While obtaining U.S. residency through marriage can be the fastest option, the green card processing time can still seem like it’s taking forever. What’s worse? Approval is not a guaranteed thing. You may have completed the entire process only to find out your application has been declined.

It’s crucial for applicants to understand this up front. Green cards granted through marriage are heavily scrutinized to ensure they aren’t fraudulent (i.e. you married someone just to get them a green card).

Now that we have that out of the way, here’s an overview of the marriage green card process.

  1. Ensure you qualify. We mean, get married. Any US citizen who has married a foreign national is eligible. Ideally, the spouse will have entered the US legally with a visa or visa waiver (Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to show proof of legal entry).
  2. File all of the requisite paperwork. There are a number of forms to fill out, and it’s important you complete each and every one of them accurately.
    a. USCIS Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
    b. USCIS Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence)
    c. USCIS Form G-325A (Biographic Information)
    d. USCIS Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)
    e. USCIS Form I-765 (Permission for Work Authorization; optional)
    f. USCIS Form I-693 (Medical Examination Results)
    g. USCIS Form I-131 (Request for Travel Documents; optional)
    h. All supporting documentation required (marriage certificate, wedding photos, birth certificate, passports, etc.)
    i. USCIS Filing Fee ($1,000 – $1,400)
  3. Complete your biometrics appointment. This is mandatory fingerprints and a facial scan session, utilized to complete a criminal background check. Appointment times vary by how busy the office is; so, if you want to expedite an appointment, you may need to travel outside your immediate home area. Results are valid for 15 months.
  4. Schedule your USCIS interview. This usually takes place anywhere from two to four months after filing your initial application and completing the biometrics scan. The timeframe largely depends on how busy the office is, and some processing times exceed four months. Check their website for the current green card processing time estimates.

If your interview is successful, you may be granted conditional permanent residency immediately, with your green card arriving in the mail within four to eight weeks. However, if there are any issues with your application or flags which appeared during your in-person interview, you may be required to gather further documentation and submit to additional rounds of interviewing, making your green card processing time much longer.

Bottom line? If all goes smoothly, your green card processing time could be less than four months—sooner if the office is exceptionally fast. However, this largely depends on where you live and how smoothly the application process goes for you.

Take Out The Guesswork Of The Green Card Processing Time and Get Professional Help

Still have questions? You don’t have to keep waiting to find out about your green card processing time. Contact our legal team at Lee Law Firm now and get the help you need.