Navigating Marriage-Based Green Card Applications

Posted on 05/29/24

Applying for a marriage-based green card or permanent residency is an intricate and personal endeavor. It requires you to prove the authenticity of your relationship under the scrutinous eyes of USCIS, adding layers of complexity and potential stress to what is already a highly personal matter. Your relationship is undoubtedly genuine, yet U.S. immigration laws demand concrete evidence that your union is legitimate and not merely a circumstantial arrangement. This process can intensify the already daunting application.

At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we recognize the weight of what’s at stake: the future and stability of your family in the United States. Our focus is not just on navigating the legal framework but on understanding and addressing the unique nuances of each client’s situation. By choosing our experienced team, you gain an ally who will prepare and strengthen your application, ensuring it reflects the true essence of your partnership and meets all legal requirements.

When applying for a marriage-based green card, the process is tailored to unite spouses and solidify their lives together in the United States. Here are the detailed steps involved in applying for a marriage-based green card:

Step 1: Establish Eligibility

The initial step is to determine eligibility under the marriage-based green card category. This requires that the marriage be legally valid and recognized by the government where it took place. The relationship must be bona fide, meaning it was established based on genuine marital intent rather than for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.

Step 2: Filing the Petition

The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form serves as proof of a valid marriage and establishes the sponsorship of the foreign spouse. Accompanying this petition, the sponsoring spouse must include evidence of the marriage, such as marriage certificates, joint financial statements, photographs, and other documents that prove the marriage is legitimate.

Step 3: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

Depending on where the foreign spouse is located, the next step is either Adjustment of Status (if the spouse is in the U.S.) or Consular Processing (if the spouse is abroad).

  • Adjustment of Status: The foreign spouse, if already in the U.S., files Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is submitted to change their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
  • Consular Processing: If the foreign spouse resides outside the U.S., they will undergo consular processing. In this case, once the I-130 petition is approved and a visa number is available, the foreign spouse will apply for the immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country.

Step 4: Biometrics Appointment

After submitting the necessary forms, the foreign spouse will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment where fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature will be collected. This information is used for background checks and to create a green card.

Step 5: Interview

Both spouses will likely be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer or at the U.S. consulate. The interview aims to further verify the authenticity of the marriage and review the details provided in the application. Both spouses should be prepared to answer personal questions about their relationship and may need to provide additional documentation.

Step 6: Decision

The final step is the decision on the green card application. If approved, the foreign spouse will be issued a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), allowing them to live and work permanently in the United States. In cases where the marriage is less than two years old at the time of approval, the green card will be conditional, requiring the couple to apply to remove the conditions on residence after two years.

By partnering with the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, clients are guided through each step of this complex process, ensuring that all aspects of the application are handled correctly and efficiently. Minimize the stress associated with such important life decisions, call (203) 753-7300 to get started today.

Guidance on Marriage-Based Green Cards from Attorney James A. Welcome

At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we recognize that navigating the complexities of immigration law can be daunting, especially with the prevalent court backlogs and the challenges posed by an understaffed USCIS. Understanding these hurdles, our firm has developed a client-centered approach that simplifies the legal process and minimizes stress. We are committed to refining our legal strategies continuously, ensuring that each client is guided with care through their immigration journey. Our strategy emphasizes open communication, leveraging our extensive legal experience, and proactive advocacy to safeguard your interests.

From your initial consultation, you will experience the benefits of partnering with a dedicated immigration law firm. With over 19 years of specialized experience and a bilingual team fluent in Spanish and English, we place your priorities at the center of our efforts. 

Attorney James A. Welcome takes a hands-on approach to each case, ensuring that every marriage-based green card application is handled with the utmost care. Our firm has a rich history of handling hundreds of successful applications, and we understand the importance of aligning your application with the stringent expectations of USCIS. While it is technically possible to navigate this process independently, the risks associated with potential oversights or omissions can lead to significant setbacks, such as delays or outright denials, which can derail your life plans.

Connect With Our Connecticut Immigration Law Firm 

To mitigate these risks, we encourage you to leverage our legal experience. Contact our seasoned immigration team at (203) 753-7300 to begin your partnership with a firm that delivers results you can trust.

We invite you to book a confidential immigration consultation for your Marriage-Based Green Card application today. Let us take the lead in securing your future and reuniting you with your loved ones in the United States. Our commitment is not just to meet but exceed your expectations, providing peace of mind and a clear path to legal residency.