When a bride or bridegroom marries someone from another country and they want to live together in America, the American government has procedures to approve the new husband or wife's legal status. The process can either take place while the foreigner is outside the USA, or inside the USA, depending on the circumstances.
The easiest way to explain two of the different marriage green card processing options is to describe real life stories:
Veronica from Peru - Processing Marriage Green Card Inside the U.S.
Veronica, a Peruvian citizen, was already in the United States attending a 4 year university in Dallas when she met her fiance, James, who was a U.S. citizen. Veronica was in the U.S. legally on an F-1 student visa. They dated for about a year, and then James proposed to Veronica. They started plannning one wedding in Texas with James' family and another ceremony in Peru with Veronica's family (who couldn't travel to the U.S.).
In order to coordinate Veronica's switch from an F-1 Student Visa to a Marriage Green Card, James and Veronica retained an immigration attorney with years of experience. The immigration attorney charged $2,500 in legal fees and the government fees were $1,500. The other fees associated with a marriage green card application are the cost of a medical exam (normally $100-$200) by a special government approved doctor and the cost of 4 passport photographs (normally $20).
With the help of their immigration attorney, James and Veronica developed the following timeline:
There are some variations for this timeline, but it provides a general idea of how the marriage green card processing occurs for someone already inside the U.S. In general the entire process takes 4-6 months.
Trinh from Vietnam - Processing Marriage Green Card Outside the U.S.
Joseph is an American engineer whose company periodically sends him to work in Vietnam. Over the course of a couple years, Joseph started dating Trinh when he was in Vietnam, and calling her through Skype when he was back in Los Angeles, CA. They also constantly emailed and texted each other. On Joseph's last assignment in Vietnam he proposed to Trinh and she said yes, she wanted to marry him and live in America. Trinh could not get any type of visa to visit the United States.
In order to coordinate Trinh's arrival in America, Joseph retained an immigration attorney to help him with the marriage green card paperwork. The immigration attorney charged $2,500 in legal fees and the government fees were about $1,200. The other fees were for a medical exam ($100 - 200) in Vietnam and 4 passport photographs ($20).
With the help of their immigration attorney, Joseph and Trinh developed the following timeline:
There are some variations to this timeline, but in general the marriage green card processing takes 6-12 months after the wedding for someone waiting outside the U.S.
Published: 10/03/2012 by Danielle Nelisse
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