Many a times, U.S. citizens or green card holders marry someone who is not a U.S. citizen or green card holder. In this situation, the U.S. citizen can apply for a marriage green card that will allow his spouse to live and work permanently in the United States.

You can also bring your non-US-citizen spouse to the U.S. on a K3 visa. For process, document list and filing fees, check out detailed K3 visa process page.

Applying for a green card or permanent residency for a spouse has different requirements depending upon whether the spouse is living in the U.S. at the time of the application or abroad. Also, these requirements vary depending upon how long the couple have been married the green card issued varies for spouses married for 2 years or more.

Also Read: Other categories of green cards

Process To Get A Green Card For Spouse


Getting a green card for a spouse is a 3-step process:

Step 1: Form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative


The Form I-130 establishing the relationship between the married couple. The U.S. citizen of green card holder fills out the I-130, pays the required fee of $535 and submits the following documents to USCIS

  • Completed I-130

  • Sponsoring spouses birth certificate

  • Marriage certificate

  • A joint proof of evidence like a bank statement, wedding pictures, joint leasing document, etc.

  • Previous divorce document, if applicable

Step 2: Form I-485 - Adjustment of Status


Once USCIS verifies the details of the Form I-130, the spouse can apply for the green card.

If the spouse seeking permanent residency lives in the U.S. at the time of application, she should include the following list of documents to establish eligibility for the green card along with a filing fee of $1,125

  • Completed I-485

  • Proof of original citizenship, like birth certificate or copy of the passport

  • Copy of I-94 or visa stamp

  • Medical certificate from a USCIS approved doctor

  • Completed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support

  • Pay stubs of primary beneficiary to prove that he can financially support you

If the spouse seeking permanent residency lives abroad, she submits the following documents tothe National Visa Center (NVC)with a filing fee of $445

  • Completed DS-260

  • Proof of original citizenship, like birth certificate or copy of the passport

  • Police clearance certificate

  • Pay stubs of primary beneficiary to prove that he can financially support you

Step 3: Interview - Step


Once all the documents are verified and cleared, the couple will be called for an interview with a USCIS officer at a local office, if the applicant lives in the U.S. at the time.

If the applicant is abroad, the applicant will attend the interview at aU.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

The duration of the green card depends upon how long the couple have been married. Details here

The entire process takes approximately 1-1.5 years to receive the green card in hand, be it in the U.S. or abroad. Several factors like the total number of green cards released each visa bulletin every month as well as the country of origin will impact the duration and processing of the marriage green card.