Marriage Green Card Explained – Comprehensive Guide


Obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common paths to permanent residency in the United States. This process involves several steps, requirements, and costs. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore obtaining a green card through marriage, detailing each stage and providing the latest information. For expert assistance, consider consulting with a lawyer for a marriage green card to ensure your application is accurate and timely. Passage Law offers specialized guidance to help you understand every step of the journey.

Understanding the Green Card Marriage Process

Understanding the Green Card Marriage Process

The green card for the spouse of a US citizen involves several detailed steps. The process includes:

  1. Form I-130 Filing:
    • The U.S. citizen spouse completes and submits Form I-130 along with the filing fee and supporting documents to USCIS. The processing time for this form can vary but generally takes several months.
  2. Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status):
    • If the foreign spouse is in the U.S., they file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-130 if eligible. Additional forms include Form I-765 for work authorization and Form I-131 for travel authorization. Each form requires separate filing fees.
  3. Consular Processing:
    • For spouses abroad, after Form I-130 is approved, they will proceed with consular processing by filing Form DS-260 online. They must also pay the NVC processing fee and submit the required documents.
  4. Biometrics Appointment:
    • USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment where the applicant provides fingerprints, photos, and signatures.
  5. Medical Examination:
    • The foreign spouse must undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved physician. This exam includes vaccinations and general health checks.
  6. Green Card Interview:
    • Both spouses must attend an interview at a local USCIS office or U.S. consulate. The officer will ask questions to determine the authenticity of the marriage.
  7. Approval and Green Card Issuance:
    • If the application is approved, the foreign spouse will receive their green card in the mail within a few weeks.

Requirements for a Marriage-Based Green Card

To obtain a green card through marriage, the following requirements must be met:

  • Valid Marriage: The marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place.
  • Proof of Relationship: Applicants must provide evidence of a bona fide marriage, including photos, joint financial statements, and affidavits from friends and family.
  • Financial Support: The U.S. citizen spouse must show the ability to financially support the foreign spouse, normally by meeting the income requirements set by the federal poverty guidelines.

Costs Involved in the Marriage Green Card Process

As of 2024, the costs for obtaining a green card through marriage include:

  • Form I-130 Filing Fee: $675 (paper) or $625 (online)
  • Form I-485 Filing Fee: $1440
  • Form I-765 Filing Fee: $260
  • Form I-131 Filing Fee: $630
  • Medical Examination: Approximately $200
  • Biometrics Fee: $85
  • Consular Processing Fee: $445

The total cost can vary depending on the specific circumstances and additional services required.

Additional Considerations

  1. Hiring an Immigration Lawyer:
    • Understanding the green card process can be complex. Hiring an immigration lawyer can help ensure that all forms are correctly completed and submitted. Legal fees can range from $2,000 to $12,000.
  2. Fee Waivers:
    • Some applicants may qualify for fee waivers or reductions based on financial hardship. It is important to check eligibility criteria and apply accordingly.
  3. Document Preparation:
    • Ensuring that all required documents are properly prepared and submitted is important. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, financial records, and any necessary translations.
  4. Interview Preparation:
    • Thorough preparation for the green card interview can make a significant difference. Practicing potential questions and ensuring all documentation is in order will help lessen stress and increase the likelihood of approval.
  5. Post-Approval Steps:
    • After receiving the green card, the foreign spouse should apply for a Social Security number, update their address with USCIS, and understand the conditions of their permanent residency.

Get Legal Help From Passage Law for Marriage Green Card Services

Managing the green card process by marriage can be challenging, but with the help of Passage Law, you can ensure a smooth and successful application. Our experienced attorneys offer personalized assistance, helping you avoid common pitfalls and ensuring all documents are correctly filed. By choosing Passage Law, you can benefit from our comprehensive knowledge of immigration law and commitment to client satisfaction.

The green card process after marriage can be simplified with expert guidance from Passage Law. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to support you every step of the way, from the initial filing of Form I-130 to the final approval and issuance of your green card.


Understanding the process and requirements for obtaining a green card through marriage is essential for a successful application. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking expert assistance from Passage Law, you can handle the complexities of the immigration system with confidence. For personalized help and to ensure compliance with the latest USCIS regulations, consider partnering with Passage Law, where experienced immigration attorneys can guide you through every step.


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