Updated: Sep 19, 2022
If you are married or planning to get married and thinking of applying for a marriage based green card, then you are probably wondering when is the best time to submit your application.
While there is typically no set time frame to apply for your marriage green card, once you are married to a citizen or resident, (you can start the petition the next day if you’d like.)
However, there are some things you should consider if you are planning on submitting your petition, such as ensuring that you qualify for a green card, and that you can prove that you are in a bona fide marriage.
USCIS is not so much concerned about the length of your marriage, as much as its validity and that you are in a genuine marriage. So long as you can prove that your marriage is real by providing evidence of a bona fide marriage (real and genuine).
So, what evidence should you submit?
You should submit any evidence that your marriage is real.
The obvious evidence would be evidence of a marriage certificate and proof that you live together; but in addition to that, you want to be sure to provide supporting evidence that you are in an ongoing and continuous marriage where you intend to build a future together.
You can submit proof of joint bills, joint bank accounts, mortgage, life insurance, any evidence demonstrating that you have comingled your finances, pictures of your relationship (and I don’t just mean picture at the wedding), I mean pictures on vacation, events, pictures with family and friends, pictures that paint a picture of your lives. If there are joint children, you can provide their birth certificate, you can also submit affidavits and letters of support from family and friends who are familiar with your relationship.
The goal is to provide any evidence that will show the Immigration officer reviewing your file that your marriage is real, and that you did not enter the marriage for the purpose of securing immigration benefits.
So while there is not time restriction on applying for a green card after marriage, if you apply for your green card when your marriage is less than two years, you will receive what is known as a conditional green card. If you receive a conditional green card, then you will have to go through a process known as removal of conditions, to remove conditions on your green card, after two years. If your marriage is older than two years at the time you apply and receive your green card, you will receive a ten-year green card, and will not have to remove conditions. The ten-year green card is the permanent green card, and after three years you may be eligible for U.S. citizenship. If you receive a two-year green card, there is no need to worry. Individuals with a two-year conditional green card, have the same rights and privileges as a person with a ten-year green card.
If you would like to learn more about the marriage green card process, then you can download my marriage green card guide or you can call my office to set up a Legal Consultation and speak to me Ebony and learn about your immigration options.