f you’re a non-US citizen married to a US citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for a green card through marriage. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers two types of green marriage cards: the I601 and the I601A. In this article, we’ll guide you through obtaining a green card through marriage and provide you with everything you need to know about the I601 and I601A forms.
An experienced immigration attorney like at The Ranchod Law Group can be a valuable asset when applying for a green card through marriage.
What is a Green Card?
First, let’s define what a green card is. A green card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is an identification card that proves your lawful permanent residency in the United States. With a green card, you can live and work in the US permanently and have the same rights and responsibilities as US citizens, except for the right to vote.
Eligibility for a Green Card through Marriage
A US citizen or permanent resident must be married to be eligible for a green card through marriage. Additionally, you must meet specific requirements, such as:
- You must have entered the US legally
- You must not have violated any immigration laws
- You must not have a criminal record
- It would help if you did not have a medical condition that would make you inadmissible to the US
- You must be able to prove that your marriage is bona fide (i.e., not a sham marriage for immigration purposes)
The I601 and I601A Forms
The I601 and I601A are forms you may need to complete and submit as part of your green card application process. I601 form seeks waiver of grounds of inadmissibility to allow ineligible green card applicants to become eligible through USCIS.
The I601A form, on the other hand, is used to apply for a provisional waiver of inadmissibility. This means you’re requesting a waiver before leaving the US to attend your green card interview in your home country. The approved waiver allows leaving US for an interview, with inadmissibility grounds waived.
Steps to Obtaining a Green Card through Marriage
Now that you know the basics of green cards and the I601 and I601A forms, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to obtain a green card through marriage:
File Form I-130:
First, your US citizen or permanent resident spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS. This form establishes the relationship between you and your spouse.
Submit Supporting Documents:
Along with the I-130 form, you must submit supporting documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and passports, to prove your eligibility for a green card.
Complete Form I-485:
You can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after the approval of your I-130 form. This form is used to apply for a green card.
Attend Biometrics Appointment:
Once you submit your I-485 form, you must attend a biometrics appointment where they will take your fingerprints and photo.
Attend Green Card Interview:
If USCIS approves your I-485 form, you will be required to attend a green card interview. The interviewer will ask you questions about your marriage and eligibility for a green card during this interview.
Submit I601 or I601A Forms:
Depending on your situation, you may need to submit the I601 or I601A form as part of your green card application process. If you need to request a waiver of inadmissibility, you must file the I601 form. If you need to apply for a provisional waiver of inadmissibility, you must file the I601A form.
Wait for USCIS Decision:
After you’ve submitted all the required forms and documents, you’ll need to wait for USCIS to decide on your green card application. The processing time can vary depending on various factors, such as the backlog of applications, the complexity of your case, and the accuracy of your submitted documents.
Tips for a Successful Green Card Application
Obtaining a green card through marriage can be a lengthy and complicated process, but there are several things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Ensure your marriage is bona fide and not a sham for immigration purposes.
- Provide accurate and complete information on your forms and supporting documents.
- Double-check that all the required forms and documents have been submitted.
- Attend all the necessary appointments and interviews.
- Hire an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and help you avoid common mistakes.
Immigration Attorney Assistance
An immigration attorney can provide invaluable assistance throughout the green card application process. They can help you navigate the complex and often confusing immigration system and increase your chances of success.
Here are some ways that an immigration attorney can help you:
Explain the process:
An immigration attorney can guide you through the green card application process and explain the requirements and deadlines involved.
Assist with forms and documents:
An attorney can help you fill out and file the required forms and documents, ensuring they are accurate and complete.
Provide legal advice:
An attorney can provide legal advice on complex issues, such as eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility or the impact of a criminal record on your application.
Represent you in court:
If your case is denied or you need to appear in immigration court, an attorney can represent you and advocate.
Help you avoid mistakes:
An attorney can help you avoid common mistakes that can result in delays or denials of your green card application.
Stay up-to-date on changes in the law:
Immigration laws and regulations can change frequently, and an attorney can help you stay informed of any changes affecting your case.
Obtaining a green card through marriage can be life-changing for non-US citizens. You can increase your chances of success by following the steps outlined in this article and ensuring that your application is accurate and complete. Remember the I601 and I601A forms, as they may be necessary depending on your situation.
How long does it take to obtain a green card through marriage?
The processing time can vary depending on various factors, but it typically takes 10-13 months.
Can I apply for a green card through marriage if I enter the US illegally?
No, you must have entered the US legally to be eligible for a green card through marriage.
Can I work while my green card application is being processed?
Yes, you can work in the US while your green card application is being processed by obtaining a work permit.
What happens if my green card application is denied?
You may be able to appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider the case.
How much does it cost to apply for a green card through marriage?
The total cost can vary depending on various factors, but it typically ranges from $1,760 to $2,860.