Green Card FAQs

Does Marriage to a U.S. Citizen Automatically Entitle the Foreign Spouse to a Green Card?

No. A marriage creates a family relationship between the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse, which is the starting point for the foreign spouse to be eligible for a green card. The U.S. citizen spouse still has to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with sufficient evidence to prove that the marriage is bona fide and was not entered into to circumvent immigration laws. If the I-130 petition is approved, the foreign spouse can pursue his/her green card by filing an adjustment of status application, if he/she is living in the United States or apply for an immigrant visa at the appropriate U.S. consulate, if he/she is living abroad.

How Long will My Green Card Remain Valid?

A green card is valid for either 2 years or 10 years. A green card that was obtained through a marriage-based application, where the marriage was less than 2 years at the time the visa or adjustment of status application was approved, will result in a 2-year conditional green card. The green card holder must apply to remove these conditions at least 90 days before expiration. A 10-year green card is issued, if the petition is successful.

A 10-year green card can be renewed multiple times, potentially indefinitely.

What are My Options if My U.S. Citizen Spouse Withdrew My Green Card Application?

It is not uncommon for married couples to experience difficulties while the immigration process is incomplete. Once the petition is withdrawn, it is ultimately denied and there is no way to reinstate that specific application. Even if the couple reconciles, an entirely new immigrant visa petition with the appropriate fee must be filed.

Frequently, spousal abuse in the marriage is the reason for withdrawal of an immigrant petition. If this is your situation, it is urgent for you to secure your safety by reaching out to organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Once you are in a safe location and have received medical treatment (if needed), the next step is to contact an experienced immigration attorney who can review the facts surrounding your situation and advise you of your options.

A battered spouse, child or parent, may file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Both males and females are eligible.

The options for a foreign spouse who did not experience abuse or extreme cruelty are limited.

Why Would a Green Card Application be Denied?

There are many reasons why a green card application may be denied. Insufficient evidence, failure to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), marriage-fraud, failure to appear at an adjustment of status or consular processing interview, insufficient financial resources, incomplete or missing forms, medical conditions, criminal activity, unlawful immigration status, accepting public benefits, working without a work permit, and unlawful entry to the United States are some of the reasons why a green card application may be denied.

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