The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict requirements for marriage-based visas. To bring a foreign spouse to live in the United States, the petitioner must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
In this article, you will discover the period required to obtain a marriage-based green card, from the application process to USCIS approval.
Marriage-Based Green Card vs. Conditional Residence – The Basics
After receiving USCIS approval for a marriage-based visa, foreign spouses are not granted permanent resident status if the couple has been married for less than two years. In such cases, the foreign spouse is granted permanent resident status with conditional residence.
Once the two-year conditional green card expires, the couple must file with USCIS to remove the conditions on the foreign spouse’s residence. USCIS requires the couple to file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) jointly.
Applicants must file Form I-751 within 90 days before the conditional green card expiration date. The failure to remove the conditions within this specific period results in the termination of the foreign spouse’s status.
The best approach is to work with an experienced immigration attorney to handle USCIS procedures and meet the required deadlines adequately.
How Long Does it Take to Get a US Green Card Through Marriage? – The Verdict
Currently, the total wait time for a marriage-based green card ranges between nine to 36 months. The key element to determine the amount of time involved in a marriage-based green card application is whether the foreign spouse is married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.
If the US spouse sponsoring the application is a US citizen and the foreign wife is already in the United States, the application process takes 21 to 38 months. If the foreign wife is still living abroad while USCIS is processing the application, the required period varies between 11 to 21 months.
If the US spouse sponsoring the application is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and the foreign wife is already in the United States, the couple must wait 21 to 56 months.
If the foreign wife of a US green card holder is still living abroad while USCIS is processing the application, the couple may have to wait 11 to 27 months.
Should I Work with an Immigration Attorney to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?
If you are applying for a US visa, working with a well-versed immigration attorney may increase your chances of success exponentially. An experienced legal advisor can help you by:
- Assessing each case’s particularities to tailor a unique winning strategy
- Providing valuable insights throughout the process
- Preventing and advising the applicants about possible hassles involved in the application
- Handling and reviewing the required documentation
- Filling out the required forms
- Preparing all the necessary forms and supporting documentation
- Ensuring full compliance with US immigration law
- Preparing the couple for the USCIS interview
- Ensuring the applicants meet the required deadlines