Green Card through Marriage is one way to become a permanent resident of the United States. What are the most common questions for applicants?
Can we get married to a U.S. citizen abroad or we need to get married in the U.S.?
You can get married to a U.S. citizen in almost any country abroad, and your marriage should be considered internationally valid in any other country, including the United States. If you want to register your marriage in the U.S., you can check with your local U.S. city or state government on how to register your international marriage locally but that is generally not necessary for immigration purposes, in order to apply for a green card.
For how long do we have to be married before applying for a green card?
Generally, if you plan to live permanently in the U.S., as soon as you get married your husband or wife (American citizen) can petition and apply for an immigrant visa for you (also known as a green card or permanent residence). There is no waiting time to start the application process unless you have been previously deported or have a bar and are not allowed to enter the U.S. for a certain period of time.
There are some advantages to becoming a green card after being married for two years because people that are approved for an immigrant visa or permanent residence before being married for two years would receive a green card with conditions, also known as conditional resident status. Then the green card holder and the U.S. citizen spouse are required to file jointly to remove the conditions on the residency using Form 1-751 (Joint Petition to Remove Conditional Basis of Alien’s Permanent Resident Status) during the 90-day period before 2 years of having a conditional permanent resident status.
U.S. immigration law does not recognize common-law relationships; therefore, a partner or fiancée is not eligible to apply for a derivative visa status or a green card through his partner