Immediate Relative Through Marriage to a United States Citizen
Perhaps the most common way for a foreign national to acquire a Green Card as fast as possible is to marry a United States citizen.
The marriage itself creates an Immediate Relative status. The Immediate Relative status allows the United States citizen to petition the United States government for a Greed Card for the Immediate Relative foreign national spouse.
The first step requires the United States citizen to start the process by filing an Immediate Relative Visa Petition, also known as an I-130 Application.
I discuss the I-130 Application on a different page. For the purposes of this page it is sufficient to understand that the purpose of this Visa Petition is to establish or prove the existence of the Immediate Relative relationship.
The second step involves actually applying for the Green Card. How the application proceeds depends upon the physical location of the Immediate Relative foreign national spouse.
If the Immediate Relative foreign national spouse is already inside of the United States the application proceeds on the course called Adjustment of Status.
I discuss the term Adjustment of Status on a different page. However, essentially what it means is that the Immediate Relative foreign national adjusts his or her immigration status from that of a nonimmigrant to that of an immigrant.
In plain language this means that the Immediate Relative foreign national spouse does not have to leave the United States in order for the application process to proceed. He or she gets to, in fact must, stay inside of the United States during the process. For reasons both obvious and sublime this provides tremendous advantages for both the Immediate Relative foreign national and the United States citizen.
If the Immediate Relative foreign national spouse is not inside of the United States, he or she must engage in Consular Processing.
Again, I discuss Consular Processing on a different page, but essentially it means that the Immediate Relative foreign national must wait outside of the United States and obtain the Visa through a United States Consulate in their home country before he or she can enter the United States.