U.S. Citizens and permanent residents can sponsor spouses through a petition for a Green Card by marriage. Both the sponsor and the beneficiary will have to establish their eligibility. Usually, the process varies depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident. U.S. Citizens can sponsor spouses as “immediate relatives” which means that there is no need to wait for a visa to become available. If the beneficiary and the spouse are both in the U.S., that beneficiary will have to apply on behalf of their spouse with USCIS. However, if the spouse is outside of the U.S. he/she will have to file for an immigration visa with a U.S. Consulate having jurisdiction in their place of residence.
Commonly Asked Questions
While the United States permanent residents can also sponsor spouses seeking a Green Card, the process will usually take longer because a visa number will be required, and often times it is not immediately available. Once their initial application has been approved, spouses will have to wait for their priority date to become current for them to be able to apply for adjustment of status.
U.S Citizens can also consider a K-1 Visa, or a Fiance visa. This visa allows the Fiance of a U.S. Citizen to enter the United States for 90 days. During which time they need to get married and then apply for adjustment status.
An applicant's permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old. This conditional status can be removed after two years of marriage if you can prove that you are still married or
- Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parent's application;
- Are a widower who entered into a marriage in good faith;
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment.
Immigration services will expect to see proof of a genuine relationship. Exchange letters and gifts, take pictures of your moments together, and open a joint bank account. It is very difficult to obtain approval if you are not living with your spouse.
Although most questions asked during interviews are easy to answer (How did you both meet? What do you like to do together? Any prior marriages?), unusual and out-of-left-field questions are not unheard of. Answer each question as clearly as you can and relax.
Do not marry just to get a green card. It is a fraudulent crime punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and five years in prison. Conviction can also result in the loss of citizenship and deportation. In short, it is not worth the risk.