Being married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident status holder comes with several immigration benefits. First, the foreign spouse is eligible to apply for a marriage-based green card, which allows them to live and work in the US. Also, obtaining a green card through marriage is one of the surest and quickest ways of becoming a US permanent resident. However, being married to a US citizen or LPR does not give non-US spouses automatic nationality or immigration rights.

If you are a foreign spouse married to a US citizen or LPR, there are application forms you must fill out. You need to apply to the USCIS to secure a lawful permanent residence status through marriage (also called a marriage-based green card). With this, you can start your journey to becoming a full-fledged US citizen if that is what you desire.

How Can You Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?

There are two processes involved in obtaining an immigrant visa, starting with filing a petition with the USCIS. You will be required to submit certain supporting documents with the application for the USCIS to approve it. Once the US government approves the application, it will schedule a visa interview for you at a consular post abroad. Meanwhile, the route you take in applying for a marriage green card will depend on where you are and who you’re married to.

If you are married to a US citizen spouse and are already living in the US, you only need to adjust your status. However, this application also depends on whether you entered the country lawfully or not. For instance, you came into the US for employment purposes and had no intention of getting married. Contrarily, if you’re outside the US, you will file Form I-30 to prove the validity of your marriage before applying for the green card.

Meanwhile, if you’re married to a green card holder and are outside the US, you will follow the same process above. However, you may not be able to apply for a marriage green card immediately because you need to wait for visa availability. The stage of waiting for green card availability in the NVC visa bulletin can take between eight to ten months. Once your application has been approved, you will attend your scheduled visa interview.

What Is the Timeframe for the Green Card Application Process?

The time it takes for the green card application process to be completed depends on a few factors. These include the immigration status of the spouse of the foreign national and where the applicant is residing. For instance, if you are married to a US citizen spouse and reside in the US, the process takes ten to twelve months. Contrarily, if you’re married to a US citizen and live outside the country, the processing time can take twelve to eighteen months.

Meanwhile, if you are married to a green card holder and live in the US, the processing takes longer; usually about three years. On the other hand, if you’re married to the same green card holder and live outside the US. The marriage green card processing time takes around two to two and a half years.

What’s Next Once Your Application Is Approved?

Once the USCIS approves your green card application, you will get your green card within one month of entering the country. This green card will act as evidence that you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States. This green card is valid for ten years, after which you will renew it or apply for naturalization.

However, if you were granted conditional permanent residency, this status is valid for only two years. The USCIS grants conditional permanent resident cards when the couple’s marriage is not up to two years by the time of application. To remove the condition on the permanent residence card and extend it to more than two years. The foreign spouse must remain married to the citizen or LPR spouse for more than two years.

Once the marriage is up to two years, they are mandated to remove the conditions on the card within ninety days. That is, ninety days before the expiry date of the conditional permanent resident card.

Herman Legal Group in Illinois

If you’re looking to obtain a marriage green card in Illinois, you may want to hire an experienced immigration attorney. With their knowledge of how the immigration space works, they can help you have a smooth, error-free application process. Herman Legal Group is one of the best immigration law firms in the country, boasting a team of highly experienced lawyers. We have years of experience in helping couples reunite by assisting with the marriage green card application process.

Our main office is in Ohio, but we have designated offices in Illinois, across the US, and outside the US. You can book us online or reach out to us at +1-216-696-6170 to access our expert immigration services now.


Getting a marriage green card lawyer is an easy way to fast-track your green card process. Regardless of how much of the process you may know, a green card lawyer is more informed because they have been doing it for years. Interestingly, you have some of the best and most experienced attorneys in Illinois who can help you out; don’t hesitate to reach out to them.


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