Marriage Petitions

Marriage Petitions

A permanent resident card Green card can be obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This status allows the beneficiary of the permanent residency to stay and work in the United States. Additionally, when eligible, the permanent resident may also be eligible to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen based on the green card.

The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse is called Petitioner, and the spouse receiving the green card through the marriage petition is called the Beneficiary spouse. 

Can I file for a Marriage based green card while present in the United States?

The answer is yes, depending on your eligibility. Certain individuals who are already inside the United States may be able to apply for a marriage green card without leaving. The process is called Adjustment of Status.

Eligibility to Adjust Status as a Spouse

To adjust status to permanent resident, a spouse must generally meet all of the following requirements:

  • Lawful marriage (from any country) to the U.S. citizen petitioner; and
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available (always available for the spouse of a U.S. citizen); and
  • Lawful entry to the U.S.

The couple must be legally married and have a bona fide marriage. In other words, it must not be a fake marriage entered into to gain immigration benefits.

Can the beneficiary spouse travel while the Adjustment petition is pending?

The beneficiary spouse can apply for a travel document by filing an I-131 petition along with the petition. Once the travel document is approved, the beneficiary spouse can travel out of the U.S. They must keep the travel document card with them when they travel. If they travel before the travel document is approved, their petition will be deemed abandoned.

Adjustment Interview

Once the filing fee and all the forms/documents are accepted and approved by USCIS, the interview will be scheduled during the processing time at the local USCIS office. The petitioner and beneficiary spouses must attend the interview along with proof of the bonafide of their marriage.

Green Card process when applied outside of the United States (Consular Processing)

Applicants who are not in the United States will apply through consular processing.


The consular processing begins with the U.S. citizen or permanent resident filing a petition for the beneficiary spouse with USCIS within the United States by filing an I-130 Petition for an Immediate relative.

Once USCIS approves the I-130 petition, the petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will begin scheduling the consular process if an immigrant visa is available.

Before a consular interview, the NVC will ask the foreign spouse to submit the immigrant visa application (DS-260) and submit several supporting documents, like Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, through their online portal. Additionally, there will be processing fees for the visa application and affidavit of support.

Consular Interview

Usually, the interview will be at a U.S. embassy or consulate office. The U.S. petitioner is never required to attend the interview but can be a supportive participant in many cases. Consular interviews are also generally under 30 minutes and will result in an immigrant visa once approved.

Call us today to learn more about the marriage petition, adjustment, and consular processing.

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