If you are married to a US citizen and wish to reside in the United States with your spouse, you may be interested in applying for a marriage green card. To discover whether you are eligible to apply for a green card through your spouse and a few important details about the application process, simply continue reading.

Eligibility

If you are legally married to a US citizen or a US resident, you are eligible to apply for residency in the United States. However, if you have not gone through a legal wedding ceremony, which is recognized in the United States, you are not eligible to get a marriage visa and should instead look into the possibility of applying for a K1 fiance visa. If you decide to apply for a K1 fiance visa, you'll need to hold a legal wedding ceremony in the United States, within 90 days of entering the country. If this ceremony is not held, you will be asked to leave the United States and will have your residency request declined.

Keep in mind that the process for applying for residency through marriage is slightly different if your wedding took place outside of the United States.

Previous Marriages

If you were married in the past and were widowed or your partner was previously married, you'll need to provide proof that any previous marriages are void. If you were previously married and your spouse passed away, you'll need to provide a copy of your deceased spouse's death certificate. Alternatively, if you went through a divorce, you'll be required to provide a copy of your divorce certificate. In order to prove that your previous marriage was legally dissolved and that your current marriage to a US citizen or citizen is legal. Unfortunately, some individuals who are legally married to individuals in their home nations, pretend to marry US citizens for a green card but are still legally married to their original spouses.

How To Prove That Your Marriage Is Legitimate

Even if your marriage to your American spouse is your first marriage, you'll still need to convince the necessary authorities that your marriage is real. One of the most effective ways to prove that your marriage is legitimate is to provide recent bank statements from the last few months from your shared bank accounts. If you have a joint lease, it's also a smart move to provide a copy of your joint lease as evidence of the legitimacy of your marriage.

Also, ensure to supplement your application with photos of yourself with your spouse. Ideally, the photos which you provide should be taken from numerous different occasions, to prove that you've been in each other's life for a long time. As some fraudulent applicants only submit photographs from a single occasion, which they specifically posed for just for the purposes of applying for a visa. Instead, it's a wiser move to share photos from special occasions like Christmas and birthdays and from your vacations together, that will prove that you are a real married couple.

To prove that your friends and family members are aware of your marriage and spend time with the two of you as a couple, also ensure to include photos with your friends and family members. To increase your chances of having your marriage visa approved, ask your friends or family members who feature in some of your photos to write letters of reference for you.

How To Prove That Your Spouse Can Financially Support You In The States

You may not be aware that your spouse will be required to prove that they make at least 125% of the minimum amount which is listed in the current federal poverty guidelines. This is to ensure that you won't require financial assistance and will be adequately cared for if you are unable to find a job when you first arrive in the United States.

Also keep in mind, that it will strengthen your application if your application shows that you have a bachelor's degree or a master's degree or have multiple years of experience working in a skilled position. Proving that you're well educated or are capable of holding down a skilled job, will demonstrate that you should have no trouble finding a similar position in the United States and won't be likely to apply for financial assistance in the future.

How Long Does It Take For Your Application To Be Processed

Typically you can expect to wait 10-13 months to go through the process of applying for residency through marriage. So it's well worth having your spouse sponsor your petition as soon as possible. Especially if you currently reside outside of the United States and can't wait to build a life with your American spouse on American soil.

What Happens Once You File Your Application

If your petition is approved, your case will be transferred to your nearest US embassy or consulate. At this stage in your application, you should receive a case number and an interview date. On the day of your scheduled interview, you'll be expected to turn up to your nearest US embassy or consulate for a formal interview. Make sure to turn up to your interview with any documents which you have been told to procure.

If your application is approved you'll have a special stamp stamped in your passport which will allow you to travel to the United States. Just make sure that you're prepared to pay a small immigrant fee on your arrival.

Two to three weeks after you arrive in the United States to be reunited with your American spouse, your physical green card will arrive at your new postal address.

Fees Associated With Applying For A Marriage Green Card

As well as your application fees, you'll need to pay for your immigrant fee, your filing fee, travel to and from your nearest consulate or US embassy, and any fees associated with your mandatory medical exam. As well as your flights to the United States.

So if you are married to a US citizen or a US resident and would like to live and work in the United States, you should now have a fair idea of the process that you'll need to go through in order to receive a green card.

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