The U.S. immigration system often moves slowly. While obtaining legal permanent residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen is usually one of the faster processes, approval of your application may take months or longer.
To avoid unnecessary delays, you should assemble all relevant evidence to support your marriage-based green card application. While your case may require additional ones, four types of evidence are usually necessary.
When you apply for a marriage-based green card, you must submit biographic documentation for both you and your spouse. These include copies of the following:
- Your birth certificate
- Your spouse’s birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate
Your green card application must describe your immigration history. It also should demonstrate that your spouse is legally able to sponsor you. Therefore, you likely want to gather copies of the following:
- Your spouse’s passport or naturalization certificate if he or she was born outside the U.S.
- Your passport
- Your current and expired nonimmigrant visas and I-94 arrival and departure records
Financial and marital documents
If your green card application stems from your marriage, immigration officers must ensure your marriage is genuine. Showing you have joint finances is usually effective. Copies of the following may be useful:
- Your joint financial statements, bank accounts, credit cards and loan documents
- Your children’s birth certificates
- Statements from friends and family members
- Photographs of you and your spouse together
Most applicants for legal permanent residency must visit an authorized physician for a medical examination. When you go to the appointment, take your vaccination record, insurance card and payment.
The civil surgeon is likely to give you a sealed copy of your medical examination. You must submit the sealed exam with your application for permanent residency.