Marriage Based Green Card

A marriage-based green card is an immigrant visa allowing people to work and live in the US. The visa is available to the spouses of green card holders or US citizens. It takes around 9-38 months to apply for a marriage green card, costing approximately $1400-$1960.

Individuals can apply for a marriage green card from abroad or inside the US. This guide offers more detail on marriage-based green cards and how to get one. Spanish-speaking residents or citizens in the US can refer to for information on getting a green card based on marriage. 

Marriage Based Green Card

What is The Meaning of a Marriage-Based Green Card?

Have you said ‘I do’ to a green card holder or US citizen? Hearty congratulations!

You must apply for a marriage-based green card to start your new life together. A green card will let you work and live as a permanent resident in the US. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grant this type of immigration visa, which is your first step toward US citizenship. 

This type of green card is valid for a fixed period; before it expires, you must renew it. 

  • Are you married for less than 2 years? You will receive a CR1 green card when you apply, also known as a conditional green card. This is valid for two years. 
  • Are you married for more than 2 years? You can receive the IR1 green card, which lasts for ten years. 

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Who is Eligible?

If you prove the following things to USCIS, you will be eligible for a marriage-based green card:

  • Your marriage must be legal and recognized by the government in the country where the marriage took place. 
  • You must be married to a lawful permanent resident or US citizen. To prove your spouse is a US citizen, you can provide a copy of their US passport, birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or naturalization certificate with your application. You can prove your spouse is a green card holder by producing a copy of their green card. 
  • Your marriage must be legitimate, not a contract you have entered to work and live in the US. You must offer proof to the USCIS showing you are building a life together. 
  • Neither of you must be married to anybody else. If you have been married in the past, ensure to provide your divorce decree or a death certificate to prove your marriage has ended. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?

On average, it may take 18 months to get a marriage-based green card. This depends on whether your spouse is a green card holder or a US citizen. However, the time it takes to get a green card based on marriage will also depend on your current location. 

Steps To Apply For a Marriage Green Card 

It is a three-step process to apply for and get a marriage-based green card. 

1. Establish your marriage relationship 

Completing form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative is the first step in applying for a marriage-based green card. The purpose of this form is to establish that you have a valid marriage to a green card holder or US citizen.

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2. Apply for the green card

Are you living in the US? If yes, you must file form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form allows you to change your immigration status to a marriage-based green card. 

Are you living outside of the US? If yes, you must use the consular processing method to apply for a marriage-based green card. With this method, you wait in your home country until your form I-130 is approved by the USCIS. Once approved, your file will be sent to the US Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC filing package includes the following:

  • $445 is the required government filing fee, and you can pay it online. Also, you must look for specific instructions from the US consulate or NVC or embassy handling your case. 
  • The form DS-260 must be filled and submitted. This is your green card application, and you can file it online via the CEAC or Consular Electronic Application Center. 
  • You must provide a copy of your passport photo page and birth certificate to prove your nationality. 
  • Police clearance certificates from relevant countries where you have lived since you were 16. 
  • Proof that your green card holder or US citizen spouse will support you financially. This includes form I-864 and evidence like pay stubs and tax returns. 

3. Attend the green card interview, ace it, and wait for the approval. 

How Much is The Cost?

For spouses living in the US, the government filing fees are $1760. It is $1200 if the spouse is living outside the US. Please note that this doesn’t include the cost of the medical examination, and this may vary between $200-$500. 

Hopefully, this guide will clear your doubts about marriage-based green cards.

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