Marriage Green Card

Getting a Green Card Through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

If you are a U.S. Citizen and are married to an immigrant you have 2 ways to obtain a green card for her.  If she is in the United States then you would go through a process called adjustment of status. That is what this article is about.  If she is outside the United States then you would go through a different procedure that is not covered in this article.  Either way you should consult with a qualified immigration attorney prior to filing any paperwork with USCIS as you can have serious long-term problems if paperwork is not completed correctly or your case is improperly filed.

 


To obtain a green card through marriage you must make sure that you are legally able to get married.   If you got married out of the United States you must make sure you followed their laws concerning marriage.  If you were married before you must make sure that it was terminated.  It can be terminated only through death, divorce or annulment.  This area can be tricky as some people think that they are free to marry (they believe that their divorce was done correctly when it was not) when they are not.  You cannot  file for a green card for your spouse if either of you is still technically married.

Because you are a U.S. Citizen your spouse will be able to get a green card in the United States quickly.  The process should take only 3-7 months.  Most of our cases process from start to finish within 4 months.

The burden will be on you to prove to USCIS that your marriage is legitimate.  You will need to file documents with green card applicationUSCIS. Both of you will file G-325a forms.  In addition, the U.S. Citizen spouse will file form I-130 and proof of citizenship (either a certified copy of his birth certificate, U.S. passport, or copy of naturalization certificate) and a certified copy of divorce, death, or annulment decrees or certificates (if applicable).  He will also need to take and submit passport photos (currently USCIS wants color passport photos and from the front not side angle).

In addition USCIS will require that the U.S. Citizen prove that he can financially support his spouse.  The U.S. government does not want the immigrant to file for welfare or other pubic benefits.  The U.S. Citizen will need to provide 3 years worth of federal tax returns, a letter from his employer showing that he is currently employed and his current income,  and bank statements.

If the U.S. Citizen is not currently working the requirement can be met in other ways. Sometimes U.S. Citizens are not currently working but they have assets that USCIS will accept as proof that the immigrant will not receive public benefits.  If there are not sufficient assets to meet the requirement you can also obtain a co-sponsor.  Because a co-sponsor will be financially responsible for the immigrant usually only close relatives or very close friends tend to be co-sponsors.  The co-sponsor will need to complete an additional I-864 form, turn in bank statements and tax returns to the government. The co-sponsor will need to be a green card holder or U.S. Citizen to qualify.  In addition, they will need to turn in their federal tax returns, bank statements and a letter from their employer just like the U.S. Citizen.

The immigrant needs to provide proof of their legal entry into the Unites States.  However, not all legal entries are sufficient to file for lawful permanent residence, for example people who enter on C visas(Crewman visas) are not eligible to adjust status in the United States. (You should speak to a lawyer before filing anything with USCIS to ensure you are not going to have problems with your case.)
If  the immigrant did not enter legally they might be still eligible to file for their green card. However, this is a complicated area of the law. If the immigrant entered illegally then he or she should definitely consult with an immigration attorney prior to proceeding with the case.  Failure to do so could lead to removal from the United States for 3 to 10 years.
Documents that the Immigrant must submit to USCIS
Birth certificate
6 passport sized photos (color and from the front)
Evidence that the entered the United States legally
Form I-485
Form I-765 (employment authorization)
Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate
Proof of divorces, annulments or death certificate of prior spouse
Medical Exam by USCIS approved Doctor.
Filing Fees
A few weeks after you have filed your case you will receive a receipt notice.   This will let you know that the packet was received by USCIS.
A few weeks later you will receive your a biometrics appointment notice in the mail.  Biometrics is done in order for USCIS to do a security check on the immigrant..
You will then receive an interview notice for your interview. This interview should occur approximately four months after the original documents were filed with USCIS. You may wish to read our blog article titled:  Sample questions for green card interview.
About 3 months after you filed your original documents with USCIS you should receive your employment authorization card from USCIS.  They will mail this card to you.
 If all goes well at the interview then the immigrant should receive her green card  in the mail within 30 days.  However there could be a delay due to an issue with the security clearance or other delays.  Usually this is not a problem.
Do not leave the United States until you receive your green card. If you feel you must leave the country prior to your green card being issued then you may apply for advance parole in order to leave.  However, do not apply for advance parole if you have been in the United States illegally for 180 days or more as you may not be able to return for 3-10 years.  (You should speak to an immigration attorney prior to leaving the United States.)   Also, as an added wrinkle, just because USCIS grants you advance parole does not mean that they will actually allow you to re-enter the United States.  You need to be very careful in this area.
This article is informational in nature and is not intended as legal advice.  Laws can and do change.  You should always consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing any documents with USCIS.  Attorney Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Attorney .  He would be happy to talk to you Free of charge, about your case.  He may be reached at 916-760-7270 or 888-801-6558

 

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  • S. Lucas
    TEMPORARY VISA
    img

    Our experience was amazing. The process was smooth. Larry and Jason helped us every step of the way to get my husband’s temporary visa. When I started getting anxiety about how long it takes, what’s the next step or what if’s, I would call either of them and they had no problems giving me answers. Jason went with us to our meeting with immigration, and made us laugh the whole time. He really helped keep me calm as I suffer from anxiety very badly. A year later, I can still call Larry and ask questions about the next step. I’m very thankful I found these guys!!! Highly recommend them!

  • L. Alvarado Jr.
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    I met the love of my life in China. When I was looking for an Immigration attorney to help me get the K1 Visa for my fiance, I was so glad that I found the Law Office Of Lawrence Gruner. Attorney’s Lawrence Gruner and Jason Marachi gave us excellent representation throughout the whole process and got us through the process very quickly and smoothly. It only took six month’s for my fiance to get her K1 Visa and move to the U.S. with me so we could get married and start our lives together. And in another six month’s later, my wife now has her Green Card. I highly recommend this Law Office for your Immigration Law needs.
    Thank you Mr. Gruner and Mr. Marachi!!

  • M. Obregon
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    Lawrence and his legal team are stellar. They provided an affordable solution to our immigration related legal issues. My wife and I turned to Lawrence and his team from friends that also had a successful experience. Simply, we all agree that it was the right choice. Everything was completed as offered and his legal advice as a lawyer and a friend is always there. Thank You!

SEE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

Top 10 Tips For Acing Your Fiance Visa Interview

Top 10 Tips For Acing Your Fiance Visa Interview

1. The number one thing you can do to make sure you do well at your  K-1 visa interview is to know your fiancé very well. You should know about his past (previous marriages, criminal matters etc.) and know all about his current tips for fiance interviewsituation (where he works, where he lives, does he have children etc.)
2. Talk to your fiancé and review the facts surrounding your relationship prior to the interview. Be able to explain the relationship in detail, how you met , when you met, when the relationship became serious, when you were formally engaged, what attracts you about your fiancé. What does your fiancé do in the United States, do they have living parents, children, siblings, what are your joint plans for the future.
3. Bring documentation to proved the validity of your relationship, if your fiancé sends you money, bring the proof, bring the documentation to show the time you spend together, to prove your contacts through social media, joint photos, trips you’ve taken together
4.You should also review any and all paperwork which was filed in your case. Look at the questions and answers on every form. You want to be able to bring to the attention of the immigration officer any mistakes in the paperwork. (If you discover mistakes in your paperwork you should consult with an attorney on how to handle the situation before the interview.)
You will also review the paperwork in order to know what the immigration officer knows about your case. The paperwork you filed will be the minimum he know about your case.
5. Bring all the paperwork that the embassy requests you to bring to the interview. This also includes your entire K-1 package and supporting documents that you have filed during the case. Bring more documents than you think are necessary. You do not want problems to occur in your case simply because you left a document at home.
6  Never lie or mislead the Immigration Officer at your interview. Tell the truth. Lying can have long lasting and very severe consequences in your case.
7. Never argue with the Immigration Officer handling your interview. Always stay calm. In the history of fiancé visa interviews I do not think arguing has ever improved the chances of a fiancé obtaining a fiancé visa.
8. Answer the question you have been asked. Do not go off on tangents about things you think the immigration officer needs to know. He will ask you what he needs to know.
get a temporary visa what is a temporary visa9. Stay calm and do not appear nervous. The entire interview is likely to last only 15-30 minutes. It could even be shorter if the Immigration Officer is satisfied with the file and the interview.
10. Do not, under any circumstances, open the thick sealed envelope that you receive at the end of your interview. Doing so can have very severe consequences including having your fiancé visa revoked and a denial of entry into the United States for years.
Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney, k1 visa attorney  and green card attorney located in Sacramento California.  He would be happy to talk to you Free of Charge about your case. He may be reached at 888-801-6558
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  • S. Lucas
    TEMPORARY VISA
    img

    Our experience was amazing. The process was smooth. Larry and Jason helped us every step of the way to get my husband’s temporary visa. When I started getting anxiety about how long it takes, what’s the next step or what if’s, I would call either of them and they had no problems giving me answers. Jason went with us to our meeting with immigration, and made us laugh the whole time. He really helped keep me calm as I suffer from anxiety very badly. A year later, I can still call Larry and ask questions about the next step. I’m very thankful I found these guys!!! Highly recommend them!

  • L. Alvarado Jr.
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    I met the love of my life in China. When I was looking for an Immigration attorney to help me get the K1 Visa for my fiance, I was so glad that I found the Law Office Of Lawrence Gruner. Attorney’s Lawrence Gruner and Jason Marachi gave us excellent representation throughout the whole process and got us through the process very quickly and smoothly. It only took six month’s for my fiance to get her K1 Visa and move to the U.S. with me so we could get married and start our lives together. And in another six month’s later, my wife now has her Green Card. I highly recommend this Law Office for your Immigration Law needs.
    Thank you Mr. Gruner and Mr. Marachi!!

  • M. Obregon
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    Lawrence and his legal team are stellar. They provided an affordable solution to our immigration related legal issues. My wife and I turned to Lawrence and his team from friends that also had a successful experience. Simply, we all agree that it was the right choice. Everything was completed as offered and his legal advice as a lawyer and a friend is always there. Thank You!

SEE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

10 Best Tips For Your Fiance Visa Interview

10 Best Tips For Your Fiance Visa Interview

1. The number one thing you can do to make sure you do well at your  fiance visa interview is to know your fiancé very well. You should know about his past (previous marriages, criminal matters etc.) and know all about his current situation (where he works, where he lives, does he have children etc.) Knowing your fiancé well will put you in the best position to ace the fiancé visa interview.

2. Talk to your fiancé and review the facts surrounding the history of your relationship prior to the interview. You should know when you met, how you met and how the relationship developed. You should also know your joint plans for the future.

3. You should also review any and all paperwork which was filed in your case. Look at the questions and answers on every form. You want to be able to bring to the attention of the immigration officer any mistakes in the paperwork. (If you discover mistakes in your paperwork you should consult with an Immigration attorney on how to handle the situation before the interview.)

4. Bring all the paperwork that the embassy requests you to bring to the interview. This also includes your interview notice, your entire K-1 package and all supporting documents that you have filed during the case. Also bring documentation available to prove the “bona fides” of the relationship e.g. proof of contact with each other through cards, social media, phone etc.

5. If your American fiancé is sending you money for support bring proof of that support to your interview.

6. Never lie or mislead the Immigration Officer at your interview. Tell the truth. Lying can have long lasting and very severe consequences in your case.

7. Never argue with the Immigration Officer handling your interview. Always stay calm. In the history of fiancé visa immigration-interviewinterviews I do not think arguing has ever improved the chances of a fiancé obtaining a fiancé visa.

8. Answer the question you have been asked. Do not go off on tangents about things you think the immigration officer needs to know. He will ask you what he needs to know.

9. Stay calm and do not appear nervous. It is normal to be nervous. However, try not to act nervous as it could appear that you are trying to hide something or that you are not telling the truth (which you should be). The entire interview is likely to last only 15-30 minutes. It could even be shorter if the Immigration Officer is satisfied with the file and the interview.

10. Do not, under any circumstances, open the thick sealed envelope that you receive at the end of your interview. Doing so can have very severe consequences including having your fiancé visa revoked and a denial of entry into the United States for years.

Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney, a  Fiance Visa Attorney and a Fiance Visa Lawyer with other 20 years of experience handling fiancé visa and other immigration cases. He would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your immigration case. He may be reached at 888-801-6558

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

  • S. Lucas
    TEMPORARY VISA
    img

    Our experience was amazing. The process was smooth. Larry and Jason helped us every step of the way to get my husband’s temporary visa. When I started getting anxiety about how long it takes, what’s the next step or what if’s, I would call either of them and they had no problems giving me answers. Jason went with us to our meeting with immigration, and made us laugh the whole time. He really helped keep me calm as I suffer from anxiety very badly. A year later, I can still call Larry and ask questions about the next step. I’m very thankful I found these guys!!! Highly recommend them!

  • L. Alvarado Jr.
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    I met the love of my life in China. When I was looking for an Immigration attorney to help me get the K1 Visa for my fiance, I was so glad that I found the Law Office Of Lawrence Gruner. Attorney’s Lawrence Gruner and Jason Marachi gave us excellent representation throughout the whole process and got us through the process very quickly and smoothly. It only took six month’s for my fiance to get her K1 Visa and move to the U.S. with me so we could get married and start our lives together. And in another six month’s later, my wife now has her Green Card. I highly recommend this Law Office for your Immigration Law needs.
    Thank you Mr. Gruner and Mr. Marachi!!

  • M. Obregon
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    Lawrence and his legal team are stellar. They provided an affordable solution to our immigration related legal issues. My wife and I turned to Lawrence and his team from friends that also had a successful experience. Simply, we all agree that it was the right choice. Everything was completed as offered and his legal advice as a lawyer and a friend is always there. Thank You!

SEE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

4 Big Lies About Immigration

The Huffington Post ran an interesting article today titled “The 4 Big Lies About Immigration–and the Truth“.  The article was written by Robert Reich.  Robert Reich was the secretary of labor in the Clinton administration.  He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; author, ‘”Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few”

It is a great article and it argues that immigrants have been a benefit to our country and not a detriment.  He shows that Immigrants do not take away American jobs but rather they add to economic demand which pushes businesses immigration tipsto create more jobs.  In addition, because our country as a whole is aging we need more workers to support our retirees.  Moreover, he argues that immigrants do not drain our public budgets.  Instead, because they pay taxes ( a report showed that undocumented immigrants paid $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012 and that would increase by $2.2 billion if comprehensive immigration reform passes) they help our public budgets. He also asserts  that illegal immigration is decreasing and not increasing.  In conclusion he blames the economic problems of the middle class on the handful of individuals at the top who are rigging our economic system.  Comprehensive immigration reform should be passes in order to give those who are undocumented a path to citizenship. “Scapegoating them and other immigrants is shameful. And it’s just plain wrong.”

 

Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney and fiancé visa attorney with over 20 years of experience handling immigration cases.  He would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your immigration case.  He can be reached at 888-801-6558.  His main office is located in Sacramento California.  He handles cases throughout California, the United States and the World.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

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  • S. Lucas
    TEMPORARY VISA
    img

    Our experience was amazing. The process was smooth. Larry and Jason helped us every step of the way to get my husband’s temporary visa. When I started getting anxiety about how long it takes, what’s the next step or what if’s, I would call either of them and they had no problems giving me answers. Jason went with us to our meeting with immigration, and made us laugh the whole time. He really helped keep me calm as I suffer from anxiety very badly. A year later, I can still call Larry and ask questions about the next step. I’m very thankful I found these guys!!! Highly recommend them!

  • L. Alvarado Jr.
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    I met the love of my life in China. When I was looking for an Immigration attorney to help me get the K1 Visa for my fiance, I was so glad that I found the Law Office Of Lawrence Gruner. Attorney’s Lawrence Gruner and Jason Marachi gave us excellent representation throughout the whole process and got us through the process very quickly and smoothly. It only took six month’s for my fiance to get her K1 Visa and move to the U.S. with me so we could get married and start our lives together. And in another six month’s later, my wife now has her Green Card. I highly recommend this Law Office for your Immigration Law needs.
    Thank you Mr. Gruner and Mr. Marachi!!

  • M. Obregon
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    Lawrence and his legal team are stellar. They provided an affordable solution to our immigration related legal issues. My wife and I turned to Lawrence and his team from friends that also had a successful experience. Simply, we all agree that it was the right choice. Everything was completed as offered and his legal advice as a lawyer and a friend is always there. Thank You!

SEE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

DACA 3 years later

Vox ran interesting story recently titled: “3 Years Later, the young immigrants Obama protected are feeling less afraid-and more American“.

The article talks about how the 680,000 people who have benefited from DACA have settled into their new normal and how they are more stable in their daily lives.  They are also reaping psychological benefits from not having to fear being deported on a daily basis.  In addition they are regaining the upward career mobility that they used to believe that they would have when they were children.

“Unauthorized immigrants are eligible to apply for DACA if they’re under 30 and came to the US before they were 16. Many of those who’ve applied came much earlier, as children. That puts them squarely in what demographers call the “1.5 generation” of immigrant families. Technically, they’re the first generation of their family to come to the US — just like their parents are. But their life experiences have been more like those of children born in the US to immigrant parents, or “second-generation” immigrants: They’ve grown up in the US, speak English fluently, and attended US schools.”   Many of these young people didn’t realize that there was anything different about them until their mid to late teenage years.  This was exactly the time they became eligible for Deferred Action.

Deferred Action has allowed ” young unauthorized immigrants to live in the US, go to school legally, work legally, and drive legally. (DACA doesn’t guarantee drivers’ licenses, but every state’s laws allow immigrants with DACA to get licensed.)

Virtually all DACA recipients have taken advantage of at least one of those privileges. The new UWD survey found that 90 percent of respondents had gotten a driver’s license and 40 percent had bought their first car. Eighty percent of respondents were employed — and nearly all of them (76 percent of all respondents) had gotten a better-paying job since getting their DACA status. Additionally, 30 percent of respondents said they’d returned to school, and 31 percent said they’d qualified for additional financial aid. (Having DACA status doesn’t allow students to fill out the federal financial aid forms, but some schools and private institutions offer scholarship.”

Also, according to the article, “because DACA recipients can work legally and many of them are earning more money, they’re in a better position to help their families make ends meet: 59 percent of survey respondents say they can better help their families financially now that they have DACA, and 62 percent help families pay the bills. Because they can drive legally, they can help drive their families around: 41 percent say they’re drivers for their families. And in some cases, their greater financial legitimacy is something they open up to their families as well: 12 percent of DACA recipients surveyed said their name is on their family’s lease; 12 percent said their family uses their credit card; and 11 percent said their family uses their bank account.

There’s also the more traditional work that 1.5-generation and second-generation kids do for their immigrant parents: 72 percent of respondents help their parents fill out official documents, and 70 percent of them help translate. As the sociologist Ruben Rumbaut has pointed out, it’s common for the adult children of immigrants to play this role: to contribute to their parents financially and serve as “cultural brokers.” But immigrants with DACA can also go places their parents might be afraid to go. Thirty-seven percent of United We Dream survey respondents said they attended “important meetings, like parent-teacher conferences,” on their parents’ behalf.”

Overall it appears that DACA has helped many families in our country.  My office has worked on deferred action cases for many of our clients over the years.  These young people dress and act like other U.S. born high school students, college students and other U.S. born young people.  They definitely have grown up with American values and culture and view the United States as their country.  Their home.  I am very happy to see that overall deferred action has helped these young people.  It has helped them contribute to a country that they love.  Deferred Action has been good for them, their families, and our country. It has been a good 3 years.

 

Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Attorney, a green card attorney, and a fiancé visa attorney with over 20 years of experience handling immigration cases.  He would be happy to talk to you about your immigration case.  You may reach him at 916-760-7270.

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

  • S. Lucas
    TEMPORARY VISA
    img

    Our experience was amazing. The process was smooth. Larry and Jason helped us every step of the way to get my husband’s temporary visa. When I started getting anxiety about how long it takes, what’s the next step or what if’s, I would call either of them and they had no problems giving me answers. Jason went with us to our meeting with immigration, and made us laugh the whole time. He really helped keep me calm as I suffer from anxiety very badly. A year later, I can still call Larry and ask questions about the next step. I’m very thankful I found these guys!!! Highly recommend them!

  • L. Alvarado Jr.
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    I met the love of my life in China. When I was looking for an Immigration attorney to help me get the K1 Visa for my fiance, I was so glad that I found the Law Office Of Lawrence Gruner. Attorney’s Lawrence Gruner and Jason Marachi gave us excellent representation throughout the whole process and got us through the process very quickly and smoothly. It only took six month’s for my fiance to get her K1 Visa and move to the U.S. with me so we could get married and start our lives together. And in another six month’s later, my wife now has her Green Card. I highly recommend this Law Office for your Immigration Law needs.
    Thank you Mr. Gruner and Mr. Marachi!!

  • M. Obregon
    IMMIGRATION LAW
    img

    Lawrence and his legal team are stellar. They provided an affordable solution to our immigration related legal issues. My wife and I turned to Lawrence and his team from friends that also had a successful experience. Simply, we all agree that it was the right choice. Everything was completed as offered and his legal advice as a lawyer and a friend is always there. Thank You!

SEE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US