According to current law, a person who came to this country with a valid visa can apply for permanent residence if he marries a U.S. citizen. The laws are complicated, but here’s a basic introduction:
- K-1 Visa or Fiancée Visa. If the person came to the U.S. on a fiancée visa, they must be married within 90 days to the person who sponsored their visa to qualify for permanent residence adjustment status in this country. Learn more from marriage green card attorney.
- Status adjustment for visa immigrants. All other persons may apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident of this country based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, provided they entered the United States on a valid visa and have not committed a crime or some other act that renders them ineligible. Of course, the marriage must be valid and genuine.
- Law 245i. Additionally, people who qualify for a special law called Section 245i can apply for a green card here in the U.S. based on marriage – even if they came without a visa. You are only eligible for Section 245i if you have a family member or employer file to sponsor you for permanent residence before April 30, 2001. Many people sponsored by parents or siblings and have been waiting many years for their “current” May be filed through a U.S. citizen spouse according to Section 245i. (However, getting good legal advice before filing is very important to be sure you are eligible.)
- I601A Pardon or Waiver of Inadmissibility. For those not eligible for adjustment of status, a waiver and consular process may be available.
Status adjustment process (I485).
If anyone is eligible to proceed to apply for a U.S. green card, here are some basic facts about the process and requirements.
- There are many forms and documents required to submit with the marriage petition, including photos, birth and marriage records, and other immigration forms.
- It usually only takes 9-15 months to complete the adjustment of status process. There is an interview at the end of the application process, which both spouses must attend.
What documentation supports the status adjustment process?
To prove that the marriage is valid at the interview, providing some documents to support the AOS is necessary. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- financial records, such as rent with both spouses’ names,
- joint bank statements,
- joint credit cards,
- utility bills and other evidence that the couple is living together.
It’s also helpful to bring photos of the couple, including wedding photos.
Other personal documents supporting the I485 application, such as pre-marital correspondence or even personal mementos, may be useful to show the immigration officer.
The I485 fit of status interviews.
AOS interviews at USCIS usually last about an hour or less and are intended to determine whether or not the marriage is legitimate. If there is any significant doubt about whether the marriage is real, applicants should attend a second, more intensive interview. In these second interviews, trained officers separate and question the spouses at greater length. If the officer is satisfied that the marriage is in good faith and all other requirements for permanent residency are met, the application for adjustment of status is approved. You can learn more on SimVisa for instance.