Green card marriages are among the most scrutinized relationships by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). One of the reasons for this is that it is the most common and quickest way to obtain permanent residency in the US.

Due to this scrutiny, the burden is on the alien and citizen spouse to convince the US government. They are to convince the immigration officer that they deserve the marriage green card using several documents as requested.

There is a specific process involved in the marriage green card application process, starting with filing Form I-130. In this article, we want to expound on the stages involved in the marriage green card application process.

Filing the Immigrant Petition

The marriage-based green card application process opens with the filing of an immigrant petition by a US citizen. The US citizen will file Form I-130, also known as Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIs. This is to establish that the citizen spouse has a valid, qualifying relationship with their alien spouse.

On the government’s part, approving Form I-130 means it acknowledges that a valid relationship exists between the couple and that a visa is available.

Meanwhile, spouses of US citizens are considered immediate relatives; thus, they get a degree of priority over others. Furthermore, if the alien spouse lives outside the US, the last stage of the green card process, the interview, will occur at the US embassy.

Once approved, the USCIS will transfer the immigration case to the Department of States, the National Visa Center (NVC). At this stage, the applicant will:

  • Choose an agent who will obtain information about their case;
  • Pay the required fees, including the fee for Affidavit of Support as well as Immigrant Visa Application Processing;
  • Prepare and submit their Immigrant Visa Application, DS-260, through the official website of the Department of State;
  • Finally, you will send several financial and supporting documents to the NVC upon the latter’s request.

This part of the application process typically takes six to ten weeks until the interview is scheduled. Once you have paid the fees and submitted the right documents, the NVC will schedule the interview.

Concurrent Filing of Form I-485

As an alien spouse married to a US citizen who is already physically present in the US, the process is a bit different. Along with the Form I-130, such may be able to adjust status to green card holder or permanent resident.

Since they are an immediate relative, a visa is available immediately; thus, they can file both forms immediately. By filing Forms I-130 and I-485 at the same time, the applicants give the USCIS everything needed to decide quickly.

The adjustment of status package typically contains Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary. Also included are Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Also, there are I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and I-131, Application for Travel Document. Aside from these forms, the applicant will also be required to submit several supporting documents as directed.

Can Undocumented Spouses Obtain a Marriage Green Card?

An undocumented foreign spouse may encounter some complications during the marriage green card process. Generally, an alien spouse already living in the US at the time of application can file I-130 and I-485 concurrently. Form I-485 gives the alien spouse the chance to adjust status from non-immigrant to immigrant without leaving the United States. However, how the spouse entered the US in the first place is a major deciding factor.

One of the things the alien spouse must prove during this process is that they lawfully entered the United States. There is a clear distinction between alien spouses that lawfully entered the US and those that did not. Provided the undocumented spouse passed through an immigration officer when they entered the country, there won’t be complications. Entering the country lawfully means such was inspected by a Customs and Border Protection agent and granted the go-ahead into the US.

About Herman Legal Group: How Can We Help?

Herman Legal Group offers simple, step-by-step, and affordable guidance through immigration applications, from filling out forms to attending interviews. Attorneys, couples, and families alike use our services to prepare immigration forms without costly delays.

We have a team of dedicated experts who are fluent in at least nine languages to serve clients of different nationalities. If you already have complications in your application, you need us all the more.

We are based in Ohio, but we also serve regions around Ohio and across the United States, including San Francisco. You can book a consultation with us by booking online or contacting us at +1-216-696-617.


Applying for a marriage green card can be confusing if you are not experienced. Even those who are familiar with how US’s immigration laws work don’t often find the process easy. With the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, the process can go more smoothly and with fewer errors.

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