting a marriage-based green card.

As an immigration attorney who serves clients in Miami and throughout surrounding areas in Florida, I am dedicated to helping immigrants navigate the U.S. immigration system, understand their rights, and increase their chances of success. Contact my firm, Gurian Group, P.A., for all of your immigration questions, goals, and legal needs.

Requirements and Eligibility

You need to understand the eligibility requirements when applying for a marriage-based green card to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. Some of the basic requirements include:

  • Legal marriage. In order to be eligible for a marriage green card, you must be legally married. In other words, the marriage must be officially recognized by the government in the country where the marriage took place. The spouses need to obtain the official record of the marriage to prove they are legally married.

  • Marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Under U.S. immigration law, only two types of people can apply for a marriage-based green card for their spouse: U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Thus, make sure that you are married to a U.S. citizen or LPR to be eligible for a marriage green card.

  • Neither spouse can be married to another person. Neither person can be married to someone else at the time of the marriage. Thus, spouses applying for a marriage-based green card must make sure that any previous marriages have ended by legal means (divorce, annulment, or death).

  • The marriage must be bona fide. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) investigates whether a marriage is bona fide before approving a marriage-based green card. A marriage is not bona fide if the parties got married just for green card purposes.

Getting a Marriage Green Card

The process of obtaining a marriage-based green card involves three essential steps:

  1. Submitting Form I-130. The first step is to fill out and submit Form I-130 to the USCIS, as well as pay the filing fee. The purpose of this form is to establish a valid and legitimate marriage.

  2. Applying for permanent residency. There are two ways to apply for a marriage-based green card depending on whether the immigrant is in the United States or abroad. Immigrants currently in the U.S. must use Form I-485, also known as the adjustment of status. Immigrants living outside the U.S. must go through the process called “consular processing” to apply for permanent residency in the U.S.

  3. Attending the green card interview. Finally, the immigrant seeking permanent residency in the U.S. must attend an interview scheduled by the USCIS. The purpose of the interview is to determine whether to give the individual a green card. That is why it is essential to be fully prepared for all questions that could be asked during the interview.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

The process of obtaining a marriage-based green card can be confusing and complicated for most people. Many people do not understand whether they meet the eligibility requirements or what documents they need to apply for a marriage green card.

As an immigration attorney with more than 15 years of experience, I am prepared to help you and your spouse navigate the green card application process and understand how you can increase your likelihood of success. Reach out to Gurian Group, P.A. in Miami, Florida, to schedule a case evaluation and discuss your particular case today.