The green card application process is a three-step process, starting with the filing of Form I-130 by the citizen spouse. Depending on where the alien spouse resides, they can either apply for automatic adjustment of status or go through consular processing. Consular processing, Form DS-260, is designed for beneficiaries of the marriage green card residing outside of the United States. On the other hand, Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, is for those already in the US legally.

Regardless of how you want to apply, navigating through immigration law is not something you want to do alone. Apart from the extensive amount of paperwork to be done, there are legal issues you cannot handle. Thus, we recommend hiring an experienced immigration attorney if you’re applying for a marriage-based green card in New York. Herman Legal Group is one of the best law firms to get assistance with all types of immigration applications from.

How Do You Prove a Bona Fide Marriage to the Immigration Officer?

To obtain a marriage green card, you need to show the US government that your marriage is real. When a marriage is bona fide, it means it can legally and in every way be considered a marriage. Immigration-wise, it means you did not get married for the sole purpose of accessing immigration benefits.

The USCIS immigration officer is responsible for determining the validity of a marriage, but they do so based on the information you supply. They will typically ask you and your citizen or permanent resident spouse certain questions; be ready to supply sensitive information.

They will ask questions about how and when you met your spouse, your home and apartment, and your children, among other things. The immigration officer will ask questions that will help them ascertain if your marriage is genuine or not.

To prove to the immigration officer that your marriage is real, you should bring the necessary documentation. Present documents like your marriage certificate, financial holdings, joint responsibilities, and everything that will prove your marriage’s validity beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can You Obtain a Marriage Green Card If You Illegally Entered the US?

Unlike other immigration applications, spouses who are in the US illegally are eligible to apply for a marriage-based green card. Meanwhile, there are two categories of illegal entry or residence in the US as distinguished by US immigration law.

The first category is for spouses who were lawfully admitted into the US but overstayed their visa status. The second category is the EWI – these are those who snuck into the US and were not inspected by an immigration officer.

Those who were legally admitted but overstayed their visa can adjust their immigration status. Regardless of how long they’ve overstayed their authorized stay period, they don’t have to leave the country to process the application. However, if the spouse overstayed for more than six months, there is a 3-year ban on their re-entry into the US. The ban is up to ten years for those who stay up to a year or longer after their visas have expired.

On the other hand, those who entered without permission have to leave the United States first before applying. They cannot adjust their status; instead, they will leave the country and instead apply for an Alien Spouse Immigrant Visa.

Why Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

You are not mandated to employ the help of an immigration attorney for the application process. However, it is highly recommended for several reasons, such as:

  • Avoiding common mistakes in filling out marriage green card application forms. With an experienced immigration lawyer, you will file the correct paperwork and avoid mistakes that can sink the entire application.
  • They are experienced in immigration matters; the help of an expert in marriage-based green card applications cannot be overestimated. They don’t only understand the law; they understand how to navigate it to improve your application’s chances of success.
  • When you face a roadblock during the immigration process, an experienced immigration lawyer can figure a way out. They know how to maneuver permits and regulations as well as find loopholes that can turn your situation around.
  • They lay out your options before you, regardless of whatever situation you are in. If you are facing deportation proceedings, for instance, an immigration lawyer can help you understand the next steps to take.
  • After you have acquired your green card, your lawyer can help you understand the law to avoid circumstances that can endanger your status.

Does Herman Legal Group Offer Marriage Green Card Services in New York?

Herman Legal Group is a nationally-recognized law firm with immigration lawyers in many states across the United States, including New York. We provide, with true care and empathy, expert legal service for marriage-based green card applications, among other things. We don’t offer abstract services; instead, we get to know you so that we can offer the right help.

Although our headquarters are in Ohio, we also have a dedicated office in New York. You can reach out to us by calling us on +1-216-696-6170, through Skype, or by booking online.


While it seems all you have to do to get a marriage green card is to prove your marriage is valid. The process is a little more complicated than that, and having experienced legal counsel can help you navigate it successfully.

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