Getting a Green Card Based on Marriage
One of the things that irritates me about the movies and TV is that they make it look like the immigration process is a lot easier than it actually is! For example, in the movies, they make it seem like the moment a foreign citizen gets married to a US citizen, the are automatically handed a green card (otherwise known as legal permanent residency). Not so fast! In reality, the US citizen spouse has to file a spouse based immigration petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Then the foreign citizen spouse has to either apply for an immigrant visa to come into the US and live here, or they can file to change the immigration status if they are legally here in the US. If the foreign citizen spouse came here and did not immigrate legally, then they have their work cut out for them, and really need to talk to an immigration attorney because there is a lot more paperwork that they need to file, and time that they need to invest in the process.
Even in straight forward cases with no significant issues, it can take more than six months for a foreign citizen to get their green card.
If you have questions relating to a marriage based green card, schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer.