Marriage-Based Green Card Lawyer in NJ
New Jersey Immigration Attorney
Have you recently married a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? You may
be able to obtain a green card through a process called Adjustment of
Status without leaving the US if you entered legally regardless how long
ago that entry took place. However, before applying it is important to
seek the advise and assistance of a
New Jersey immigration lawyer to determine whether you qualify.
There are many requirements that must be met to obtain a green card through
marriage and missing just one could ruin your chances of success and lead
to deportation. My office has processed over a thousand of these cases
and we have a 98.5% success rate. Give us a call to discuss your situation
do not do it alone. Your future in the U.S. is at risk!
What to expect when you make the choice to hire our office to assist you:
When you are ready to discuss your Marriage based case give us a call or
email our office to schedule a meeting in which we will review your eligibility
for the green card. You will find that we are responsive to your calls
and will answer all your questions. We will provide you with a document
checklist noting what will be need to begin processing your case. We will
also provide you with a login and password so you can immediately access
our secure immigration software to track our progress while we complete
and file the necessary documents with immigration. Thereafter, USCIS will
review the package and schedule a fingerprint appointment and interview
to determine the validity of the marriage.
Requirements for Marriage Based Green Cards
Family reunification has historically been the principal policy underlying
U.S. immigration law. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows U.S.
Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) to sponsor
the immigration of foreigners to the United States based upon family relationships.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue a visa (green
card) after they approve a petition filed by certain family members. After
the petition is approved the visa may be issued in as little as 90 days
or as long as 25 years depending upon which of the below categories apply
and depending upon the immigrant’s home country the immigrant applicant
is from. However, not all family relationships serve as a basis to apply
for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
A U.S. Citizen may file a petition on behalf of his/her:
Husband, wife, or child under the age of 21 (immediate relative);
A parent if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years of age (immediate relative);
An unmarried child over the age of 21 and their children (first preference);
Married child of any age and their children (third preference);
Brother or sister if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old and their
spouses and children (forth preference)
A Lawful Permanent Resident can file the petition on behalf of his/her:
Husband or wife, and unmarried children under the age of 21 (second preference A);
Unmarried child over the age of 21 (second preference B).
Immediate Relative category, as noted above, has no limit on the number of visas issued each
year, and as a result there is no wait other than the time it takes the
USCIS to process the Visa. Under Section 245(i), a USC may petition for
an immediate relative and they may adjust their status (receive a green
card) here in the U.S. even if that relative has fallen out of status
long ago. However, the immediate relative must have entered the U.S. legally.
**Immediate relatives also include widow or widowers of U.S. citizens who
were married for at least two years prior to the citizens death, who were
not separated, remarried and who file applications within two years of death**.
Aliens other than immediate relatives fall into one of the four limited family based preference categories,
and a visa will not be immediately available as there is a numerical limit
on the number of visas issued each year. More aliens want visas than are
currently available. Therefore, there may be a long waiting period for
the visa to be issued. When the application is received by the USCIS they
will note the filing date, this is called the “priority date.”
The applicant must wait for the priority date to be current. Immediate
relatives do not have to wait.
USCIS publishes a listing of current priority dates in the Visa Bulletin
for application for those who are not immediate relatives. If the application
was filed on or before the date listed in the Visa Bulletin then the priority
date is current and the USCIS should contact the applicant. Note, the
dates on the Visa Bulletin are unpredictable. The dates may move forward
or backwards or they may not move at all. However, a new
Visa Bulletin is issued by the State Department on the first day of each month and it
lists the most current priority dates.
The most common visa issued is for a spouse of either a USC, Lawful Permanent
Resident, or a married adult child or sibling of a USC. Regardless of
the relationship, the marriage must be valid at its inception and at the
time of immigration, and not have been entered into solely to obtain an
Other Important Information
Definition of Child
A child is unmarried and one who was born in wedlock or was (legitimized
parents married) before age 18 while in the fathers custody. Children
born out of wedlock may obtain immigration benefits from the natural mother
or the natural father and long as they have established a “bona-fide”
parent child relationship before age 21. Step-children are eligible to
immigrate if the child was under 18 at the time of the marriage and the
relationship can continue after the death of or divorce from the natural
parent provided there has been an active parental interest. Adopted children
are eligible to immigrate if adopted before the age of 16 and have been
in the legal custody and resided with the adoptive parent for at least
two years. Orphans can be petitioned if under 16 and if both parents have
died disappeared or abandoned the child. If there is a sole or surviving
parent, he or she must be incapable of providing support for the child
and irrevocably releases the child for adoption.
Affidavit of Support
All U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who petition to have their
family members admitted to the U.S. as immediate relatives or through
the various family-based preferences must act as sponsors and provide an
Affidavit of Support for the alien. The affidavit is required to assure the USCIS that the
alien will not become a public charge. To qualify as a sponsor the individual
must be 18 or older, a USC or LPR of the U.S. and live or hold domicile
in the U.S. This document states that the petitioner can support the alien
at 125% of the federal poverty income level. This amount varies according
to family size and location. In the event that the primary sponsor does
not earn enough income, a co-sponsor may be used. The co-sponsor must
meet the above requirements but does not need to be related to the alien.
In the event of the death of the sponsor, a substitute Affidavit of Support
may be submitted from another close relative only.
The affidavit is an enforceable contract that remains in effect until the
alien becomes a citizen or has worked for more than 40 qualifying quarters
as defined by the Social Security Act. The sponsor and/or co-sponsor can
be required to reimburse any state or federal agency for most public benefits
that the alien receives.
Documents for a Visa Application
All applicants must submit certain personal documents such as passports,
birth certificates, police certificates and other civil documents, as
well as evidence that they will not become public charges in the U.S.
Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless
of age, must undergo a medical examination. A doctor designated by the
consular officer will conduct the examination. Costs for such examinations
must be borne by the applicant. If adjusting status from within the U.S.
USCIS Civil Surgeons list.
USCIS conducts in person interviews before issuing a Visa. The interviews
are detailed question and answer sessions in which the USCIS will attempt
to determine whether the marriage is real and/or the required relationship
exists. USCIS is suspicious of marriages that occur after removal hearings
have been started, marriages where the spouses did not know each other
very long, or do not live together. Different religious backgrounds and
age differences also raise suspicion. To determine where the interview
will be held check for the
local field office that handles applications from your area.
Since no advance assurances can be given that a green card will be issued,
we advise you not to make any travel plans until visas have been issued.