A Green Card is another name for the authorization which allows immigrants to permanently live and work in the United States. The more technical name is “Lawful Permanent Resident Card”. Green Card holders are also known as “Permanent Residents”.
One who has a Green Card is allowed to emigrate to the United States and live here permanently. In comparison, a foreign national who holds a nonimmigrant visa is dependent on the employer who sponsored the non-immigrant visa in order to remain legally and work in the United States. Green Card holders can choose where and how to work in the United States without limits.
Marriage Green Card
In order to obtain immigration benefits from a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, there must be a bona fide marriage. A foreign national can apply for a marriage green card even if you have overstayed a visa as long as you were inspected and admitted into the United States.
The spouse of a U.S. citizen is considered an “immediate relative” which means they are not held against any quota restrictions for receiving green cards through marriage. The first step is that the U.S. citizen would need to submit Form I-130 on behalf of their spouse and if they entered the U.S legally, they can file the I-485 adjustment of status in order to stay within the U.S. concurrently with the I-130 if the spouse is physically present in the United States.
The foreign national will be eligible to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within a 4-5 months window and in some cases may be approved for an advance parole document which will allow him/her to travel outside the US and re-enter. If a green card is obtained where the couple has been married for less than 2 years, a 2-year conditional green card will be issued. To receive a permanent green card the couple needs to submit Form I-751 within the 90-day period before the expiration of the 2-year green card.
What happens if I get divorced before the end of the 2 year conditional green card?
If a foreign national gets divorced from the Petitioner before the expiration of the conditional 2-year green card, the spouse must file Form I-751 and request a “good faith marriage waiver”.
Unmarried children under the age of 21 and parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old may apply for a green card as an immediate relative. There are many specific issues involved in applying a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. Our immigration lawyers assist with every step of the process in order to ensure a successful result.
A marriage that is legally valid but lacks evidence of bona fides can be determined to be a sham marriage, entered into by the parties to obtain immigration benefits and without any intention to live together as husband and wife. Couples applying for a fiancée visa or marriage based green card should be fully prepared for immigration officials review of their applications to ensure that the marriage is legitimate and bona fide.