If you and your future spouse are currently residing in the US, it’s likely that they have a temporary visitor or work visa. This entails converting the temporary visa into a green card via a procedure known as “adjustment of status.” You must get married and register your marriage with the state or county authorities where the wedding took place in order to begin this process.
The “90-day rule,” a USCIS policy used to assess whether applicants for green cards from within the US misled government officials when they were granted visas or admitted to the country, should be kept in mind when making this decision.
As the U.S. citizen or holder of a green card, you will serve as your future spouse’s “sponsor” during the green card application process and will need to apply alongside them. When the necessary paperwork, Form I-130 (officially known as the “Petition for Alien Relative”) and Form I-485 (officially known as the “Application for Adjustment of Status”), are submitted simultaneously, this is also known as “concurrent filing.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) handles all applications submitted from within the country, and appointments for biometrics and in-person interviews are necessary. Importantly, if you hold a green card (and are not a citizen of the United States), your spouse must be able to maintain a legal immigration status in the country.
Up until they submit their green card application, individuals must maintain a valid immigration status by holding a valid visa, such as an H-1B work visa or an F-1 student visa (Form I-485). This is due to the fact that they will have to hold off on applying for the green card from within the United States until a visa number becomes available. Spouses of American citizens are immediately eligible for visas, but spouses of people with green cards are not.
In actuality, this means that the spouse who is applying for a green card must possess a valid visa for up to 2.5 years following the submission of the application for a marriage-based green card. (Read our in-depth explanation of the marriage-based green card timeline for more information.