Marriage-Based Green Cards

Marriage-based green card lawyer Dayna Lally offers free initial phone consultations for questions about green cards through marriage.


If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can obtain a green card through your marriage.

An immigrant may be ineligible for adjustment of status if they are subject to one or more bars.

Some of the most common reasons for green card denials include:

  • Unlawful status;
  • Failure to maintain status; and
  • Unauthorized employment.

Certain bars do not apply to immediate relatives of United States citizens.

An immediate relative of United States citizen may apply for a green card in the United States even if:

  • The relative is now employed, or has ever been employed, in the United States without authorization;
  • The relative is not in lawful immigration status on the date he or she files for a green card;
  • The relative has ever failed to continuously maintain a lawful status since entry into the United States;
  • The relative was last admitted to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as a visitor under the Guam or CNMI Visa Waiver Program and is not a Canadian citizen;
  • The relative was last admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant visitor without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program; or
  • The relative has ever violated the terms of his or her nonimmigrant status.

Application Process

U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse files a I-130 petition to establish a bona fide marital relationship. Applicant files a I-485 application with supporting documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Electronic Filing

Electronic filing is available for I-130 petitions, but not I-485 applications.


The fee to file an I-130 petition is $535.

The fee to file an I-485 application is $1,140. An $85 biometric services fee is required for applicants age fourteen to seventy-eight.

USCIS filing fees are not refundable, regardless of any action U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services takes on the application.

Checks should be made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Fee Waiver

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider a fee waiver request for an I-485 application. You can review the fee waiver guidance on the USCIS Fee Waiver website.

Processing Time

Immigrant visa petitions and green card applications are processed at varying speeds depending on a variety of circumstances. Visit the USCIS Processing Times website for the most up-to-date information.

Conditional Permanent Residency

Two-year green cards are given to individuals who were married less than two years at the time they applied for green card. This is known as “conditional permanent residency.”

In order to remain a permanent resident, a conditional permanent resident must file a petition to remove the conditions of their residency during the ninety days before their two-year green card expires.

The petition is Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Removal of Conditions

Timely filing to remove the conditions on permanent residency is a critical step for condition permanent residents to obtain a ten-year green card.

If a conditional resident does not timely apply to remove the conditions on their permanent residence, they could lose their conditional resident status and be removed from the country.

Want More Information?

A more detailed description of the marriage-based green card services offered by Lally Immigration is available (here).

Have an Immigration Question?

If you have a question about immigration or would like to schedule a free consultation for a marriage-based green card application, contact Dayna Lally using the contact form below.

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