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I Just Married A US Citizen -- What Do I Do Now?

Chairs set up for a wedding ceremony

Quick Question:

I am a foreigner in the US on a work visa. I just married a US Citizen. What do I do now?

Your US Citizen spouse can petition for you get the green card. If you are both in the US, the process is called “Adjustment of Status”.

Here are some quick facts about the green card process based on marriage to a US citizen:

  • It takes about 12-15 months from filing until the green card interview – this is true in New York – it may be different where you live.

  • We prepare you and your spouse for the interview in detail.

  • The green card can arrive about 3-4 weeks after the interview.

  • The foreign spouse will receive employment and travel authorization after the petition is filed. The timing on the arrival of employment/travel authorization can vary widely and has recently taken up to 8 months. Historically, New York City resident/green card applicants could receive Emergency Travel Authorization. As of January, 2020, this is no longer true. Travel inconvenience is a major consideration in determining when to file a marriage based green card petition with adjustment of status.

  • We will need to show that the US spouse (or the couple together) earns more than 125% of the poverty line for your household size. This generally requires the US spouse or the couple to earn about $25,000 per year, although the precise threshold can vary year by year.

  • If the income levels are too low, we can satisfy this requirement by looking to assets or a “joint sponsor".

  • If you are recently married, the green card will be “conditional” – valid for only 2 years if the marriage is recent. You will then have to apply to Immigration for the permanent (10 year) green card.

What does USCIS look for in the green card interview? It verifies that the couple’s documents are in order and that the marriage is bona fide: that the couple intends to build a life together.

Remember: Marriage based green cards are available to same sex couples too.

If you have any questions about the process of obtaining a green card through Adjustment of Status, please contact us below.

Photo by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash.

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