How to get a green card through marriage

These stories usually begin as a romantic movie: met online, corresponded, met in person, and he (although sometimes she) called to live overseas. Legal marriage to a US citizen entitles a foreign resident to apply for a green card, and after 3 years of receiving it even to become an American citizen. Together with the foreign spouse to obtain a residence permit may be her or his children up to 21 years.

Get the right to live legally in the United States can and are married to a green card holder, but the process, in this case, could drag on for several years. For spouses of US citizens, the waiting list for a residence permit is not and, as a rule, a green card they are given within six months.

As with any immigration process in the US, this – difficult, and requires a whole pile of documents and a successful interview at Citizenship and Immigration Services, which must prove that the marriage is genuine.

How to collect all the necessary documents, to which items you need to pay special attention to and how many photos you need to show joint migration officer – ForumDaily gathered for you the detailed instruction of registration green card through marriage.

Russian-American love story

They have a long history of relationships at a distance, a lot of guest visits to each other and shared the photos are already occupied several albums. Muscovite Yuliya Abelev never specifically looked for a foreign husband, said their meeting was a fluke.

“I met my husband through mutual friends, we started to visit each other’s homes, met every few months. And then he invited me to visit him in New York and try to live together. I already had a tourist visa, I took 2 children and come to it “, – Yulia says.

During the joint vapor residence finally, I realized that he wanted to be together. Therefore, during the second Yulia’s visit to the US was still the future husband proposed to her, and after a month and a half a pair of painted. As the tourist visa allowed her to stay in the country 6 months, the newly formed family still had time to go on vacation and then start the process of registration of a green card.

But Tatyana Dzhekson, from Novosibirsk, came to the future husband to Arizona for a fiancee visa. They met online, 2 years corresponded, and she finally decided to move. “Our relationship began 4 years ago, met on a dating site, he came to me. I twice tried to make a tourist visa, but I was refused twice “, – says Tatiana.

Under the terms of the fiancee visa for 90 days or a couple of draws relationship, or she returns home. Therefore, the wedding took place one and a half months.

After the celebration and Julia and Tatiana started a long process of gathering documents and filing for a temporary green card.

The process of obtaining a green card: the stages and necessary documents

In order to get a green card through marriage, you need to go through several stages. To begin the application is about the change of status. This means that the Citizenship and Immigration Services, you need to send a large package of documents.

First of all, you need to fill out the forms from the site Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  1. Form I-130 (Petition of Alien to Relative) – it fills a US citizen, thus recognizing their family relationship with the person to whom this petition is served. The fee for this form of – $ 420. On the child of a foreign citizen a form filled in separately;
  2. Form I-485 ( the Application to the Register Permanent Residence or the Adjust the Status ) – application for assignment of a foreigner permanent resident status. The fee – $ 985 for the form, plus $ 85 for the collection of biometric data. Separately, this form must be completed and on the child of a foreign citizen;
  3. Form G-325 and G-325a (Biographic Information Part) – biographical data of both spouses.
  4. Form I-864 (Affidavit of How it works Support) – it fills a US citizen (the sponsor) and thereby undertakes to maintain the foreign spouse/spouse. Sponsor may act not only directly husband-American but any of his relatives or friends living in the United States. This form is free;
  5. Form I-765 (the Permission for the Work the Authorization) – request an alien to obtain a work permit in the US. Fee – $ 385;
  6. Form I-693 (Medical Examination the Results) – conclusion of the medical commission. For the form itself does not need to pay for a doctor appointment – is necessary. It is important to remember that you can only apply to those doctors who are certified by USCIS. Find these can be here. It is better to have on hand was already full list of vaccinations (in English), which you did before. And one more nuance – the results of the survey you’ll get in a sealed envelope, which should not be opened;
  7. Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure record) – a record of the arrival of a foreigner in the country. It can be printed from the website;

Personal documents (copies) of a US citizen:

  1. A birth certificate or naturalization;
  2. Passport;
  3. Marriage certificate;
  4. Evidence of all divorces, if any;
  5. Two photos;
  6. Tax forms and proof of solvency – tax returns for at least the last year, but it is desirable – for 3 years, account statements, documents from work about how much a person earns (it should be at least 125% of the state subsistence level. That is, if family of 2 people, the sponsor must have an annual income of at least $ 20 thousand, if the family has 4 members – about $ 30,500).

Personal documents (copies) for a foreign citizen:

  1. Birth certificate – a copy of the original and the English translation. Notarized translation is not necessary. It can make any person who owns two desired language. At the end of the translation it is important to write: Affidavit of the Translation «I of, … .., hereby certify That I of Competent am to google translate and from Ukrainian (or Russian etc. – here substitute what the original language – Ed..) To English, and that the foregoing is a true and accurate translation of the original » . And do not forget to sign and date;
  2. Passports – national and foreign. At last – a copy of all visas;
  3. The marriage certificate and divorce all, if any, with an English translation;
  4. 6 color photos;
  5. All documents that you have already obtained from the United States – a driver’s license, social security number;
  6. Certificate of conviction – if the person has previously been arrested and need statement for what and when;
  7. If the marriage has changed the name, the explanation in the free form, when and on what basis it had happened.

It is important not just to collect all the documents, but to complete all as thoroughly as possible, says immigration lawyer in New York Lana Schimmel.

“Applications must be filled carefully. This is especially important for people who have been in the US for a while and had some immigration cases – all profiles must coincide with the information that you provide to the Service of Citizenship and Immigration before “, – says Lana Schimmel.

Just how thoroughly you need to check each letter, Julia knows neponaslyshke Abelian. When they started the process of registration of a green card, they decided to immediately contact a lawyer, who to entrust the matter to his assistant. She did in documents unpardonable mistake.

“I have a passport in the name written as Iulia, what this assistant offered me all the documents to write to me as Yulia, they say, will be a normal name. I’m still surprised and asked: what can you? She said yes. And from that started my problems – I came to be fingerprinted, show your passport, I say, why do you have fingerprints rents Yulia, and the documents you show to Iulia “, – says Julia?.

The girl had to prove that it is one and the same person, bring documents that prove that it uses two types of writing his name, and, as a result, all the forms had to refill on the name that was given in her passport. “By the time I managed to issue a driver’s license, get a Social Security number, work permits and other documents, which then had to redo,” – she continues.

When all the documents collected, it must be packed in a box and send it to one of the reception centers of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The list can be viewed here. Also, do not be lazy to make a copy of each document you send, and keep a spare set of documents.

After 2-3 weeks in the mail should come notification that the documents are taken into consideration, and in a month or two – the invitation to surrender biometric data. In a letter to the address, date and time. With a need to take a passport.

Interview: what you need to be prepared

Despite numerous tips on online forums about immigration attorney Lana Schimmel says: in the first package of documents is no evidence that your marriage is real, is not required. Moreover, immigration officers consider such documents will not.

But bring them to the interview be sure to. Here is a list fuzzy, the main thing that the Immigration Service did not raise questions about the veracity of your relationship. What more evidence can provide – the better.

Documents can be as follows:

  1. joint bank account (take statements in a bank, if there is a common credit card, you need to make a photocopy of two cards per sheet of paper);
  2. one residence address (can be granted a driver’s license, identification card of a particular city, membership in local clubs – any documents which would have been written jointly address);
  3. a lease, in which are inscribed the names of both spouses;
  4. receipts for utility services in both names;
  5. a letter from the landlord, in which he confirms that the couple live together;
  6. pictures (together, with friends, better to give those that were before the wedding, during and after);
  7. a letter from the employer stating that the employee’s marital status has changed, and his spouse (wife) specified in the list of emergency contacts;
  8. general health insurance;
  9. listing correspondences between spouses (letters, postcards, correspondence sotsseti);
  10. proof of joint ownership of the vehicle;
  11. evidence of large purchases, the couple made together (technology);
  12. joint trip (hotel reservation printout, ticketing);
  13. a letter from relatives or neighbors who can confirm that you – really steam. “I asked the neighbors who lived next door, to write such a letter. Form – arbitrary “, – says Tatyana Dzhekson.

And Yuliya Abelev even put a certificate from the school, which had already begun to walk her children: “I have collected all the documents for children – from birth certificates to certificates from the school, where it was stated that they attend school in the area where we live.”

The list of documents that you need to take them, usually comes along with the invitation, but to collect them you need to start much earlier – literally immediately after the first set of documents, attorney advises Lana Schimmel.

“An officer does not know you, does not live with you in the house, so he can make a decision based on two things: those documents that you give to him, and the couple behaves in front of him, how to answer questions. Most attention is drawn to the joint documents, especially of a financial nature: joint bank accounts, credit cards, joint tax returns, a testament to one another, health insurance, documents that prove that you have used these insurances. Here’s what they look, “- explains the lawyer.

Tatyana Dzhekson did exactly as the Bar Council – began to collect evidence in advance:

“When I came to the US, I just immediately start to collect it all. If we went somewhere with the children – the husband has children from a previous marriage – I once did a photo. We’ve had a lot of correspondences, sms – I had them printed, dated. All photos signed – one on the photo, date, event. I gathered a lot of evidence, the officer even said that he had never seen such a complete package of documents “.

Yulya Abelev for an interview went not only with her husband, but also with 2 children from a previous marriage. He says they brought 5 albums 100 photos in each, all of the documents that prove the financial viability of her husband, and correctly answered all the questions officers.

“The youngest, my daughter, which at that time was 4 years old, in the middle of an interview said she was very tired and asked for my husband’s lap. The officer looked at it – and somehow his mettle already pougas. It was clear that people just live together “- says Yulia.

At the end of the interview the officer can tell at once – green card is approved or not. Sometimes the notice of the results of the interview comes later in the mail. And if the answer is negative, the chance that the case will not be closed, very little, says attorney Lana Schimmel.

“If, for example, the form incorrectly filled in documents is not enough, or they are made not as it should – the officer may immediately refuse and close your case. Only good officers provide an opportunity to bring some documents. Sometimes. The chances of a successful appeal, if you do not provide all the documents – zero. You’ve just spent a couple of years “, – says the lawyer.

A positive response means that a foreigner receives a temporary green card for 2 years, which is at least 3 months prior to the expiry of the need to change the 10-year-old. “Again, you collect all the documents that you have been together 2 years – all bills, credit cards, a lease for an apartment. And usually in 80-90% of cases in the interview did not cause, permanent green card arrives in the mail, “- continues Lana Schimmel.

How to be in case of force majeure (divorce, death of a spouse, domestic violence)

Tatyana Dzhekson from Arizona said jokingly green card through marriage between a woman referred to as “slave” because totally dependent on her husband, who is sponsoring it and.

In fact, the possibility of an American citizen too exaggerated. Serve on a permanent green card in case of divorce, a foreigner may himself, above all, to live together for at least 6 months, the lawyer says Lana Schimmel. “You just need to indicate that you have so many lived together, but the family split up, divorce, and you describe the circumstances of why the left. And also necessarily need all the documents proving that some time you still lived together. In this case, the chances of getting a green card is very real, “- continues the lawyer.

She also says: the threat of a foreign husband, that he will withdraw the documents for a green card, too, have nothing to do with the law:

“He said that his petition and joint documents – it was all a lie, that he lied to Citizenship and Immigration Services? He’s also fills itself in this case. That is, it can not substitute the wife without in order not to expose themselves. It’s just one of the manipulation, which can take advantage of the spouses are citizens against its second half. “

If it happens that the husband-American is killed, his wife, holder of a temporary green card, it is possible to be made on a permanent separate categories – “widow / widower.” And in this case it is important to prove that you actually got married in order to create a family.

Domestic violence is also ranked as a separate category. That is, if a woman will gather evidence that US-citizen husband uses her physical violence, it can also apply for a permanent green card on their own. The evidence in this case may be police reports, doctor’s certificate about the stay in the hospital, photos beatings testimony.

Either way, be in an unhappy marriage for the sake of a green card Lana Schimmel is not advised:

“Being in a marriage – seriously, and be married when the green card is hanging over your head yet – even more difficult. So I always tell my clients – it is better to get out of this marriage, than to suffer and bring the situation to a tragedy. “

It is also important to remember that the woman who came for fiancee visa can only marry one who this visa for her sponsored the. Otherwise, a green card, she does not get it.

If all goes well, then after 3 years after obtaining a temporary green card, you are eligible to apply for citizenship.


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