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Marriage Immigration Lawyers in Boston for Obtaining U.S. Residency for Your Spouse

Boston Immigration Attorney Desmond P. FitzGerald explains the keys for a Successful U.S. Residency Petition based on Marriage

Marriage Residency / Green Card for Spouse

Additional information you may find of interest

What is a Marriage Green Card/Marriage Residency process in the U.S.?

This is the process by which U.S. citizens and permanent residents can request that permanent residency be granted for their non-U.S. resident spouses.

Who is Eligible for Obtaining Marriage Residency in the US and How long are the Estimated Wait Periods for a Green Card?

There are two categories of petitions: spouses of U.S. citizens and spouses of legal permanent residents.

US citizens and U.S. legal permanent residents may file marriage based immigration petitions on behalf of their spouses The following waiting times are for applications filed in the U.S. Consular Processes may require additional waiting time and procedures depending on the country where they are located.

  • Residency Petition / Green Card for Spouse of a U.S. citizen: 6-12 months wait period (however, work permit and travel authorization is granted within 60 – 90 days from filing for the authorizations if the spouse is eligible for adjustment of status);
  • Residency Petition for Spouse of a U.S. legal permanent resident: 7 months to 2 years wait period

**The estimated wait times are based on our experience and the U.S. Visa Bulletin. They are subject to change depending on the location and volume of cases handled by a particular U.S. Immigration Service center. U.S. Residency/Green Card Petitions for immigrants from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines generally take longer than the estimated times above (see Visa Bulletin for those estimates).

What is the duration of a Marriage U.S. Residency Green Card?

Once legal permanent residency/Green Card is approved for a spouse, it will remain valid as long as the person continues to reside the majority of the time in the U.S. and complies with the conditions for U.S. legal permanent residency.

Renewability of a U.S. Marriage Residency

U.S. legal permanent residency status never expires as long as you continue to meet the U.S. residency eligibility conditions as stated in your residency application. However, the green card (or evidence of permanent residency) expires every 10 years and it is recommended that it be renewed six months before expiration. An experienced marriage immigration attorney can help with the renewal process of a green card / residency for your husband or wife.

Family Benefits of a U.S. Green Card based on marriage

Children of the spouse of a legal permanent resident may be eligible to obtain permanent residency with all its benefits, at the same time the applicant receives it. Children of the spouse of a U.S. citizen cannot be included in the spouse’s residency application; however, the U.S. citizen may apply for them directly as a step-parent, if the marriage occurred prior to the child’s 18th birthday. Otherwise, the parent may apply for the child once he has the approved Green Card.

What documentation do I need for the for a Marriage Residency petition?

  1. Copy of Birth Certificates – (translated if necessary)
    • Beneficiary (Alien)
    • Citizen (Petitioner)
    • Children (all children of either spouse)
  2. Copy of Marriage Certificate – Original (translated if necessary)
  3. Copy of Divorce Certificate(s) – Original (if applicable and translated if necessary)
  4. Copy of Evidence of Petitioner’s Citizenship/LPR Status (Birth Certificate, Passport, Naturalization Certificate)
  5. Copy of Citizen’s Federal Tax Returns
    • Complete Federal Tax Returns with W-2’s and 1099’s from last year
    • Form 1040 with W-2’s and 1099’s from 2 & 3 years ago
  6. Joint Sponsor (if Petitioner does not meet income requirements)
    • Copy of complete federal tax return withW-2’s from last year
    • Copy of evidence of Citizenship or Legal Permanent Resident status
  7. Passport style Photographs
    • 2 Immigration photos of Citizen
    • 6 Immigration photos of Alien
  8. Copy of Passport for Alien and Copy of I-94 Form – (if applicable)
  9. Copy of evidence of 245(i) eligibility (if necessary – i.e. record of prior filing)
  10. Copy of any prior immigration applications filed for the Alien
  11. List of Social Media accounts that are used and copy of recent pages
  12. Copy of complete certified police & court records for any criminal case – (if applicable)

Additional documents generally needed for USCIS interview:

  1. Copy of Joint Tax Return – (If married before Dec 31 of prior year)
  2. Copy of Bank Statements for Joint Account – Oldest and Most Recent (must have record of Direct Deposit of each spouse’s paychecks into the account)
  3. Copies of Photographs (6 in total): pre-marital, wedding, post-marital (photos with family & friends are preferred)
  4. Copy of Bills in both names : credit cards, utilities, telephone (If company will not list both names on accountant use/change billing address to include spouse on billing address – c/o spouse’s name)
  5. Copy of Joint Insurance Policies (health; life; automobile)
  6. Copy of Lease(s) with both parties named
  7. Copy of Records of Joint Assets (i.e. stocks, bonds, property)
  8. Copy of Driver Licenses or State ID cards (Alien & Spouse)
  9. School Records for children (if either spouse has children in school)

What is the process like to obtain a Green Card/Residency based on marriage?

There are three different procedures depending upon the status of the petitioner and individual circumstances of the applicants. Navigating through each stage will benefit from the skill and guidance of an experienced marriage and family immigration lawyer. Read more on the Green Card / Residency process for a spouse.

What are the USCIS Filing Fees for a spouse Green Card?

You will need to pay the filing fees for forms (I-130), (I-485), (I-765), (I-131), fingerprints and if applicable penalty fee for entered without inspection (I-485A). Visit the U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services website to verify the fees as these change regularly.

Important additional issues

It is important that any person filing a family- based residency petition, both the petitioner and the benefiary properly file taxe returns with all income reported, the correct filing status (generally not “head of household”) and evidence to support any deductions.

Generally the family of the petitioner and beneficiary (all members of household) should not be receiving financial assistance (housing, WIC, freeCare, heat/electricity/gas, daycare, food-stamps) and if there are or have been benefits make sure that all income is reported on any benefit application

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