United States citizens and permanent residents can sponsor spouses through a petition for a Green Card by marriage. In order to do so, both the petitioner and the beneficiary have to establish their eligibility, prove that their marriage is bona fide (legitimate), and compellingly demonstrate that it was not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.
It is important to note that the application process varies depending on whether the petitioner is a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (e.g. green card holder). U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses as "immediate relatives." For immediate relatives, visa numbers are available immediately, which means that there is no need to wait for a visa number to become available. As soon as the sponsor's petition (Form I-130) is approved, a visa number is made available and the beneficiary spouse can apply for his or her permanent residency (Green Card). If the beneficiary is in the United States, that beneficiary will have to apply for to have his/her status adjusted to that of a Permanent Resident. If the spouse is outside the US, he/she will have to file for an immigration visa with a United States consulate having jurisdiction over his or her place of residence.
While permanent residents can also sponsor spouses seeking to get a Green Card, the process can take longer because a visa number will not be available immediately. Once the I-130 petition has been approved, spouses of Green Card holders will have to wait for their priority date, the date on which the sponsor filed the petition, to become current. When the date is current, a visa number is available, and the beneficiary can apply for a visa or to adjust his or her status.
Although obtaining permanent residence/green card through marriage can often times be the fastest way to obtain residency in the United States, it is important to note that approval is not guaranteed or automatic. Petitions are scrutinized and it is the role of The Shulman Law Group, LLC to help our clients gather and assemble appropriate probative documentation and accurately complete the many forms needed for the application process. Our firm has successfully handled hundreds of marriage green card cases and we can guide you through the current policies and procedures to maximize your chances of approvability.