Filing For a Marriage-Based Green Card? Here is What You Will Need to Provide.

In the State of New Jersey, marriage-based green cards offer immigrants a viable option for establishing and maintaining legal residency. A marriage-based green card offers the person in question the ability to live and work in the United States, travel internationally, and re-enter the US legally and it is a pathway to Citizenship. When marrying a US Citizen, there are no limits on the number of marriage-based green cards that are administered annually. However, if marrying a lawful permanent resident you will be provided with a priority date by which you can then move on to the second step of your petition.

Overall, there are a number of different steps and documents needed to properly navigate the process. It is highly advised that all marriage-based green card applicants, and their partners, retain an attorney, who specializes in immigration in order to adequately explore the positives and negatives of the process.

One of the most important factors you must prove is that you entered into a bona fide marriage, which can be supported by providing the following documents:

1) State issued Marriage Certificate and License;

2) Pictures of the relationship, including, but not limited to wedding, honeymoon outings, celebration of holidays, birthdays, dates, trips together, etc.;

3) Joint Bank Accounts reflecting both parties’ names;

4) Jointly filed income tax returns if married during the tax year;

5) Household Bills reflecting both names;

6) Lease, Mortgage, or Title to House reflecting both names;

7) Any mail coming to the house shared either in the parties’ joint or single name;

8) Credit Card or Loan Statements on joint names;

9) Any memberships to clubs or gyms in joint names;

10) Birth Certificates of any children born to parties’ naming the parties as parents.

Each partner must also present:

11) Valid birth certificate

12) Driver’s license, if legally held

13) Social Security Cards, if legally held

14) Passport, if legally held; and

15) All Final Judgments of Divorce, if previously married and divorced.

The sponsoring spouse must also provide proof of permanent residence or US Citizenship in the United States. Valid documents include:

16) An active and valid green card

17) Birth Certificate

18) Naturalization Certificate

19) Certificate of Citizenship

20) Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or

21) Valid U.S. Passport.

Additionally, in order for a US citizen or green card holder to financially sponsor their spouse, the minimum annual income salary is $20,575, assuming that the sponsoring spouse (who is a US citizen or current green card holder) is not active in the US military, and that the couple has no children. If the sponsor spouse is either of those, especially if the couple has multiple children, the income requirements scale accordingly (the more children, the higher the income requirements).

Furthermore, the spouse who is seeking permanent residence in the United States must also provide proof that they lawfully entered the United States. The proof may consist of a U.S. visa, or an I-94 travel record. An I-94 record is administered by Customs Border Protection upon entry into the country. This form confirms that an officer has completed a passport or visa examination. The passport was then stamped or a small white card was issued.

If the intending immigrant is in the United States unlawfully, or their lawful status has expired, then the marriage based application would go through consular processing. This process is much more complex and involved. For example, the intending immigrant may have to look into obtaining certain Waivers. In this situation it is highly recommended that an experienced attorney is consulted.

Also, the immigrant spouse must provide proof of good legal standing in the United States. This proof includes any record of interaction with United States law enforcement. If applicable, this would be in the form of court, police, or prison records, reports, transcripts and dispositions in the applicant’s name. Legal standing may also involve any previous immigration violations. Again, if applicable, the immigrant spouse must submit any deportation documents that may ever have occurred.

Lastly, please note that all documents must be presented in English. Therefore, if any documents are in another language, a copy must be submitted along with a certified English translation. Moreover, when submitting your application, only copies should be sent by mail. On the date of the Interview, you will be required to bring all original documents so that the Officer can inspect them on that date.

If you are interested in applying for a marriage-based green card, please contact our offices at (609) 241-7111. We will guide you every step of the way through this often daunting and complex process.

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Csépes Law Offices Provides Individualized Legal Solutions To Those Needing Family Law, Immigration, Or Real Estate Counsel.

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