If you are married to an American citizen or green card holder, you may be entitled to become an American permanent resident
More information about the process for Marriage Based Green Card
You are eligible for permanent residence in the United States if you are married to a US citizen or green card holder. If this is the case, you will simply need to file a spousal sponsorship application to get the process started. Accurately documenting your relationship is key to the spousal sponsorship application in order to demonstrate that you are, in fact, in a genuine marriage. The relationship can be evidenced through a variety of documentation, including, but not limited to, your valid marriage certificate, as well as sworn affidavits or letters from family and friends. It is also important to include as much other evidence as possible, such as proof of engagement and or wedding ceremony activities, photos, joint bank accounts, copies of written correspondence between you and your partner, emails, phone records showing texts and calls, receipts from joint travel, receipts from gifts, joint leases, shared finances, joint insurance policies, joint memberships and other documents.
As part of the American spousal sponsorship application, it is also necessary to prove intent to reside in the US and your family’s ability to financially support itself in the US without requiring public assistance. This requires an affidavit as well as supporting documents such as an employment letter, tax returns or other documents. If you file a spousal sponsorship application that is approved, you will receive American permanent residence, and can reside, work and study permanently in the US.
Frequently asked questions about (Spousal Sponsorship) Marriage Based Green Card
1. Can I be either in the US or overseas?
Yes. Generally, spouses who reside abroad and wish to join their spouses in the US can be sponsored through consular processing. Prior to approval, the spouse attends an interview at a local consulate where the validity of the relationship will be assessed, along with the applicant’s admissibility and other factors.
Alternatively, if a spouse is already in the US in lawful non-immigrant status, the couple may apply for an “adjustment of status” in order for the spouse to remain permanently. The spouse must remain in the US while the application is pending, but he or she may apply for advance permission to work and travel.
2. Do I have to earn a minimum amount of income in order to sponsor my spouse?
Yes, and it is necessary to demonstrate that the household income is at least 125% of the U.S. poverty level for the household size. Households generally include the sponsor, applicant and any dependents or relatives living with the family. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website publishes poverty guidelines each year to use as a reference. If you are unable to meet this requirement, it may be possible to use cash value of assets of the sponsor, spouse or, in some circumstances, related family members in the household.
3. What if my spouse and I live together but are not married?
For immigration purposes, the US only recognizes legal marriage, which now includes same-sex marriages too. This is different from Canada, where married as well as common-law spouses can sponsor each other.
4. Can we file as soon as we get married?
Yes, as long as it is a genuine marriage. However, if you have been married for less than 2 years, your spouse will be granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis. A separate application is required in order to remove the conditions within 90 days of the expiration of the conditional permanent resident card (green card).
5. How long does the application process take?
While processing times do vary, the application process can take up to a year and a half or longer. Well-prepared documentation can help avoid unnecessary delay.
Why should you hire Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell to represent you?
Our firm has experienced U.S. immigration lawyers who have helped spouses from around the world obtain their US permanent resident status (green cards). We would be happy to assist you by providing advice and handling applications to help achieve your short and long-term US immigration goals. Spousal Sponsorship applications require extensive documentation as well as preparation for an in-person interview. Contact us today to book a consultation or fill out the assessment form.
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