Green Card through Marriage

More and more American citizens are getting married to spouses who were either born or reside in other countries. The process of obtaining a green card through marriage can be very difficult and expensive for couples who are inexperienced with the formalities.

Issues such as the location of the marriage, having the correct supporting documentation and filing the necessary documents are very important the outcome of an application.

Even after a petition or application has been approved there are additional steps that need to be taken in order for your spouse to become an American citizen. An approved application only grants the foreign born spouse conditional residence.

Marriages Outside the U.S.

The foreign-born spouse must usually remain in their native country until they are issued a permanant resident card (Green Card).

The US citizen spouse should submit a visa petition to either the local USCIS office or directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the foreign-born spouse resides.

The citizen spouse must attach the same items with the visa petition which are listed. Once the visa petition is approved, the foreign-born spouse will receive materials from the National Visa Center.

This information will inform the foreign born spouse of the various documents which are required at the immigrant visa interview abroad. These documents can include passports, police clearances, and medical examinations.

After the interview is complete the foreign born spouse will be granted an immigrant visa within three to six months. Check with the state department concerning the current cost of an immigrant visa.

It is recommended that the foreign born spouse does not reside in the United States until an immigrant visa is granted to the them. The USCIS might treat your case with more discretion if the individual is already residing the in US illegally or otherwise. In some cases this may lead to a denied application for permanent residence. Many reports of foreign born spouses being stopped at border checkpoints have been reported due to this action.

However entering the US on a temporary visa when their true intent was to remain permanently in the U.S does not exclude the individual from being able to obtain a green card.