Getting a green card for a spouse or family member is not an easy process. It can take multiple years and there are many factors that need to be considered. When you petition for your spouse to get a green card, there are typically fewer hurdles to navigate, but it's still not guaranteed. Certain requirements must be met in the application process, which are different for people who are married to U.S. citizens than they are for other immigrants. Here is what you need to know about how you can petition for your spouse to get their green card, or become a permanent resident in the United States (based on the current immigration laws).
What is a family based green card?
The family-based green card is one of the most common way to get a green card. A family based green card includes two categories: immediate relative and family preference. If you are asking yourself if these eligibility categories have a difference in terms of processing wait times, they do. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen are typically subject to shorter processing time frames compared to family preference. We discuss the difference between both categories in the next question below.
Who is eligible for a family-based green card?
The first step towards obtaining a green card is to determine if one is eligible. To qualify under the first category as an immediate relative as previously mentioned, the individual must be the spouse of a U.S. citizen or the unmarried child of a U.S. citizen and under the age of 21 years old at the time of filing for the application for admission to citizenship. The second category of family preference includes parents, the unmarried child of the US citizens over 21 years old, or the son/daughter born in wedlock.
How do I petition for my spouse to get a green card?
To petition for a green card for your spouse, or a marriage green card, you will need to submit several documents. First, you will submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with supporting documentation of the relationship. Next, you will need to submit Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status and your spouse’s physical presence in the U.S., as well as any other required application forms and interview waivers. An immigrant visa will be available for the immediate relative once USCIS makes a decision. Finally, an affidavit of support, or Form I-864, needs to be submitted either with Form I-485 or in person at the interview.
What documents do i have to submit?
You will need to submit many documents with your petition, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, tax returns, police reports, and more. The most common documents required to petition for a green card application for a spouse are:
1. Proof of your marital status
2. Proof of the spouse's marital status
3. Your joint financial statement
4. Your joint lease or property deed(s)
5. A joint purchase agreement for property
6. Your joint mortgage agreement(s)
7. Evidence of your shared responsibility for each other's children
8. Copy of spouses arrival/departure record or of the US Customs and Border Protection admission (Form I-94)
This blog does not intend to answer all questions as each individual case is unique. We recommend you visit the USCIS website for all up to date information regarding permanent residence in the United States. If you need legal assistance, call today to schedule a consultation with immigration lawyer Jesus Martinez at (559) 777-6587.