How to Convert a Tourist Visa to a Marriage Green Card

Becoming a permanent resident in the United States through marriage involves careful attention to detail and a clear understanding of the legal requirements. This guide provides a detailed path for those looking to change their tourist or visitor visa status to a Green Card, highlighting the importance of having the right resources to navigate this process successfully.

At Alvva, we want to ensure you have all the information you need and the peace of mind you deserve. If you need support in preparing your documents for a Green Card through marriage, start your process today.

Requirements to Apply for Status Change in the United States

Applying for a status change from a business or tourist visa to a Green Card through marriage involves several steps and requirements that must be carefully followed. This process will allow you to become a permanent resident of the United States based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR). The general steps and recommendations for making this application are detailed below:

  1. Ensure You Meet the Basic Requirements

The be eligible for permanent residency, it is important to meet the basic requirements, which will determine if you’re able to continue to the next steps in your application process:

  • Be married to a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR).
  • Have a valid tourist visa (B-1/B-2 or other non-immigrant visa) and have legally entered the United States.
  1. Completing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

A significant step in this process is the submission of Form I-130, known as the Petition for Alien Relative. The U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse must complete this form, which has a cost starting at $535 ($625 to $675 as of April 1, 2024). This step is crucial in formally establishing the existence of a legitimate marital relationship before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

When filing the I-130, you must attach a variety of documents that serve as evidence of your relationship. These documents include, but are not limited to: the marriage certificate, photographs of you two as a couple, joint correspondence, and any other evidence that demonstrates an authentic and ongoing relationship.

  1. Completing Adjustment of Status via Form I-485

Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) can be filed jointly with the I-130, which can significantly expedite the process. Submitting these forms at the same time allows USCIS to process the application more efficiently and can result in you getting the marriage Green Card faster. This form represents a decisive step towards obtaining permanent residency and costs $1,225 ($1,440 as of April 1), including fees associated with the biometric examination.

  1. Attach Additional Documentation

With Form I-485, you must include:

  • Evidence of legal entry into the United States, such as a copy of your visa and entry stamp.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Two passport-size photographs.
  • A medical examination conducted by a USCIS-authorized doctor (Form I-693).
  • Proof of eligibility for status adjustment, such as the I-94, and Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Proof of the U.S citizen or LPR spouse's financial solvency, often through Form I-864, Affidavit of Financial Support.
  1. Interview and Approval

After submitting all the required forms and documents, an interview with the USCIS will be scheduled for both spouses. During the interview, the authenticity of the marriage and the documents submitted will be verified. It is crucial to attend this interview prepared and to answer all questions with honesty.

If the process is successful and your application is approved, you will be granted permanent residency and receive your Green Card, allowing you to live and work permanently in the United States.

Recommendations for a Successful Process

To ensure success in the process of changing from a tourist visa status to a Green Card through marriage, it's essential to be both proactive and well-prepared. Here, we offer you some key recommendations that can help smooth the path and help you avoid common obstacles. These tips will allow you to face the process with greater clarity and confidence, ensuring that each step is done as efficiently as possible.

Maintain Legality: Ensure to maintain your legal status in the United States while your application is being processed.

Consult with a Lawyer or Immigration Service: Consider consulting with a lawyer or another immigration expert for personalized advice and to ensure that all documents are submitted correctly.

Prepare the Documentation: Organize and carefully prepare all the required documentation to avoid delays in the process.

The Importance of Having an Ally When Changing Your Immigration Status

Navigating the process of converting from a tourist visa status to a Green Card through marriage can be challenging. Having the support of immigration experts, like Alvva, can make a difference.

Each case is unique, and specific details may vary. Therefore, it's crucial to consult official sources and consider seeking professional advice. Remember, preparation, proper documentation, and detailed follow-up are fundamental to achieving a successful transition to your new life in the United States alongside your loved one.

Alvva offers guidance and assistance at every step of the way, helping you to gather your documents and ensuring that your application is handled efficiently and increasing your chances of success. Start with a free consultation today.