Many people who do not qualify for a green card any other way assume that they can easily get a green card through marriage. In fact, some people assume that they will automatically get a green card if they marry a US citizen or a permanent resident. This is not the case. In fact, immigration, marriage, and green cards are a very complex topic.
It is true that you can get a green card through marriage. However, you need to be in a real marriage – not a green card marriage entered into specifically as an immigration marriage to secure a green card. As well, you need to apply for your green card once you are married using USCIS form I-485. Your form needs to be approved by the USCIS before you get your green card. As well, you may get a conditional green card, which means you will need to apply again in order to adjust your status from temporary permanent resident to traditional permanent resident. Conditional green cards are granted in order to help prevent immigration marriage fraud, in which someone marries just to get a green card through marriage. It is a crime to enter into a green card marriage just to secure a green card. The penalties for this type of crime can be severe. At the very least, the person trying to secure a green card through marriage in this manner will usually be deported.
In order to qualify for a green card through marriage, you must apply for a green card and enter into a legitimate marriage. You must also be in the country legally in order to apply. If you are an undocumented immigrant, have overstayed your visa, or have entered the US on a visitor’s visa, you will usually not qualify for a green card through marriage easily. Instead, you will need to speak with a qualified immigration attorney, who can help you secure legal status as well as a green card. Your attorney may be able to help you request a waiver or can help you adjust your status.
Another challenge when trying to secure a green card through marriage is the careful investigation immigration officials launch to root out immigration marriage. That is, most applicants looking to secure a green card through marriage find that they need to talk to immigration officials who need to see evidence that the marriage is a legitimate union and not just a green card marriage. This can be hard to prove. Immigration officials may talk to the couple, as well as coworkers and family, to determine the validity of the marriage. Living a traditional married life and knowing each other well can help show officials that the marriage is a legitimate one.