Marriage Based Green Card (I-485 Green Card)

A marriage based green card allows the non-citizen spouse of a green card holder or a U.S citizen to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. To obtain a marriage based green card, your eligibility depends on whether you entered the U.S. lawfully and whether your spouse is a  lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen. 

How do I apply for a marriage based green card?

To apply for a marriage based green card you may be required to file some of the following immigration forms:

  • I-130 Family Petition: You are required to establish the marriage relationship. The applicant must show  that the marriage was entered into in good faith. It is the applicant’s burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the marriage is Bonafide.
  • I-485 Form: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status if applying in the U.S at your local USCIS office or DS-260 if applying for a marriage based green card at your consular post.
  • I-864 Affidavit of Support: The intending immigrant must show that that they will not be a public charge if admitted into the U.S. The petitioner must meet the Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines (I-865p) published by USCIS yearly. In some instances, the intending immigrant will need a co-sponsor, if the petitioning spouse does not meet the HHS poverty guidelines.

Are you eligible to Apply for a Marriage Based Green Card?

Where your petitioning spouse is a green card holder and the beneficiary is in the U.S., you may adjust in the U.S. if:

  • Applicant is in lawful status in the U.S. (for example: currently on a visa) or
  • Applicant is protected under INA Section 245(i), requiring applicant to have an immigrant visa petition (I-130 family petition or I-140 immigrant petition for Alien worker OR a labor certification application (Form ETA 750) filed on or before April 30, 2001.
    • If married to a U.S. citizen you may file I-130 Family Petition concurrently with I-485 form, application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status if the applicant was admitted into the U.S. with a visa or is otherwise protected under INA Section 245(i). 
    • Eligibility for Consular Processing (Green Card Abroad)- The process of obtaining your green card abroad is called Consular Processing.  To begin this process USCIS must first issue a visa after the I-130 Family Petition is approved.  To file your green card abroad, the applicant must submit an application with the National Visa Center (NVC).  The NVC will collect all of the documents and send them to the corresponding consulate. The consulate will set-up an interview for the beneficiary.