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Immigration through Marriage

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

What are the eligibility requirements to apply for immigration through marriage?

Obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the fastest ways to obtain permanent residence in the United States. Immigration through marriage is scrutinized strictly by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • The parties must be legally married;
  • The marriage is bona fide;
  • Neither spouse is married to someone else at the same time;
  • The petitioning spouse is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident.

What is the application process for immigration through marriage?

The application process usually involves two steps:

Step 1: Submit Form I-130 and supporting documents to USCIS.

Step 2: If the beneficiary is in the U.S., submit Form I-485 adjustment of status to USCIS. If the beneficiary is outside the U.S., go through the consular processing by completing the NVC process, submitting form DS 260 and going to an interview at a US consulate overseas.

What are the application forms that need to be submitted?

Normally, the following forms would be involved in the application process to be submitted to USCIS:

  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document

What is the minimum income to sponsor an immigrant through marriage-based immigration?

The petitioning spouse must meet income requirements to become a sponsor. For example, in 2022, the minimum income requirement is $22,887 for a household of 2. This figure is calculated to be at least 125% above the Federal poverty level. If the petitioning spouse does not have sufficient income to sponsor the petition, then an additional joint co-sponsor who has the required financial capacity is needed to support the petition. An affidavit of support form, a legally enforceable contract needs to be signed by the co-sponsor. The sponsor's responsibility usually lasts until the intending immigrant either becomes a U.S. citizen, or is credited with 40 quarters of work, which usually takes about ten years. Alternatively, if the minimum income requirement is not met using earned income, the cash value of the assets of the petitioner or the members of the household, who are related by birth, marriage or adoption, can be used to meet the requirements.

Is the green card granted through marriage a permanent one?

No. Usually, the green card issued first for marriage-based immigration is a temporary one, and you have to apply to remove the conditions to get a permanent green card.

How can the conditions be removed?

If the marriage is less than two years old when the green card is granted, you will get a temporary green card and it will expire in two years. If you wish to remove the conditions after two years, you will need to submit an I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions. The couple must submit a form I-751 joint petition during the 90-day period before the expiration of the green card to get the permanent green card.

Can an immigrant become a citizen through marriage?

Yes. Individuals who obtain a green card through marriage can apply for citizenship after three years (known as the "three-year rule"). The immigrant spouse must have been living in a true marital relationship with their citizen spouse for at least 3 years immediately preceding the time of filing the naturalization application. The immigrant spouse may file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, 90 calendar days before he or she completes the continuous residence requirement.


The above is intended as a general introduction and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion for your particular case. Please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates with any specific questions. Tel: (301) 838-8986, Email:, Address: 110 N Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850.

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