USA Immigration Work Permits and Visas
US Green Card through Marriage
A bona fide marriage to a US Citizen may be the safest and sometimes also the quickest way to a US green card. For immigration purposes, spouses of US Citizens are considered to be in the so-called Immediate Relative category, which enjoys some advantages compared to other preference categories. In particular, there are pronounced procedural benefits where the US Citizen spouse is residing in the UK.
If you apply for a greencard/permanent residency prior to your 2 year wedding anniversary there will be conditions imposed on your greencard. This effectively means that the foreign national will not be granted a full greencard until after the conditions are removed and the marriage is still in existence and meets the criteria.
Procedure Where the US Citizen Spouse Resides in the UK
- The US Citizen spouse must file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration) at the US Embassy in London to classify his/her spouse as an Immediate Relative
- Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Branch
- The non-US Citizen spouse must now apply for an immigrant visa. This involves producing extensive supporting documentation. In most cases, the US Citizen spouse must complete a legally enforceable Affidavit of Support
- Once the application has been processed, the applicant must appear for a medical examination and an interview. The immigrant visa will normally be issued within a day or two of the interview
- When the person enters the US using the immigrant visa, she will enter as a permanent resident or green card holder
Other Procedures for Green Card Through Marriage
In general, the procedures will vary and can take longer than where both spouses are residing in the UK if:
- The US Citizen spouse is living in the US and the non-US Citizen spouse is living in the UK, or
- Both spouses are living in the US, or
- The parties are engaged, but not yet married
If your circumstances mirror any of those described above, please contact our office for more detailed information about procedures and processing times.
SkillClear can also help with other family based immigration matters for America.