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If you get married with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you want to live together in United States, you must apply for a marriage green card to become a permanent resident. The following information is an overview of this process.

What is a Marriage Green Card?

A marriage green card allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to live and work anywhere in the United States. A green card holder will have “permanent resident” status until they decide if they wish to apply for U.S. citizenship, for which they become eligible after three years.

Requirement for marriage green card

There are some requirements for both applicant and U.S. spouse including:

➣ You must be married to a US citizen or permanent resident

➣ The marriage must be legal, valid, and recognized in the place where it took place.

➣ Your US citizen or permanent resident spouse must have income that is at least 125% of the federal poverty line

➣ You cannot be inadmissible for immigration based on past criminal conduct, health, etc.

How to apply for green card through marriage

You can apply for a green card through marriage by the following steps:

Step 1: Establish the marriage relationship (Form I-130)

This is the first step of the application process, in this step the sponsor in U.S. must file the Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by filling the form I-130. This form is 12 pages long which is to collect biographic information that confirms your relationship and eligibility to apply. This step also requires many different supporting documents.

Step 2: Apply for the green card (Form I-485 or Form DS-260)

The next step is to file the application for a green card. In this step, if you live in U.S. then you will apply for a green card through adjustment of status using the USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

If you live outside U.S. then you will apply for an immigrant (permanent) visa to the U.S. at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Step 3: Attend the green card interview and await approval

You will attend the green card interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country, then wait approval. You will receive your green card through email once you in U.S.

Green Card Through Marriage Processing Time

There are many factors can effects the marriage green card process. The total application processing time takes anywhere from 10-13 months for the entire marriage-based green card timeline if you get married with a U.S. citizens. However, if you married to Green Card holder, you need longer waiting time, which 29-38 months because you also need to wait for the Green Card availability for around 8-10 months. The key difference between an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and in the country is that both the spouse and the sponsoring U.S citizen must attend the interview.

Fees of Marriage Green Card

There are two major costs to getting a green card through marriage. The first is the I-130 petition, which costs $535 as of 2018. The second is the green card application. If you’re filing through adjustment of status (live inside the U.S.) then the cost for the I-485 application is $1,140 plus an $85 biometric services fee. If you’re filing through consular processing, the fee is $325 for family-based immigrant visa applications.
Filing inside the U.S. (adjustment of status) has a total cost of $1,760. Filing outside the U.S. (consular processing) has a total cost of $860.


Getting a green card through marriage can be a straightforward process if you know what to expect. The green card through marriage processing time will depend on many factors, including  whether you are doing an adjustment of status or consular processing, whether you are concurrently filing your I-130 with your I-485, and how quickly USCIS processes your case.