United States Green Card – Marry a United States Citizen

To apply for a green card, based on marrying an American, it must first be established that the marriage is not a sham (not entered into for immigration purposes) and that both parties are free to marry. If the marriage is legitimate, generally the first step is to file form I-130 Petition for Alien Relation, along with the supporting documentation. Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse and Beneficiary must also be filed for petitions based on spousal relationships.

The next step is to adjust the status or proceed through consular processing.

Consular processing : If the applicant is not in the United States, they apply to the United States consulates. Once the I-130 is approved and the priority date is current, the National Visa Center (“NVC”) will send the applicant instructions, fees to pay, and forms to fill out.

Change in Status : If the applicant is in the United States, Form I-485 can be filed with the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services and the applicant is not required to leave the United States to process the request. Usually, the I-485 form can be filed at the same time as the I-130. If the applicant wishes to travel while the status is pending adjustment, the I-131 form must be included in the adjustment request package and i-131 processing time must also be consider.

Whether it is consular treatment or adjustment of status, the applicant must undergo a medical examination. A wedding interview may be required or an independent investigation may be conducted. The couple should be prepared to establish the validity of their marriage through documentary evidence, such as wedding photos, utility bills, leases, joint bank accounts….

What is the status of a two-year conditional resident?

The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 created a two-year conditional residence status for marriage-based Green Card holders. It applies when a marriage occurred within two years of the applicant entering the US as a permanent resident or adjusting to permanent resident status . After two years, the couple can file a joint petition to have the conditions removed.

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What steps do you take after being drawn for the Green Card lottery?

Each selected person is assigned a number (or Case Number), according to the order of the draw. And the first thing to do is to look at it, since it will condition the order of passage to the embassy. Here is an example: 2015EU00001435. This means that you have played DV2015, that you are registered for the Europe quota, and above all… that your number is 14 350. The lower this number, the more likely you are to have an interview quickly at the embassy and obtain your Green Card. (If of course you meet all the required conditions…).

Small reminder: Each year, the U.S government draws lots more than 100,000 people, while it issues only 50,000 Green Cards. This therefore means that more than half of those selected will never have the precious sesame in their pocket in the end, so do not rejoice too quickly. (Yes, well, avoid selling your apartment and quitting your job in euphoria!). It is not because you are selected that you will have a Green Card! In addition, you are selected for a fiscal year, which runs from September to September from year to year. After this period, you lose your rights.

Complete a file

The procedure has been “simplified” because from now on the document to be completed is the DS260 and this is done online. However, the supporting documents to be gathered in order to put together the case remain the same.

Once you have your number in mind, you must complete a file and send it back to the KCC (Kentucky Consular Center) which manages visas, all accompanied by 2 identity photos in U.Sn format (5 x 5 cm), and the first printed notification letter (the one where you were told you were selected). It is quite easy to do if you follow the instructions correctly. Remember to write down your C ase Number at the top right of each sheet (U.Sns are very picky!). Here are the two documents to fill out:

Form DS230 Part I and Part II

Part I of DS230 concerns your marital status, as well as information about your spouse and parents, the places where you lived, your various jobs, your diplomas, etc. Please note that you will be asked for an address in the United States. Your Green Card will be sent to this address. You can enter a friend’s name no matter who it is, it just needs to be someone you trust!

Part II mainly consists of making declarations on their honor… Check NO everywhere! (Assuming you don’t plan an attack in the next few weeks!). A copy must be completed for each member of the family who will immigrate with the winner.

Form DSP122

The questions are general and ask for your address, the embassy where you wish to be interviewed (the one closest to your place of residence), your professional activity, your previous employers, your studies… Nothing very complicated once again, just answer clear way to questions, and above all do not invent employers or diplomas … (Because yes, in addition to being very picky, U.Sns do not support lies!). Anyway, they are not crazy and will ask you for the supporting documents!

Wait for your number to be current

Once you have sent your file, all you have to do is wait! But not stupidly! Every month, watch the Visa Bulletin, published by the KCC, which indicates which Case Numbers will have the privilege of finally receiving an interview date at the Embassy! Newsletters can be viewed at the start of each month here. For example, it is possible to consult the February 2016 bulletin:

medical appointment

Once you have your interview date, you can make a doctor’s appointment for a chest x-ray, blood test, and check-up. (Keep your vaccines up to date!). Attention, not just any doctor, it must be approved by the embassy! Above all, do not open the envelope containing the results… This is a cause of refusal at the embassy…

Prepare your documents for the interview

This is the most crucial step in the process … Between the mandatory documents and those that I strongly recommend, here is the list:

  • 2 identity photos in U.Sn format
  • Second notification letter containing the date of the appointment at the embassy
  • Passport
  • Medical exam
  • BAC diploma + other diplomas
  • Birth certificate
  • Criminal record extract (blank of course!)
  • Marriage certificate if necessary
  • Documents previously sent to KCC
  • Money to pay visa fees
  • Proof of your ability to support yourself financially in the US (bank statements, etc.)