Family-Based and Marriage Green Card Application Process: What You Need to Know

Family-Based and Marriage Green Card Application Process: What You Need to Know

Whenever we think of immigrating to another country, we often have our families in mind. We aim to give ourselves a comfortable life and bring our loved ones with us to help us get through the obstacles of being in a foreign country. It’s always been the goal for families to migrate together or for spouses to petition their other halves to reside in the country with them. Two is better than one, after all. 

While the idea of applying for a US visa seems like an easy task when you think about it, it’s more than just submitting documents and automatically becoming a citizen to enjoy the privileges. Applying for a US visa entails a process that can be confusing and lengthy. However, once you’ve been approved, the results are always well worth it. 

Most of us are familiar with a green card and its purpose. We all know this as the first step to permanent residence and eventual naturalization. Families and spouses seeking to build their lives and grow together in the United States must be aware of the requirements, costs, and possible interview questions asked by immigration to ensure that their application goes smoothly. In the event of a rejection, applicants can take a tip or two here to become aware of the next step for filing appeals. 

To ease all your immigration worries and troubles, consult with a St. Charles immigration lawyer. Our competent immigration attorney will walk you through the entire process and explain any complicated concept to ensure a smooth-sailing green card application for you and your loved ones. 

Marriage-Based Green Card Application 

Once you’ve gotten married and you and your spouse plan to live in the United States, the first step would be to apply for a green card. A green card enables individuals to live and work in the United States, giving them permanent resident status. Once eligible, the individual may now apply for citizenship, usually after three years. 

Obtaining a green card through marriage is a process that involves three steps. Marriage-based green card applications take 9-36 months in total to process, depending on your spouse’s status, be it a US citizen or US green cardholder. Costs for applying for a marriage-based green card depend on your spouse’s status. For a spouse living in the US, the cost is around $1,760, while it is approximately $1,200 for spouses living outside of the US. Other costs that play a role in the total expenditure include medical check-up costs since a medical examination is required for a green card application. 

The next step would be to establish a marriage relationship. Couples can accomplish this by submitting a Form I-130 or the Petition for Alien Relative Form to the USCIS. The petitioner must submit supporting documents that prove a married relationship along with this form. Important documents such as government filing fees, proof of the petitioner’s US citizenship, proof of marriage, proof of termination of previous marriages, and proof of marriage legitimacy are also required. Keep in mind that you must submit all documents to avoid application rejection. 

Upon receiving the I-130 form, the USCIS will determine if the green card beneficiary is eligible. A Form 1-485 is essential for establishing eligibility. This form is also known as Adjustment of Status. This form includes the government fees, proof of nationality, proof of spouse’s lawful entry into the United States, medical examination, and proof of the sponsor’s ability to provide financial support to the beneficiary. The USCIS takes approximately 8-11 months to process the forms. 

Green Card applicants living abroad must file an application package with the National Visa Center (NVC). This process is known as consular processing. The NVC collects information on the spouse applying for a US visa and determines whether they are ready for an interview. 

Consult with a St. Charles, Missouri immigration lawyer to help you settle any worries you may have about applying for a US visa. The lawyer will explain the process to you in an easily understood manner, ensuring a smooth-sailing application process. 

Family-Based Green Card Application 

If you and your family have been considering living a life in the United States, then applying for a family-based green card is the solution you’re looking for. An individual qualifies for a family green card if they have familial relations with a United States citizen. However, acquiring a green card and eventually becoming a citizen is a lengthy one that has plenty of requirements. 

First, you must be eligible for a family-based green card. Eligibility is split into two, namely the immediate relatives and the family preference. Close relatives are for more direct relations with a lawful US citizen, while family preference is for distant relatives who are US citizens. 

Immediate relative classifications include:

  • spouses of US citizens
  • unmarried children of a US citizen under 21 years of age,
  • orphans adopted by a US citizen
  • the parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years of age. 

The criteria for family preference are as follows:

  • An adult and unmarried child of a US citizen 21 years of age and above 
  • Minor child, spouse, unmarried child of a permanent resident
  • A US citizen’s brother or sister, including spouses or minor children with the US sponsor at least 21 years old

Family-based green card also applies to fiance, widows/widowers, and abused spouses or children of lawful permanent residents or US Citizens. 

When applying for a family-based green card, the sponsor must first file a petition on the beneficiaries’ behalf. The documents needed include a Form I-130 known as the green card petition and the I-864 or Affidavit of Support that proves the sponsor can provide for the beneficiaries financially. Expect the I-130 to take six months to a year to process. Missing documents can cause delay, so it is advisable to have all the requirements for a smooth-sailing application. 

When applying for a family-based green card as an immigrant, you must file for an adjustment of status to change your status from nonimmigrant to immigrant to obtain the green card. Immediate relatives of US citizens must file an I-485 along with an I-130. The processing of two forms can mean you can get your green card in a year. 

For family-based green card applications outside of the United States, it is advisable to wait for the I-130 to be approved. After which is the application through consular processing, which involves completing the DS-261 or” Online Choice of Address and Agent,” a form that the National Visa Center uses to collect necessary current information so they can communicate with you. The application can be done online and can take three weeks to process. The DS-260 or “Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application” is known as the green card application, which applicants must submit along with the necessary medical examinations. Upon receiving the immigrant packet and attending the interview, you will be allowed to travel to the US and eventually receive your green card. 

Reasons for Rejecting a Green Card Application 

Rejections happen in plenty of circumstances, not just in dating and job applications. Green card rejections happen more often than we think, and some reasons range from the serious to the mundane. Here are some common reasons why your green card application could be denied.

  • If you are found to be ineligible for a green card or have missing documentation, this could be grounds for rejecting your application. 
  • Failure to show up on the day of the interview can also cost you your chance to get approved. 
  • Details such as being proven to have insufficient financial capability and 
  • USCIS making errors on the application 

All of the above can be reasons for having your green card application denied. 

Should you face this kind of scenario, it is advisable to file or appeal for reopening. If your particular situation does not allow an appeal, you have to refile. Refiling takes quite some time, and its complicated nature would require you to enlist the help of an immigration attorney.

Seek Legal Help from a St. Charles Immigration Attorney

If you are facing issues involving green card application and applying for a US visa, seek the help of a St. Charles, Missouri immigration attorney by contacting Gateway Immigration Law Firm. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you with the processes and requirements involved when applying for a family-based or marriage green card. Schedule your appointment at Gateway Immigration Law Firm now


Sidebar Form

Related Articles

Let our immigration attorneys help you!

Popup form

Get Your Free Copy

[gravityform id="7" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]