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Can My Non-Citizen Spouse Get a Marriage-Based Green Card if we Married in the USA?

Can My Non-Citizen Spouse Get a Marriage-Based Green Card if We Were Married in the USA?

As experienced Georgia immigration lawyers who have practiced for decades, certain questions come to us more frequently than others.  One of the most common questions we receive in our immigration practice is about the eligibility of a newly married spouse who is not yet a US citizen or permanent resident applying for green card status. 

Navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law can be daunting, especially when it comes to securing a green card from marriage. At Cheves Briceno, with offices in Braselton, Columbus, and Peachtree Corners, GA, we are dedicated to providing the guidance you need to successfully navigate this process. In this blog, we’ll explore the federal statutes governing marriage-based green cards and discuss who qualifies and who doesn’t.

marriage-based green card

Understanding Green Cards from Marriage

A green card from marriage allows a non-U.S. citizen spouse to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. This process is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and specific federal statutes, including INA Section 245, which outlines the adjustment of status for immigrants already in the United States.

Rules for Obtaining a Marriage-Based Green Card

To obtain a green card from marriage, several key requirements must be met:

  1. Legitimate Marriage: The marriage must be legally recognized in the jurisdiction where it took place.
  2. Intent: The marriage must be bona fide, meaning it was entered into with the genuine intent of establishing a life together, not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws.
  3. Status of the Petitioner: The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must meet specific criteria, including income requirements to support the immigrant spouse.
  4. Eligibility of the Immigrant Spouse: The immigrant spouse must be admissible to the United States and not barred by issues such as prior immigration violations or criminal history.

Common Examples of Non-Qualifying Cases

Despite being married in the USA, some individuals may not qualify for a green card from marriage due to various reasons. Here are three common examples:

  1. Prior Immigration Violations: If the immigrant spouse has previously overstayed a visa or has been deported, they may face significant hurdles in qualifying for a green card.
  2. Criminal History: Certain criminal convictions can make an immigrant spouse inadmissible to the United States, thus disqualifying them from obtaining a green card.
  3. Insufficient Financial Support: The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must demonstrate the ability to financially support the immigrant spouse. Failure to meet the minimum income requirements can result in a denial of the green card application.

Common Examples of Qualifying Cases

On the other hand, many couples successfully obtain a green card from marriage. Here are three common examples:

  1. U.S. Citizen Spouse: When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national, the immigrant spouse is generally eligible to apply for a green card, provided they meet the other requirements.
  2. Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse: A lawful permanent resident (green card holder) can also petition for their spouse to obtain a green card, although the process may take longer compared to U.S. citizens.
  3. Immediate Family Members: If the immigrant spouse is an immediate family member of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, they may have a more straightforward path to obtaining a green card.

Seeking Legal Assistance from Cheves Briceno Regarding US Residency

If you are navigating the process of obtaining a green card from marriage, it’s essential to have experienced legal counsel by your side. The process can be complex, with various pitfalls that can delay or jeopardize your application. At Cheves Briceno, our team of expert immigration lawyers in Braselton, Columbus, and Peachtree Corners, GA, is here to help.

Whether you are just starting your application or facing challenges with a pending or denied application, we can provide the guidance and support you need. Our deep understanding of immigration law ensures that we can effectively advocate for your rights and help you achieve your goal of obtaining a green card from marriage.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact Cheves Briceno by phone or complete a form inquiry today about your immigration matter to work with the best immigration lawyers in Georgia. We are dedicated to helping you and your spouse navigate this important process. Your spouse’s path to lawful permanent residency starts here!  Call today.

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