While it isn’t true that marrying a US citizen will automatically get you citizenship, it does make it easier to obtain permanent residence, commonly called a green card. This process can be a long one, with a lot of paperwork to fill out. By getting the process started, however, you can ensure that you will eventually be able to get your green card and become a permanent resident of the US.
Step 1 – Get Married and be able to prove it
During the process of obtaining a green card, the US government will require proof of your marriage. This is to prevent people from faking marriages to gain citizenship. A marriage license will be required. In addition, US officials may look for the following proofs of marriage.
• Joint bank accounts, or adding your spouse as a beneficiary on other accounts.
• If you’ve lived together, deeds and/or leases that have both partners’ names.
• Joint tax returns.
• Evidence of a long relationship, like phone records demonstrating that you’ve called each other, or receipts for large purchases.
Step 2 – Fill out and file the necessary paperwork
There are two forms that the two of you will have to file: Form I-130 and Form I-485. You spouse will fill out I-130 and you will fill out I-485 and you will file them together.
• Form I-130 is used for a citizen to establish a relationship between himself and an immediate family member. This form demonstrates that the two partners are married and starts the process for a green card.
• Form I-485 is the application to adjust your status to a permanent resident of the United States. If you’re already living in the US, then getting your green card is a matter of adjusting your status to permanent resident. This form can be filed concurrently with I-130.
Step 3 – Complete and Interview if Required
Sometimes, the US government will want to interview both spouses after all the forms have been completed. If this is the case, attend the interview. You may be approved immediately at the interview, or the approval may come later.
• If you’re already living in the US, this interview will probably take place at a local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
• The main point of the interview is to determine if a couple is actually married, and will usually focus on personal details. If this is the case, you shouldn’t have much trouble answering the questions, but you and your spouse should still review a few key points, including: when/where were you married? How many people attended? Where did you meet? What is the typical division of household chores?
Step 4 – Wait for the Green Card
After the Adjustment of Status is approved, the green card will arrive in the mail within a few weeks.
Contact Wallerstein Law to arrange a free consultation at (310) 438-5857