By Defense Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you marry a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, you’re most likely entitled to a marriage-based green card – a document that lets you live and work anywhere you’d like in the United States. Having a green card (marriage-based or otherwise) enables you to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship and become naturalized.

What is a Marriage Green Card?

When you’re married to a citizen or lawful permanent resident (another green card-holder), you’ll need authorization to live and work in the U.S., and a green card provides that. Many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney to apply for these green cards because the process can be complex and time-consuming.

You cannot apply for your own marriage-based green card (in most cases). Your citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse must apply on your behalf. You’ll need to establish your marital relationship by providing a marriage certificate or other documentation, and then you’ll need to provide supporting documentation that shows the U.S. government that your marriage is real (and that you didn’t just get married to obtain an immigration benefit).

Related: Adjustment of status information

Will You Have to Attend an Interview for a Marriage Green Card?

You will have to attend an interview with a U.S. government official to get your marriage-based green card. The interviewer’s goal is to ensure that you’re in a bona fide marriage – one that’s genuine. Your interviewer may ask you questions such as:

  • Where did you and your spouse meet?
  • Who proposed?
  • Which side of the bed does your spouse sleep on?
  • What’s your spouse’s favorite food, TV show or movie?
  • What are your future plans with your spouse?

As long as the interviewer is convinced that your marriage is genuine, you should receive approval for your marriage-based green card.

Related: I-485 interviews

Conditions on a Marriage Green Card

You’ll receive a “conditional” green card if you’ve been married for fewer than two years. If that’s your situation, you’ll have to petition the U.S. government to remove the conditions before your green card expires (and that’s something your attorney can help you with, as well). After you remove the conditions, you’ll receive your permanent green card, which you only need to renew every ten years. With a permanent green card, you’re eligible to apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Marriage Green Card for Yourself or Your Spouse?

If you’re married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or if you’re a citizen or green card-holder married to a foreigner who wants a green card, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414=383-6700 now to schedule your consultation – we’ll be happy to answer your questions about U.S. immigration.

Carlos Gamino