Closeup Hispanic couple smiling - for spousal visa information from Raleigh, North Carolina attorney Lisa Wogwu

Getting a Green Card Through Marriage

​​Are you or your loved one dreaming of living permanently in the United States? At Wogwu Law, we understand the complexities and emotional aspects of immigration, especially when it involves uniting families. Obtaining a Green Card through marriage is a common route for many, but it requires careful aproach through legal procedures and documentation. This guide aims to explain the process in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner, ensuring you're well-informed every step of the way.

Eligibility Criteria for Marriage-Based Green Card

First and foremost, let's talk about eligibility. To apply for a marriage-based Green Card, certain criteria must be met:

  • Your marriage must be legally valid and recognized by the government where it took place.
  • You must be married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • The marriage must be bona fide, meaning it was entered in good faith and not for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.

Application Process and Required Documentation

The application process for obtaining a Green Card through marriage is a multi-step procedure that requires careful attention to detail and thorough documentation. As your dedicated immigration attorneys, we at Wogwu Law will guide you through each stage, ensuring your application is complete and accurate. Key steps include:

  • Filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative): This form is filed by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse (the petitioner) on behalf of their foreign spouse (the beneficiary). The purpose of Form I-130 is to establish a valid marital relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. Required documents typically include proof of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident's status (such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or green card), a valid marriage certificate, and evidence of any legal name changes.
  • Approval of the Petition: After Form I-130 is submitted, USCIS will review it. If approved, it demonstrates that the marital relationship is recognized for immigration purposes. The approval of the petition does not grant immigration status but is a necessary step in the process.
  • Applying for a Green Card:
    • Adjustment of Status (If in the U.S.): if the foreign spouse is already in the U.S., they can file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).Required documentation may include a copy of the foreign spouse’s passport, birth certificate, two passport-style photos, a medical examination report, and evidence of lawful entry into the U.S. (such as a visa or I-94 arrival/departure record).
    • Consular Processing (If outside the U.S.): If the foreign spouse is outside the U.S., they will go through consular processing. This involves applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The process includes an interview, and required documents typically include a completed DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application), civil documents (like birth certificates), and medical examination results.
  • Gathering Necessary Documents: In addition to the forms mentioned above, both spouses must provide various supporting documents. These can include marriage certificates to prove the marriage's legitimacy, financial records to demonstrate the ability to support the foreign spouse, and proof of the relationship (such as joint bank account statements, lease agreements, photos together, etc.). It's also important to provide any divorce decrees or death certificates if either spouse was previously married.

Interview Process and What to Expect

One of the most critical stages in obtaining a marriage-based Green Card is the interview. Both spouses will be interviewed either together or separately by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. The purpose of this interview is to verify the authenticity of your marriage. At Wogwu Law, we prepare our clients for this interview, providing insights into the types of questions asked and how to best present your case.

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Dealing with Potential Challenges and Delays

The journey to obtaining a Green Card through marriage can sometimes face challenges, such as delays in processing or requests for additional evidence. Our team at Wogwu Law is committed to addressing these challenges head-on, ensuring that your case moves forward as smoothly as possible. We keep you informed at every stage, providing peace of mind and clarity.

Understanding Conditional Residence and Removing Conditions

If your marriage is less than two years old when you receive your Green Card, it will be conditional. This means you'll need to apply to remove the conditions on your residence after two years. This process involves filing Form I-751 and providing evidence that your marriage is ongoing and genuine. We assist our clients in preparing and submitting this important application, ensuring continued lawful residence in the U.S.

Contact Us Wogwu Law

At Wogwu Law, we're passionate about bringing families together and helping our clients achieve their American dream. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate service. If you're considering applying for a marriage-based Green Card, take your time with this complex process. Call us today at 919-964-5472 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a dedicated Immigration Lawyer serving clients worldwide. Let's take the first step together towards building your future in the United States.

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We help fellow immigrants get legal status so they can live without fear: do it right the first time by using an experienced immigration attorney. Our team represents immigration clients who live in all fifty states and abroad.