Getting a green card through marriage usually involves three basic steps:
- Establishing a marital relationship: File form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The main purpose of this form is to establish that a valid marriage exists through the application and supporting documents.
- Apply for the green card: File Form I-485 if in the US and the applicant is eligible for a green card from within the US, OR file applications through the National Visa Center (“NVC”). The NVC will collect the documents and application (DS 260) and forward them for “consular processing” when your spouse is ready for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Generally, the consular process takes more time than the adjustment process in the U.S. Sometimes consular processing is the only option for certain applicants.
- Attend the green card interview: In most cases, the final step is the green card interview, which involves questions to determine the authenticity of your marriage.
I recommend that you see me or another immigration attorney before beginning the green card application process. If you have already begun the process, I can help by providing advice in a single consultation or by becoming your attorney for the rest of the case . Even if you decide to proceed without an attorney, you will have a better idea of what to expect during the green card process and learn about potential snags in the process that would warrant hiring a lawyer. In any consultation we would discuss any possible barriers to eligibility for the green card such as a criminal background, a previous removal or deportation from the U.S., and many other legal issues. My work with clients around the world and in the US helps make complicated procedures and paperwork go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.