I GOT MARRIED TO A U.S.C! CAN I BECOME A CITIZEN?
Yes! (Is an additional benefit to your green card)
Under the U.S. Immigration laws, entering into a good faith & bonafide marriage with a U.S. Citizen makes you an “immediate relative”. An immediate relative is:
- The spouses of U.S. Citizens;
- The children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens;
- The parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old; and
- Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen filed a petition before his or her death or if the widow(er) files a petition within 2 years of the citizen’s death.
Benefits of an immediate relative: after the green card is approved and the applicant is still married to the U.S. Citizen, that person qualifies to apply for his/her citizenship.
If you are in the United States out of status because you stayed past the expiration date on a valid visa like the B1/B2 tourist visa or you entered without inspection, and you married a U.S. C, you can apply for a green card.
If you remain in the United States with a valid visa, you won’t need to leave the United States and can begin the process of what is called “an adjustment of status.”
An adjustment of status can be very confusing and requires many different types of filling forms directly from USCIS. After all of the submission of the application and a few notices arrive- both the U.S. Citizen Petitioner and the Foreign Spouse are usually scheduled or an in-person interview at their USCIS field office.
Unlike consular visa interviews, the parties have a statutory right to counsel at the interview. The couple will be seated at a desk across from a USCIS officer for an interview that routinely lasts one hour or more. If the interviewer suspects fraudulent intent, he/she may interview the couple separately. In such cases, the interviewer will document each individual’s response to a preset list of questions designed to probe knowledge about the marital relationship. It is extremely important to be prepared for this interview as it could be the deciding factor if your spouse can remain with you legally or forced to go back to their country.
If everything goes well, you will then get your green card in which you will have legal status in the U.S through your spouse! After two years, your first green card is considered to be a “conditional” green card that will be valid for only two years. After two years of having your green card, it’s time to remove the conditions placed on your temporary legal status.
After having your permanent residence for 3 years… you can officially apply for naturalization/ citizenship!
Although the process sounds very long and extensive- come speak to an Immigration Attorney who can walk you through the step-by-step guide to helping you gain legal status in the U.S and have the ability to become a citizen.
At Mercedes Cano we are here to help you. To have your case reviewed by our office, please contact us at 718-505-8506 or please fill out our Contact Form.