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Unlocking the Path to a Marriage-Based Green Card: Legal Consultation

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Securing a marriage-based green card in the United States is a pivotal step toward building a life together as a married couple. This process, however, can be complex, filled with paperwork, interviews, and legal requirements. This article will explore about seeking legal consultation when pursuing a marriage-based green card, the various steps involved in this journey, and the burning question: “How long does it take to get a Green Card Through Marriage?”

Understanding the Marriage-Based Green Card Process

A marriage-based green card, also known as a marriage-based immigrant visa or a spousal visa, is a legal document that grants lawful permanent residency to the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This visa allows the foreign spouse to live and work in the United States indefinitely. The process involves several key steps:

  1. Eligibility: To apply for a marriage-based green card, the sponsoring spouse must be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Additionally, the marriage must be legally recognized in the jurisdiction where it took place.
  2. Form I-130 Petition: The sponsoring spouse initiates the process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the qualifying relationship between the U.S. citizen or green card holder and the foreign spouse.
  3. Form I-485 Adjustment of Status: If the foreign spouse is already in the United States, they can concurrently file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after the I-130 is approved. This form initiates adjusting the foreign spouse’s status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
  4. Consular Processing: If the foreign spouse is outside the United States, they may need to attend an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. It is known as consular processing.
  5. Affidavit of Support: The sponsoring spouse must demonstrate the financial means to support the foreign spouse by submitting an Affidavit of Support, typically using Form I-864.
  6. Medical Examination and Biometrics: The U.S. citizen or green card holder and the foreign spouse must undergo a medical examination and provide biometric data as part of the application process.
  7. Interview: USCIS may schedule a consultation to assess the marriage’s validity and the foreign spouse’s eligibility. An attorney’s guidance can be invaluable in preparing for this interview.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Marriage Green Card?

The timeline for obtaining a marriage-based green card can vary based on several factors, including the USCIS processing times, the applicant’s country of origin, and whether the foreign spouse is inside or outside the United States. On average, it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months or longer. The key milestones include:

  • I-130 Processing Time: The processing time for Form I-130 can range from 8 to 14 months, depending on the USCIS service center and caseload.
  • I-485 Processing Time: If the foreign spouse is adjusting status within the United States, the I-485 processing time can take an additional 8 to 14 months.
  • Consular Processing Time: If consular processing is required, this can add several months to the timeline, depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate’s workload.
  • Interview Scheduling: The scheduling of an interview can also impact the overall timeline, as it depends on the availability of USCIS or the U.S. embassy/consulate.

Getting Legal Consultation

Seeking legal consultation when pursuing a marriage-based green card is advisable and often essential for a successful and smooth process. Here’s why:

  1. Immigration laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. An experienced immigration attorney is well-versed in the latest legal requirements and can help you navigate the process effectively.
  2. Attorneys provide personalized advice based on your unique situation. They can assess your eligibility, identify potential challenges, and recommend the best action.
  3. Attorneys can assist in preparing the required forms and supporting documents, reducing the risk of errors that can lead to delays or denials.
  4. Attorneys can help you prepare for the USCIS interview, ensuring you are well-informed and confident.
  5. In case of denials or complications, attorneys can represent you in appeals or troubleshoot issues that arise during the application process.
  6. Legal consultation provides peace of mind, knowing you have a knowledgeable advocate to guide you through a potentially stressful process.


Obtaining a marriage-based green card in the United States is a significant milestone for couples, but it involves a multifaceted process with varying timelines. Seeking legal consultation from an experienced immigration attorney is essential to navigate this journey successfully. With their expertise and guidance, you can increase your chances of a smooth and timely approval, ultimately allowing you and your spouse to build a life together in the United States.


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