What Happens If You Marry a U.S. Citizen?

When you marry a U.S. citizen, you will be able to obtain certain benefits. While you’re not eligible to become a U.S. Citizen right away, you are able to start the application to become a permanent green card holder. Before doing this process, consider if this is something you want or need because you’re not required to apply for a green card if you don’t want to.

Location: Do you plan to move to America, or just visit occasionally? If your home base is in your home country, it might not be necessary for you to apply for a green card.

Instead, you may want to look into visa or green card rules and processes for your home country. Applying for a green card in the United States is expensive, so if you don’t need it, don’t waste your time.

Legal Issues: Are you in good standing with the United States to apply for a green card?

If you’ve come to America correctly by obtaining a visa and following the rules, you’re good to go. However, if you’ve entered illegally, especially if it’s been for more than one year, it will be challenging to apply for a green card. Every case is different, so it’s important to talk to an immigration lawyer about your specific situation to find an appropriate solution.

Budget: Applying for a green card is not a free process.

You and your spouse will need to fill out applications that have fees associated with it in order to file. The application cost is around $2,000, not including any lawyer fees you may need to pay. If that is too much for you, don’t waste your time filling out the paperwork as these forms can change. Instead, save up money and when you’re ready, go ahead and file your paperwork.

Submit Your Paperwork to Obtain a Green Card

If you’ve decided to go ahead and apply for your green card, you’re going to need to fill out specific information about yourself, and your spouse that prove you’re really married and that you meet all requirements to obtain a green card. To apply for residency, you must use the following steps after getting married.

  • You must submit your application. Your application will include  Form I-130, which establishes that a valid marriage exists, and Form I-485, which proves that the spouse is eligible for a green card. The forms must be accompanied by the appropriate processing fees and supporting documentation.

  • You’ll receive confirmation from the UCSIS of an in-person interview to determine your application documents’ validity. If approved, you’ll obtain a conditional (if married less than two years) visa or a permanent residency visa (if married over two years).

If you’re confused about the filing process or want to ensure that you’re doing everything the right way to avoid being deported or having to resubmit your paperwork, contact an experienced immigration lawyer today.

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