Married More Than 2 Years Green Card

Marriage is a beautiful journey that not only unites two souls but also brings along several legal benefits. In the United States, one such benefit is the opportunity for a foreign spouse to obtain a green card through marriage. However, the process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring patience and understanding. In this article, we will explore the topic of obtaining a green card through marriage, focusing on couples who have been married for more than two years. Additionally, we will delve into seven interesting facts about this process, answer fourteen common questions, and provide final thoughts from professionals in the field.

7 Interesting Facts about Obtaining a Green Card through Marriage

1. Conditional Permanent Residence: If a couple has been married for less than two years at the time of the green card application, the foreign spouse is granted conditional permanent residence for a period of two years. After this period, the couple must apply to remove these conditions and obtain permanent residency.

2. Waiving the Joint Filing Requirement: In certain circumstances, such as divorce, abuse, or the death of the U.S. citizen spouse, the foreign spouse may be eligible to waive the joint filing requirement. This allows them to apply for permanent residency independently.

3. Evidence of a Bonafide Marriage: To prove the authenticity of their marriage, couples must provide evidence such as joint bank accounts, property ownership, joint tax returns, and photographs together. This evidence helps establish that the marriage is not solely for immigration purposes.

4. Interview Process: Couples applying for a green card through marriage are typically required to attend an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. During this interview, the officer assesses the validity of the marriage and the eligibility for a green card.

5. Conditional Permanent Resident to Unconditional Permanent Resident: After the two-year conditional period, couples must file a joint petition to remove the conditions on the foreign spouse’s permanent residence. This process requires the couple to provide evidence of their continued marital relationship.

6. The Role of Affidavits: In some cases, couples may submit affidavits from family and friends attesting to the authenticity of their marriage. These affidavits can serve as additional evidence to support the green card application.

7. Naturalization Process: Once the foreign spouse obtains their green card, they can begin the process of naturalization to become a U.S. citizen. However, they must meet certain eligibility requirements, including continuous residence and physical presence in the United States.

Now, let’s address some common questions related to obtaining a green card through marriage:

1. How long does it take to obtain a green card through marriage?

The processing time varies but generally ranges from 10 to 38 months, depending on the USCIS workload and other factors.

2. Can I work while my green card application is pending?

Yes, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work while your green card application is being processed.

3. Is it necessary to hire an immigration attorney?

While not mandatory, hiring an immigration attorney can be beneficial, as they navigate the complexities of the process and ensure all necessary documents are properly filed.

4. What happens if my marriage ends in divorce during the application process?

If your marriage ends in divorce before obtaining unconditional permanent residence, you may still be eligible to apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

5. Can I travel outside the United States during the green card application process?

Yes, you can travel outside the United States, but you must ensure you have the necessary travel documents, such as a valid passport and a reentry permit if you plan to stay abroad for an extended period.

6. Is it possible to obtain a green card through a same-sex marriage?

Yes, same-sex marriages are recognized for immigration purposes, as long as the marriage is legally valid in the jurisdiction it took place.

7. What if my U.S. citizen spouse passed away during the application process?

If your U.S. citizen spouse passes away before obtaining a green card, you may be eligible for a survivor petition, which allows you to continue the application process independently.

8. Can I apply for a green card if I entered the United States illegally?

In most cases, individuals who entered the United States without inspection (illegally) are not eligible to adjust their status within the United States. However, there may be exceptions depending on individual circumstances.

9. Do I need to have a joint bank account or own property together to apply for a green card?

While joint bank accounts and shared property can strengthen your case, they are not mandatory. Other forms of evidence, such as joint tax returns and photographs, can also be used to prove the authenticity of your marriage.

10. Can my green card application be denied?

Yes, there is a possibility of denial if the USCIS officer determines that your marriage is not genuine or if you fail to provide sufficient evidence to support your application.

11. What if my U.S. citizen spouse has a criminal record?

A U.S. citizen spouse’s criminal record does not automatically disqualify the foreign spouse from obtaining a green card. However, certain criminal offenses can complicate the process, and it is advisable to seek legal assistance.

12. Can I include my children in the green card application?

Yes, you can include your children who are unmarried and under 21 years old in your green card application as derivatives.

13. Can I apply for a green card if I overstayed my visa?

In some cases, individuals who have overstayed their visa may still be eligible to adjust their status through marriage. However, it is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to understand your specific circumstances.

14. Is it possible to appeal a denied green card application?

Yes, you have the right to appeal a denied green card application. The appeal process involves submitting a Form I-290B to the USCIS within a specific timeframe.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a green card through marriage can be a lengthy and intricate process, but with patience, preparation, and professional guidance, it is achievable. As one immigration lawyer states, “Navigating the immigration system can be challenging, so it’s crucial to be well-informed and well-prepared.” An immigration officer adds, “Our role is to ensure the integrity of the immigration process and assess the genuineness of marriages.” A couple who successfully obtained a green card through marriage shares, “It took time and effort, but in the end, it was worth it. We are now happily settled in the United States.” Another immigration attorney advises, “If you encounter any difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance. It can make a significant difference in your case.”

In conclusion, the process of obtaining a green card through marriage after being married for more than two years requires careful consideration, substantial evidence, and adherence to the immigration laws and regulations. By understanding the facts, being well-prepared, and seeking professional guidance, couples can navigate the path towards a successful green card application, ultimately allowing them to build a future together in the United States.

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