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Legal Permanent Residency Through Marriage with a U.S. Citizen

By Glendale Personal Injury Attorney on May 15, 2023

Two hands of a married couple with wedding bands on their wedding day.

Although marrying a United States citizen is a faster path to becoming a permanent resident, it is not automatic and requires many steps. Given how closely examined these marriages are, it is crucial to avoid making any errors. Most importantly, your marriage must be bona fide, and you must provide evidence to prove it. In addition, to achieve permanent residency status, your spouse must be at least 18 years old.

You may have U.S. citizenship due to being born in the U.S., through naturalization, or achieved citizenship through your family member. If your spouse or intended spouse is a foreign national, you may need legal assistance to achieve legal residency in the U.S. with the right to work and live legally in the country. Contact Aratta Law Firm at (818) 550-1111 to speak with us about this vital matter.

Filing the Petition

To begin filing for legal permanent residency, you must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS. Filing this form allows you to establish your qualifying relationship with your spouse while requesting an immigrant visa for them. If USCIS approves your petition, it means that they are acknowledging the existence of a valid relationship. It also means that a visa is available.

The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535. After you file, you could expect the processing time to range from six months to a year. These are some of the documents you will have to submit along with your petition:

  • Information about the petitioner (including address history for the past five years, employment history for the past five years, and any previous marriages that ended)
  • Information about the beneficiary (including address history for the past five years, employment history for the past five years, any previous marriages that ended, prior immigration proceedings, and I-94 information)
  • Proof that you paid the filing fee
  • Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
  • Proof of status
  • Marriage certificate
  • Proof that any prior marriages you may have had were terminated

Failure to provide all required documentation will slow the process, adding months of waiting, or the application may be denied.

Adjustment of Status

If your spouse is a foreign national physically present in the U.S., you could adjust your status to permanent resident when filing Form I-130. The benefit of filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status with Form I-130, means that the USCIS will have everything they need to process your case as efficiently as possible. Your adjustment status package should include the following:

  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
  • I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

Conditional Residence

You will achieve conditional resident status if you immigrated to the U.S. as a citizen’s spouse before your second wedding anniversary. You will receive a non-renewable green card, valid for two years. If you wish to remove the conditions on your residential status, you must file a petition during the 90 days before the card expires. Both you and your spouse must file a joint petition, and you must provide evidence that your marriage is real, such as photos, any children you share, and joint financial documentation.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Immigration Attorney in Glendale Today

If you are petitioning for permanent residency through marriage, it is essential to hire an experienced Glendale immigration lawyer to guide you through every step of the process. At Aratta Law Firm, we could help you avoid making mistakes that could result in lengthy delays. Reach out to our office today at (818) 550-1111 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable immigration attorneys to start this critical legal process.

Posted in: Immigration