I Am Getting Married. How Can I Obtain Permanent Residency?

By Published On: January 23, 2023Categories: Vlog, Green Card, Immigration

Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below

Embarking on the path to permanent residency through marriage brings excitement and challenges. In this article, learn about the various factors shaping this transformative journey. Discover the two distinct routes to obtaining residency based on your spouse’s citizenship status and your entry into the United States. Explore the possibilities that arise when military service separates spouses and uncover effective strategies to initiate the immigration process.

Furthermore, gain valuable insights into the intricate process of petitioning for your beloved family members. Uncover the essential requirements, navigate the interview process, and understand the timeline for achieving residency.

Learn about the differences between a conditional and regular residency and the significant impact of criminal records on your application. Embrace the empowering knowledge of pardon options that can help pave the way toward your ultimate goal of obtaining permanent residency.

If You Are Getting Married And Do Not Have U.S. Immigration Status Consider Consulting With A Trusted Immigration Lawyer

Obtaining Permanent Residency Through Marriage

Obtaining permanent residency through marriage can be done in two different ways, depending on your circumstances. The first option applies if your spouse is a U.S. citizen and you entered the country with a Visa. It is regardless of whether it was a marriage-related Visa or a different type of Visa. In this case, you can pursue the process through inspection. It involves going through an immigration inspection upon your arrival in the United States.

If you entered through inspection, you begin by applying for permanent residency while staying in the country. This process is called “adjustment of status.” One advantage of this route is it is typically faster since you are already present in the United States. It allows you to transition from your current nonimmigrant status to becoming a lawful permanent resident, granting you a Green Card. The process entails submitting the necessary documents, attending interviews, and undergoing background checks.

Although the process is faster than other immigration pathways, it is still subject to federal processing times and requirements. The specific timeline can vary depending on factors such as the workload of immigration authorities and the complexity of your case. It is advisable to seek guidance from an immigration attorney. You can also utilize reliable resources from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to navigate the process accurately.

Parole For Military Members

If one spouse is in the United States while the other serves in the military abroad, several options are available to obtain permanent residency through marriage. The Lincoln-Goldfinch Law provides a program called parole designed to assist military members and their spouses in such situations.

If the spouse currently in the United States entered the country without proper inspection or legal entry, the parole program can help rectify their status. This program enables the spouse to apply for legal status within the United States. It is important to note that this option is only available after marriage.

While waiting for the parole period, the couple can begin collecting the documents and evidence required for the permanent residency application. However, it is crucial to understand that they cannot apply until the marriage is legally recognized.

By utilizing the program, couples can navigate the process more confidently, even if there was no initial legal entry into the country. Seeking guidance from an immigration attorney is recommended to receive personalized assistance and ensure compliance with all relevant requirements.

Petitioning A Widowed Daughter & A Son With A Partner

Suppose you bring a widowed daughter and your son with his partner to the country through a petition. You must recognize that the process and waiting times can vary. depending on factors such as your country of residence and nationality.

In general, there is typically a waiting period involved in obtaining their Visas. For example, if the widowed daughter and son are married children of Mexican residents, the waiting time can be as long as 22 years. It indicates that it may take considerable time before the processing and approval of Visa applications.

However, the situation changes if the widowed daughter and son are unmarried. The waiting time will depend on whether you are petitioning for a child under 21. To accurately determine the applicable categories, it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer who can carefully examine your specific case. They can identify the appropriate classifications your children fall under, establishing the requirements and waiting times relevant to their Visa applications.

Obtaining Residency After Marrying Abroad

If your marriage took place during the 90 days of your Visa, you had the opportunity to spend time together in the United States. Now, it’s time to initiate the application for residency using the I-485 form, and the Lincoln-Goldfinch Law can assist with that.

However, the process follows a slightly different path if you marry outside the initial 90-day timeframe. You must begin anew by filing a family petition and a separate residency application.

Requirements To Petition For Their Spouse

The petitioner, responsible for initiating the application, faces minimal requirements such as proving their residency or citizenship. However, the applicant who stands to benefit from the petition must meet additional criteria. Their criminal records and past offenses, if any, will undergo scrutiny.

An immigration lawyer can assess whether these factors pose challenges to the application. Falsely claiming U.S. citizenship is strictly prohibited and may raise concerns. Ultimately, the application’s success hinges on factors such as the manner of entry and the petitioner’s citizenship or residency status.

The Interview Process

In the status adjustment process, a recent policy change aims to expedite approvals by minimizing interviews. Only cases raising specific questions require an interview, granting a smoother path to residency. Employing the skills of an immigration lawyer can further enhance your chances. They ensure your submission encompasses everything needed for interview-free approval.

Conversely, the consular process follows a different trajectory. It involves visiting the consulate, submitting documents, and undergoing a thorough review. During this stage, your experiences in the United States come under scrutiny.

The consulate examines big to small details, including cohabitation and potential children. This meticulous examination serves to authenticate the genuineness of your union, affirming that your marriage transcends paperwork.

As you undertake your residency journey, understanding the nuances of these processes empowers you to navigate them more confidently. It leads you inches closer to the dream of calling the United States your permanent home.

Timeline For The Application Of Permanent Residency

Tackling the journey toward residency in the United States requires understanding the process ahead. You must prepare yourself as it typically spans around 14 months, navigating the twists and turns of the application process.

However, amidst the journey, there are glimmers of hope along the path. While patiently awaiting residency, you may obtain employment authorization or travel permission. Even before reaching the final stretch, you can grab these opportunities to work. The journey may be lengthy, but the rewards awaiting are worth every passing moment.

Differences Between Conditional & Regular Residency

When two hearts intertwine in matrimony and file an application before the two-year milestone, immigration grants a temporary conditional residency. This provision serves as a testament to immigration’s commitment to verifying the authenticity of the marriage, ensuring it transcends mere pretense or deception and embodies a genuine bond between two souls.

In this scenario, the two-year validity of the residency card does not warrant a renewal application. Instead, it initiates a process to remove the conditional status, paving the way toward obtaining the coveted 10-year residency card. The distinction lies in the 10-year residency, where you get acknowledged as a permanent resident, exempt from reapplying until the card’s expiration.

Obtain Permanent Residency If You Are About To Marry A U.S. Citizen And Get Advice From A Lincoln-Goldfinch Law Attorney

However, for those holding conditional residency, there is one final step to achieving the cherished permanent residency status within the United States. It stands as a testament to the endurance of love, symbolizing the transformative journey from a conditional union to an unwavering lifelong bond.

Crimes That Disqualify The Application

Navigating the complexities of crimes and convictions unveils a stark contrast between the criminal justice system and immigration procedures. Even if not considered a criminal conviction, immigration authorities may still view it as one. This is particularly true for drug-related offenses, potentially disqualifying individuals in such circumstances.

However, a ray of hope emerges for those entangled in marijuana-related cases if the quantity involved falls below a specified threshold. This critical distinction can potentially resolve the issue at hand. On the other hand, individuals facing cases involving immoral acts, social issues, fraud, theft, or violence may find solace in pursuing a pardon as a pathway forward.

Within the United States, avenues for obtaining a pardon exist. However, if opting to pursue the case outside the country, patience becomes paramount while awaiting pardon approval. This waiting period can range from several months to over a year.

Nevertheless, this predicament presents a challenge for many. The extended periods abroad risk compromising the case due to the inability to reenter the country for an extended duration. Striking a delicate balance between adhering to legal procedures and considering practical limitations becomes vital to ensure a successful immigration journey.


There are two paths to obtaining permanent residency through marriage. One is the adjustment of status if you entered the United States with a Visa and inspection. Two is through the consular process if you entered without permission or if your spouse is a resident. 

It may take up to 14 months to receive residency, although employment authorization and travel permission may be available earlier. The conditional residency lasts for two years. However, removing the conditions is required to obtain a 10-year residency card. Certain crimes, particularly drug-related offenses, can disqualify an applicant, but pardons and waivers might resolve the problem. 

If you have additional questions about your permanent residency, or your specific case, you may contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as greencards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job. After the pandemic we began offering bankruptcy services in addition to immigration I realized how much lack of information there is in financial literacy resources in Spanish.

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