Spouses of U.S. Citizens (Marriage Based Green Cards)

Spouses of U.S. Citizens (Marriage Based Green Cards)

Obtaining a green card through marriage is the fastest way to obtain residency in the US. Marriage based green card petitions are closely examined by the USCIS to ensure that the marriage is legitimate and not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining the residency.


Our firm works with clients around the world who are seeking marriage based green cards and other family visas. Our attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of marriage green card cases and we can guide you through the entire process and prevent unnecessary mistakes or delays. The entire process can be efficiently handled over the phone and through email.


Adjustment of Status


You can apply for the adjustment of status if you are inside the United States and entered legally. If you entered unlawfully/without inspection you might not “admissible” and eligible for adjustment of status. In that case. However, you might be eligible to apply for a provisional waiver in the United States.

Consular Processing


If the foreign national spouse is outside of the U.S. the process begins when the citizen spouse submits a visa petition to the USCIS. This process can take over 6 months.


Once the petition is approved, the USCIS will forward the petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). You will be required to provide additional information about your relative(s) who intend to come to the United States, as well as an affidavit of support. After the NVC is satisfied with all the documents and fees you have submitted, the petition will be forwarded to the U.S. Consulate having jurisdiction over your foreign relative’s residence abroad. Thereafter, the Consulate will notify you or your relative for an interview for permanent residence accordingly.


Marriage green card Process:


Once the marriage has taken place, the couple files the application with USCIS along with all appropriate forms, supporting documents and filing fees. Thirty days after the application is filed, the USCIS will contact you regarding the Biometrics Appointment. The USCIS will then issue the work and travel authorization approximately 90 days after filing. The USCIS will contact you next to schedule an interview. This will be anywhere from 4-8 months after filing the initial application. Following a successful interview, the foreign national spouse will receive the green card. USCIS will mail the green card approximately within 30 days after the successful interview. The green card will be valid for 2 years if you were married for less than 2 years at the time of the green card approval. Before the 2 year mark you should apply for the removal of conditional residency.


Fraud Interview/ Stokes Interview


If the USCIS suspect the legitimacy of the marriage it will summon you and your spouse for the second interview called “Stokes” interview.


During this interview you and your spouse will be separately questioned and the officer will compare your answers at the end of the interview and see whether they match up. You should consider hiring a lawyer to prepare you for the interview, and attend the interview with you. The experienced attorney will be able to prepare you and follow up with any additional requests by the USCIS.


Government fees:

  • $535 for the Immigrant Relative Petition and
  • $1,225 for the Adjustment of Status Application and Biometrics. Filing fees for work authorization and advance parole are waived when these two items are applied for as part of the green card through marriage application.
  • Medical Examination- Rates vary by physician.

Important Information:

  • If you depart the U.S. while your I-485 application is pending without first obtaining advance parole, your case will be denied unless you fit into a narrow exception for those maintaining certain non immigrant statuses.


To learn more about your options contact our San Francisco law firm to speak with one of our immigration attorneys.