Love can transcend boundaries, and when it does, it often navigates waters of bureaucracy. One common instance is when an American citizen marries a foreign national. The resultant process of the foreign spouse acquiring legal permanent residence, colloquially known as a ‘Green Card’, can be a complex journey. This article delves into the ins and outs of getting a US Marriage Green Card, a crucial step in turning the dream of living together in the US into a reality.
What is a Marriage Green Card?
A marriage green card allows the spouse of a US citizen or a green card holder to live and work anywhere in the US, marking them as a ‘permanent resident’. This status is a substantial step towards eventual citizenship, should the holder choose to apply.
Here are some interesting facts about the Marriage Green Card:
Fact 1: The US issued 1.1 million green cards in 2019, 44 percent of which were due to immediate family connections like marriage (Source: Department of Homeland Security (DHS)).
Fact 2: Being married to a US citizen does not automatically grant you a green card. The process can take several months to years, depending on various factors.
Fact 3: ‘Immigration Scams’ involving marriage are a serious offense in the US, leading to punishments such as imprisonment, fine, or deportation.
Securing a marriage green card typically involves the following steps:
Step 1: Establish the Marriage Relationship
The US citizen or the permanent resident spouse submits Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to establish the validity of the relationship. Proof of an authentic marriage, like a marriage certificate, shared financial resources, or photos together, is required.
Step 2: File for the Green Card
This stage varies depending on whether the spouse seeking the green card lives inside or outside the US. If they reside in the US, they file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence. If they live outside the US, they undergo ‘consular processing’ in their home country.
Step 3: Attend the Biometrics Appointment
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses Biometrics (fingerprints, photo, and signatures) for identity verification and background check.
Step 4: Attend the Interview
Both spouses must attend an interview, where an officer will ask questions to confirm the legitimacy of the marriage.
Step 5: Obtain the Green Card
If the application is approved, the foreign spouse becomes a permanent resident of the US.
While navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth could prove challenging, securing a Marriage Green Card eventually grants the security of permanent residence, underlining the love story with a promising chapter.