Minnesota Green Cards Through Marriage Attorney


If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen you can be considered an immediate relative with not quota restrictions. If approved, spouses of U.S. citizens may receive a fast track to a Green Card and permanent residency status in the United States.

The U.S. citizen petitions the USCIS using form I-130 and naming the foreign-born spouse. So long as the alien spouse has entered the U.S. legally, the spouse can file an I-485 package (adjustment of status) and may remain in the U.S.

Typically the alien spouse will receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) in less than 90 days, and can also be eligible to apply for an Advance Parole document which allows travel outside of the U.S. In the event that the alien spouse entered into the country without inspection, the spouse may be required to apply for a Green Card through marriage while residing in the spouse’s home country. However the alien spouse may be eligible for a provisional waiver in the U.S. Attorneys at Tarshish Cody PLC can assist in the proper applications and procedures. Call 952-361-5556.

The marriage must be proven bona fide in order for the alien spouse to obtain a Green Card for permanent residency in the U.S. Proof can be as simple as the affirmation from relatives of the U.S. citizen stating they were present. Other proof can be a deed of joint ownership of property, and joint income tax records, and of course, if the couple have a child.

When a Green Card is granted when the marriage is under two-years-old, the Green Card has a two-year limit. Then within a 90-day time frame prior to expiration, the couple must submit an I-751 form which if granted provides a ten-year Green Card for the alien spouse. However, should the couple divorce prior to expiration of the two-year period, the alien spouse must use form I-751 to petition for a good-faith marriage waiver of the joint petition requirement.

On an annual basis more than 400,000 citizens in the U.S. marry foreign-born spouses and then petition for a Green Card and permanent residency in the U.S. The number is large because such spouses are considered immediate relatives and exempt from all quota restrictions. This is why marriage to a U.S. citizen is considered a fast lane for a Green Card.

Otherwise, marriage by an alien person to a U.S. citizen can be difficult requiring recently wed spouses having to live apart for two years and longer. Our law firm can evaluate whether special circumstances provide better options or benefits under the law. For example in some cases a U.S. citizen can obtain a temporary visa for a fiancé and then marry after the spouse arrives in the U.S.

For a marriage that occurs within the U.S. the U.S. citizen must petition for a visa using form I-130 and submit it to the National Benefits Center in Chicago with proof the marriage is bona fide. That means a determination must be made that the marriage was not arranged for the purpose of obtaining a Green Card. Our attorneys at Tarshish Cody PLC can assist in using this process.

Attached to the I-130 form are biographical forms G-325 for both spouses and with photos:

  • Proof of petitioner’s citizenship status, such as U.S. Passport, Certificate of Naturalization, or any childrens’ birth certificates.
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate
  • Certified copies of documents terminating any previous marriages including final divorce decrees, or confirmation of annulment, or death as required.

The alien spouse must have entered the U.S. legally, and must submit an application form I-485 (adjustment of status) for a Green Card. Documents attached to form I-485 include:

  • Green Card photos
  • Affidavit of support by spouse (form I-864)
  • Application for employment authorization (form I-765)
  • Application for a travel permit (form I-131), also known as Advance Parole. The alien spouse may not have been living in the U.S. for more than 180 days
  • Other forms as required

The application fees for form I-485 are $1490 made out to USCIS. An interview will be scheduled within 90 days. Should the wait exceed 90 days, typically a work card and travel permit will be issued.

For a marriage that occurs outside of the U.S. the immigration process is different. Temporary K-3 and K-4 visa may be issued that allow the spouse and children of citizens in the U.S. which allow temporary visas for entry into the U.S. while paperwork is processed. The process can begin when the citizen spouse petitions for a visa to the USCIS office with jurisdiction in his residence, or directly to a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where the alien spouse resides. The citizen spouse must include documentation listed above as well as the filing fees.

After the visa application has been approved, the alien spouse receives a packet from the U.S. National Visa Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This packet contains information about which documents must be provided during the visa interview abroad. These include a passport, police clearances, medical records, etc. Additional documents such as biographical information which all then must be sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country of the alien spouse. The alien spouse can expect an immigrant visa to be issued within three to six months. There is a fee from the State Department which must be paid.

Occasionally, spouses return to the U.S. after marriage and file visa petitions when the couple are together in the U.S. However, the USCIS discourages this practice. It may occur that the Border Patrol may stop the alien spouse and prevent entry into the U.S. Nevertheless, once in the country, the USCIS does not deny the application or Green Card solely for entry prior to issuance of permanent residency.

There are many details that can significantly impact a married couple’s plans for immigration to the U.S. and our law firm, Tarshish Cody PLC is ready to assist. We welcome your call today at 952-361-5556 (or fill out the free case evaluation form below) to help you through the legal issues of your green card through marriage case.

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