Immigration to the United States through marriage is very common and usually the best for married couples. However, being the best does not make it the easiest because this category of immigration applications is subject to thorough screening.
If you’re applying for a marriage green card in Buffalo, we will give you some information you need to know. This includes the cost of obtaining the green card and what it takes to avoid the rejection button.
Does the Green Card Application Process Take Long?
The marriage green card application process is complex and usually takes several months before it is granted. From the point of filling out and submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to obtaining the green card. The length of time can take about fifteen months, and that is only if there are no problems with your application.
Once the resident or citizen spouse files Form I-130, the USCIS will assign the foreign spouse a priority date. The processing time for the petition itself is six months, but you cannot get the green card without a current priority date.
Your priority date becomes current if the monthly visa bulletin the Department of State provides matches or passes your priority date. When it does, you can either file I-485 if you’re in the US or do consular processing if you’re not.
If you are living in the US when your priority date is set, you can either adjust your status or do consular processing. However, consular processing is mandated for foreign spouses living outside the US. To be sure which choice is best for you, you may want to consult with your immigration attorney. That’s because while adjusting your status may seem more convenient, it is more expensive and takes a longer time.
How Much Does Marriage Green Card Application Cost?
How much you spend for the entire green card application process depends on your immigration circumstances and age. The costs cover the USCIS mandatory fees for Form I-130, I-485, I-864, biometrics, State Department processing, and USCIS immigrant fee.
Below is a breakdown of the fees mandated by the USCIS for obtaining the marriage green card:
- For the foreign spouse living inside the US, the total cost is $1,760. This includes $535 for Form I-130, $1,140 for Form I-485, and $85 for biometrics. Foreign spouses inside the US don’t need to file Form I-864 or pay state department processing and USCIS immigrant fees.
- For foreign spouses living outside the US, the total cost for the marriage green card is $1,200. That includes $535 for Form I-130, $120 for Form I-864, $325 for state department processing, and a $220 USCIS immigrant fee. Fees that don’t apply to foreign spouses outside the US include Form I-485 and biometrics.
Meanwhile, these are only the mandatory fees required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are other fees to consider, such as travel costs and attorney fees if you are hiring an immigration attorney.
What Are the Top Reasons for Marriage Green Card Denials?
If you are legally married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, nothing should hinder your application. However, even if your marriage is bona fide, there are circumstances that can cause your application to be denied.
We have seen couples who were truthfully married get rejected even before they got to the interview stage. We’re not trying to scare you but to help you understand that the slightest mistake in the application means something.
Below are the top reasons why the USCIS rejects or denies many marriage green card applications:
Fraud and Misrepresentation
Fraud includes a wide range of illegal activities marriage green card applicants engage in to obtain the green card. These include counterfeiting, forging civil documents, falsifying information, and document alteration. Meanwhile, misrepresentation refers to willfully deceiving the immigration officer – like lying about one’s criminal history.
The green card application can also be denied if the USCIS perceives that you are a threat to national security. Applicants go through a biometric screening process for this reason; the fingerprints obtained are analyzed by government security agencies. If the USCIS discovers that the applicant was involved in terrorist activities, it will deny the application.
Applicants must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to show that they can take care of themselves. The USCIS will deny an application if it discovers that the applicant will become a public charge (depending on government benefits).
Getting Experienced Legal Help: How Herman Legal Group Can Help?
The marriage green card application may seem easy on paper, but it is very complex and complicated. If you are new to the process or have certain issues that may jeopardize your application, our immigration lawyers can help.
We have a team of experienced lawyers who understand the in and out of marriage green card applications. They can use their expertise and experience to help you navigate the process and come out successful. You can book a consultation with us online or by calling +1-800-808-4013.
If you are married to a US green card holder or citizen, you may qualify for the marriage green card. Meanwhile, you can apply for this immigration benefit whether you are inside or outside the United States. We recommend working with a green card lawyer in Michigan; research shows getting legal help reduces your risk of rejection by 25%.