If you are a foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for a marriage-based green card. However, the application process can be a long and complicated one, and requires a significant amount of documentation. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of the documents required for a marriage-based green card application.
The process of obtaining a green card based on marriage involves submitting several documents that prove the validity of your marriage and your eligibility for permanent residence in the United States. These documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of financial support, and other forms of identification. In this task, we will discuss the various documents required for this process.
Required Documents for the U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency
The first document that you will need to provide is proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. This can be done by providing a copy of your birth certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalization (for U.S. citizens), or your green card (for permanent residents).
Proof of Identity
You will also need to provide proof of your identity, such as a driver’s license or state ID card.
Proof of Income
To sponsor your spouse, you will need to show that you have enough income to support them. You will need to provide your most recent tax return, along with proof of current employment and income, such as pay stubs or an employment letter.
Proof of Relationship
You will need to provide evidence that you are in a bona fide marriage with your spouse. This can include wedding photos, joint bank account statements, and letters from friends and family attesting to the legitimacy of your relationship.
Required Documents for the Foreign National Spouse
Your spouse will need to provide a copy of their birth certificate, along with a certified translation if it is not in English.
Your spouse will also need to provide a copy of their passport, including all pages with stamps or visas.
You will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate, along with a certified translation if it is not in English.
Your spouse will need to obtain a police certificate from every country where they have lived for 6 months or more since the age of 16. This certificate must be less than 1 year old at the time of the green card interview.
Medical Exam Results
Your spouse will need to undergo a medical exam by a USCIS-approved physician and provide the results at the green card interview.
Other Required Documents
Affidavit of Support
You will need to submit an Affidavit of Support, which is a legal contract between you and the U.S. government in which you agree to financially support your spouse. This document requires you to provide detailed information about your income, assets, and debts.
You will need to complete and submit various application forms, including Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
You will need to pay filing fees for each of the application forms submitted. The current fees are listed on the USCIS website.
You and your spouse will need to submit passport-style photos with your application.
FAQs for documents required for marriage based green card
What documents are required for a marriage based green card application?
There are several documents that must be submitted when applying for a marriage based green card, including:
1. Marriage certificate or proof of a valid marriage
2. Birth certificates of both spouses
3. Passport or government-issued photo identification for each spouse
4. Proof of lawful entry into the United States
5. Evidence of a bona fide marriage, such as joint bank account statements, joint lease or mortgage documents, photographs, and affidavits from friends and family
6. Police clearance certificates from any country where either spouse has resided for at least 6 months since the age of 16
7. Affidavit of support from the petitioner to demonstrate financial ability to support the immigrant spouse.
What if my birth certificate is not in English?
If your birth certificate is not in English, it must be translated by a certified translator and submitted along with the original document. If the translator is not certified in the United States, the translation must also be accompanied by a notarized statement attesting to the translator’s qualifications and the accuracy of the translation.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for a marriage based green card?
While it is not required to have a lawyer to apply for a marriage based green card, it is highly recommended. The application process can be complex and mistakes can lead to delays or even denials. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that all documents are in order, guide you through the process, and represent you in any necessary interviews or hearings.
How long does it take to receive a marriage based green card?
The processing time for a marriage based green card can vary, but typically takes between 10 months to 2 years. The exact time frame depends on several factors such as backlog of applications, number of applicants, and complexity of the case.
How much does it cost to apply for a marriage based green card?
As of 2021, the filing fee for a marriage based green card application is $1,760, which includes the cost of biometric services. In addition, other fees such as attorney fees and costs associated with obtaining necessary documents can add to the total cost.
What if I am already in the United States on a different visa?
If you are already in the United States on a different visa, you may be eligible to file an adjustment of status to obtain a marriage based green card. In this case, additional documents such as your current visa, I-94 arrival and departure record, and a copy of the approved I-797 for any previously filed petitions or extensions may be required.