The permanent resident card is commonly referred to as a “Green Card”. The Green Card allows a person to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States. The most popular way to get a Green Card is by marrying a US citizen or Green Cardholder.
The Green Card is not automatically given at the time of marriage. After marriage, a request should be made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To be successful, you must prove that the marriage is genuine, that is, the marriage was not held for the sole purpose of obtaining a Green Card. Also, to obtain a Green card, the sponsored person must be qualified to be admitted to the United States under immigration laws.
When applying to sponsor your partner, you must include all of the following:
- Form I 130 petition for a foreign report on behalf of a spouse
- Form I 485 request for change of permanent resident status (Green Card holder)
- Biographical Form G-325A for each party
- Form I 765 application for employment authorization
- Birth certificate of petitioner / US citizen
- Citizenship documents of the petitioner / US citizen (if applicable)
- Birth certificate of beneficiary/foreigner
- Beneficiary/foreigner’s passport, including I-94 card (if applicable)
- Marriage certificate
- Wedding photos
- Four photos of the beneficiary/foreigner (passport format, photo of the Green Card)
- Two photos of the petitioner / US citizen (passport size)
- Divorce papers for each spouse, if applicable
- Birth certificate for each child belonging to each of the parties, if applicable
- Prerequisite USCIS documents
- The beneficiary’s medical assessment
- The applicant’s financial documents, including all tax returns for the previous three years, letters of employment, pay stubs for the past two months, and a bank statement.
Once all of the documentation is submitted the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin to process the application and begin their investigation. The USCIS is planning an interview, which is intended to determine if the marriage was entered into in good faith and not just a sham intended to obtain a Green Card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) takes fraudulent marriages seriously and accordingly, requires applicants to provide supporting documents to show that the marriage is valid. Each couple must prove to immigration officials that they have lived together and are in a true marital relationship. It cannot be overemphasized that every couple should always tell the truth during the interview.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) looks for evidence that is compatible with a typical married couple. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has a very traditional view of marriage. The documentation provided should support the history of the relationship and your current life as well as, such as marriage and other photos, joint bank statements, bills, joint tax returns, joint bills, joint leases, letters from friends and your family that could serve as testimonials about your relationship, and so on.
During the interview, you should be prepared to answer a lot of detail and broad personal questions. Here are two sample questions you can expect to be asked during the interview: What color is your spouse’s toothbrush? What is the color of the carpet in your living room? If you have been arrested in the past, it is especially important that you have a lawyer present during the interview.
If the examiner is not convinced that the marriage is non-fraudulent, a second more detailed interview will be scheduled. In the second interview, which is known as a Stokes interview, you and your spouse will be interviewed separately so that the interviewer can compare responses later, for consistency.
If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) grants you a Green Card and you have been married for less than two years, you will receive a conditional Green Card or what is commonly referred to as a temporary Green Card. In such a case, the conditional status can be withdrawn jointly by the sponsor and the sponsored spouse by filing a Form I -751 (a petition to remove the residency condition on the basis) within 90 days of the date of the second anniversary of marriage. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may require a second interview in which both parties must be present.
Although the sponsored spouse needs the cooperation of the sponsoring spouse to have the temporary Green Card transformed into a permanent Green Card, there is an exception to this rule. If the sponsored spouse is physically abused by the sponsoring spouse and has commenced divorce action due to the abuse, the sponsored partner can proceed without the sponsoring spouse under the “battered wife” exception.
Once the “conditional” status is removed, the sponsored partner will have a Green Card and will be eligible for US citizenship after three years of marriage or after 4 years and 9 months if unmarried.