What are the marriage Green Card requirements?
Throughout the application process, you will need to show the marriage is lawful, valid, genuine and ongoing.
Your relationship must be bona fide, and you will need to show your intention to live your lives together as a couple to avoid allegations of fraudulent intent to gain immigration benefits.
This means providing documentation to show the marriage is officially recognized in the country or region where it took place, and also confirming with evidence that any previous marriages of either spouse have been legally terminated, ie through divorce, annulment or death of a former spouse.
How long is the Green Card through marriage processing time?
If your spouse is a US citizen and you currently live in the US, application processing is around 10-12 months. If you live overseas, it can take longer, and will usually be more like 12-18 months for a decision.
If your spouse is a US Green Card holder and you live in the US, you can expect processing to take around 3 years. If you live overseas, it is around two to two and a half years.
What happens if the Green Card application is approved?
Within approximately one month of your initial entry to the US, you will be issued your Green Card, which will act as evidence of your lawful, permanent resident status.
The permanent resident card is typically valid for ten years, after which time you will need to apply for renewal of the permanent resident card.
If you have been granted conditional permanent residence, the permanent resident card will be valid for two years. Conditional permanent residence is granted when a US-citizen and non-US citizen spouse have been married for less than two years prior to the date that the non-US citizen spouse was admitted to the US as a permanent resident. In order for the non-US citizen spouse to maintain permanent residence beyond two years they must apply to remove the conditions within the 90-day period before the permanent resident card expires.
When can a Green Card spouse apply for US citizenship?
You can apply for US citizenship after three years with Green Card holder status.
You will need to evidence that you meet the continuous and physical presence requirements, ie that you have spent the majority of the qualifying period living with your US spouse in the United States, and that you meet the other requirements for US naturalization, including being of good moral character, able to read, write and speak English and to demonstrate a basic understanding of the fundamentals of US history and government.
Once a permanent resident has naturalized, they will be entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to US citizens.