Exit intend background

Questions about
 your Case?

I offer confidential 30 minute 
& 1 hour consultations.

Let's Talk

Your journey to America Starts Here

What are the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage?

What are the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage?

To obtain lawful permanent residence, also known as a green card through marriage, you need to submit documentary evidence that you are eligible to receive a green card. In addition to proof that you have entered into a bona fide marriage with a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, you have to submit a number of green card marriage forms, supported with documentary evidence, that illustrate both that your marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident is valid and that you are not inadmissible to the United States. 

In order to make the process of applying for a green card through marriage smoother for you, we have compiled a list of all the green card marriage forms that you have to submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when applying for a green card through marriage, as well as a list of all the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage.

There are two main categories of green card marriage forms that you have to file in order to apply for a spouse visa USA.

Green card marriage forms: Immigrant Petition 

Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

The purpose of this form is to establish that you and your spouse have entered into a valid marriage. Without this form, you cannot file any of the other green card marriage forms listed below.

Form I-130A, Supplemental Information 

This form requires information about the foreign national spouse’s employment and residential history for the past five years, as well as other background information for the applicant. These two green card marriage forms must be submitted together. 

I offer confidential 30 minute & 1 hour consultations.

Green card marriage forms: Application for Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status

Form I-485 Application for Permanent Residence or Adjustment Status

This form is your application for permanent residence, or a green card. It is proof that you meet the eligibility criteria to become a permanent resident of the United States. 

Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

This form is a contract between the US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse and the US government. It serves as an agreement that the US sponsor has the income and assets to take financial responsibility for the immigrant spouse and that the sponsor will not let the immigrant spouse become a public charge.

Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination

To prove that you are not inadmissible to the United States on health-related grounds, you need to undergo a medical examination. A USCIS-approved doctor will conduct your medical exam and fill this form out for you. 

Form I-131 Application for Travel Document

If you leave the United States while your green card application is pending, USCIS will consider your application abandoned. This form allows you to get a temporary travel permit while your green card application awaits adjudication.

Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

While you are waiting for your application for permanent residence to be approved, you are not allowed to work in the United States. This form allows you to get a temporary work permit while your green card application is being adjudicated. 

Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency

Green card applicants use this form to provide information about their financial situation. This form is used by USCIS to determine whether the applicant will be able to support himself or herself without having to rely on public benefits. 

Along with these green card marriage forms, you will need to assemble a vast array of documents. Below you can find a list of documents required for a green card through marriage. Please note that you should always send copies of these documents. Do not submit the originals of any item from the list of documents for a green card through marriage, since nothing you submit to USCIS will be returned to you. 

Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) 

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by both spouses.

The US citizen or a green-card holder spouse has to provide:

Proof of US citizenship:

  • A color copy of your passport biographic information page; or 
  • A copy of your birth certificate; or
  • A copy of your naturalization certificate, if applicable; or

Proof of permanent residence status:

  • If the petitioner spouse is a green card holder, you need to submit a color copy of your green card.

The foreign national spouse has to provide:

Proof of nationality: 

  • A color copy of your passport biographic page, or;
  • A copy of your birth certificate, together with a certified translation if your birth certificate is not in English.

Both Spouses have to provide the items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage:

Proof of valid marriage:

  • A copy of your marriage certificate. If your marriage certificate is in a language other than English, you have to provide a certified translation;
  • Documentary evidence that the marriage is genuine. This can include, but is not limited to, any items from the list below:
    • A lease or mortgage signed by both spouses; if not applicable, you should submit some form of documentary evidence that you and your spouse live together;
    • Pictures showing the couple, together with friends and family, including wedding pictures, if any. You should include a short description of the pictures, including when and where they were taken, who is in the pictures, and what is the activity depicted in them;
    • Proof of joint ownership of property – e.g. a car title, car insurance, etc. – anything you and your spouse might own together;
    • Joint bills – utility, electricity, cable, cell phone, etc. These have to be addressed to both you and your spouse; 
    • Joint bank account statement, as proof of your shared finances – any bank accounts that you might share. Again, these statements should have both your names on them;
    • Some sort of joint membership – a gym membership, or a membership to a grocery store chain, that is, again, in both your names;
    • Any kind of joint insurance – car, dental, health, life, etc. that lists both of you as beneficiaries;
    • Proof of any trips you might have taken together – plane tickets, gas bills, itineraries, hotel bookings, etc.;
    • Any cards or letters addressed to both of you. This might include shipping receipts addressed to both you and your spouse;
    • Proof that you’re each other’s emergency contact;
    • Letters from family and friends that attest to the validity of your relationship and marriage. Along with these you should submit some form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or a passport, that corroborates their identity. 

Proof of name change

If any spouse has changed their legal name, you should submit documentary evidence of the name change. Usually your marriage certificate will suffice, but you can also include a court order of name change, if applicable.

Proof of termination of previous marriages, if applicable

If either spouse has been previously married, you need to submit proof of the dissolution of marriage, a divorce settlement, a certificate of annulment  or a death certificate – any form documentary evidence that the previous marriage has been terminated.

Adjustment of Status Application (I-485)

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the foreign national spouse.

Proof of nationality:

  • A color copy of your passport biographic information page, as well as copies of all previous passport biographic pages used to enter the United States; or
  • A copy of your birth certificate, together with a notarized translation if your birth certificate is not in English.

Proof of lawful entry into the United States, as well as proof of lawful status 

In order to be eligible for permanent residence, you need to demonstrate that your current presence in the United States is lawful.

  • A copy of your current US visa;
  • Copies of all US visa stamps and entry stamps from current or expired passports;
  • Your latest Form I-94, which you can find here;
  • Your I-94 travel record, which lists all of your previous lawful entries and exits, which you can find here.

If you have ever previously resided in the United States as a worker, exchange visitor, student, etc. you will have to submit copies of the following:

  • Copies of all I-797 Approval Notices you have received from USCIS;
  • Copies of your  I-20s, if you lived in the United States in F-1 student status;
  • Copies of your DS-2019s or IAP-66s, if you resided in the US in J-1 status;
  • Copies of I-612 J waiver approval notices; 

Records of previous interactions with law enforcement, if applicable:

  • You should submit any court, police, or prison records that you might have.

Records of previous immigration violations, if applicable:

  • You should submit any deportation documents that you might have.

Medical examination document

In order to prove that you are not inadmissible to the United States on the grounds of a health condition, you need to undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-designated civil surgeon. The results of the USCIS medical examination are valid for a year.

  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination. Make sure to bring the most recent version of the form, which you can find here, to your medical examination. 

Your medical exam will consist of: 

  • A review of your medical history and your vaccination record; 
  • A physical, as well as mental evaluation; 
  • Drug/alcohol screening;
  • Tests for some communicable diseases which are of public health significance

Consular Processing (DS-260)

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the foreign national spouse.

If you are the foreign national spouse applying for a green card through marriage from outside of the United States, your permanent residence application will have to go through consular processing. For this purpose, instead of an adjustment of status application (Form I-485), you will have to submit Form DS-260, and you will attend an interview at a US consulate abroad.

Proof of nationality:

  • A color copy of your passport biographic information page, as well as copies of all previous passport biographic pages used to enter the United States; or
  • A copy of your birth certificate, together with a certified translation if your birth certificate is not in English.

Proof of valid marriage

Your marriage certificate will suffice. Other documentary evidence of the validity of the marital union, as listed above, should be submitted at the time of your green card marriage interview.

Proof of termination of previous marriages

If either spouse has been previously married, you need to submit proof of the dissolution of marriage, a divorce settlement, a certificate of annulment  or a death certificate – any form documentary evidence that the previous marriage has been terminated.

Records of military service, if applicable:

  • DD-214, if you served in the US military; 
  • Any other US military service records; 
  • Records of military service in a country other than the United States.

Police clearance certificate

You should submit any court, police, or prison records that you might have. If you do not have any police records, you should obtain a police clearance certificate.

Records of previous immigration violations, if applicable

You should submit any deportation documents that you might have.

Financial support form (I-864)

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the US citizen or green card holder spouse.

In order to be eligible to sponsor your foreign national spouse for a green card through marriage you must meet certain income requirements. Your household income should be at 125% or higher than the US federal poverty level for income proportionate to your household size. 

Your household size includes you, the US citizen sponsor; your dependents; any relatives living with you; and any immigrants, including your foreign national spouse, that you are sponsoring.

Proof of ability to financially support the foreign national applicant:

  • A copy of your most recent federal income tax return, as well as your tax transcript; or copies of your federal income tax returns from the last three years;
  • Recent pay stubs; 
  • A letter from your employer as evidence of your employment

Proof of asset value, if you are including your assets to meet the income requirements:

  • Bank account statements;
  • Ownership documents of stocks, bonds, or other types of investment accounts; 
  • Deeds or titles for your home, together with a recent appraisal of your home’s value by a licensed appraiser; 
  • Deeds or titles for your vehicle, as well as a recent appraisal of your vehicle’s value by a licensed appraiser;

If you are not sure you meet the income requirement, our experienced marriage-based immigration attorney can review your application package and determine whether or not your household income is equal to, or higher than 125% of the federal poverty income level. 

Work Permit Application Form (I-765)

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the foreign national spouse.

Proof of lawful entry into the United States, as well as proof of lawful status:

  • A copy of your current US visa;
  • Copies of all US visa stamps and entry stamps from current or expired passports;
  • Your latest Form I-94, which you can find here;
  • Your I-94 travel record, which lists all of your previous lawful entries and exits, which you can find here.

If you are not filing your application to adjust status concurrently with your immigrant petition (Form I-130), you have to submit proof of your pending marriage-based application for permanent residence:

  • Receipt Notice, or Form I-797C; 

If you have previously been issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), you have to submit a color copy of it; or if you have previously been issued some other work permit(s), you should submit copies of these; 

Proof of nationality:

  • A color copy of your passport biographic information page, as well as copies of all previous passport biographic pages used to enter the United States; or
  • A copy of your birth certificate, together with a certified translation if your birth certificate is not in English.

Proof of identity:

  • Two passport-style photos of you.

Travel Permit Application Form (I-131) 

The items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the foreign national spouse.

Government-issued photo ID:

  • A copy of your green card; or
  • A copy of your passport biographic information page; or
  • A copy of your current EAD card; or
  • A copy of your valid driver’s license;

Proof of your current lawful immigration status:

  • A copy of your current US visa; or 
  • A copy of Form I-797, Notice of Action, which indicates your current status;

Proof of pending Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (if not filed concurrently);

Further proof of identity:

  • Two passport-style photos of you.

Public Charge Test (I-944)

The majority of the items from the following list of documents for a green card through marriage must be provided by the foreign national spouse. The US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse might have to provide some of these marriage-based green card documents as well.

Proof of income:

  • US federal tax transcripts for the most recent tax year. If you did not submit any, but were listed as dependent on someone else’s federal tax returns, you need to submit their tax transcripts;
  • Tax transcripts from a country other than the United States, if you did not reside in the United States during the last tax year;
  • If you were not required to file federal tax returns for the past three year, you have to submit either Form W-2, or a Social Security Statement;
  • Evidence of any non-taxable income.

Proof of assets

Both the foreign national spouse and the US citizen or lawful permanent resident should submit proof of any assets, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Checking and savings account statements;
  • Retirement account statements;
  • Ownership documents of stocks, bonds, or other types of investment accounts;
  • Deeds or titles for your home, together with a recent appraisal of your home’s value by a licensed appraiser;
  • Deeds or titles for your vehicle, as well as a recent appraisal of your vehicle’s value by a licensed appraiser.

Proof of liabilities and/or debts

Both the foreign national spouse and the US citizen or lawful permanent resident should submit proof of any debts and liabilities, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Documentary evidence of mortgages, car loans, bank loans, etc.
  • Proof of unpaid taxes or credit card bills;
  • Documentary evidence of student loans;
  • Evidence of current or previous bankruptcies. 

Proof of good credit

Both the foreign national spouse and the US citizen or lawful permanent resident should submit proof of good credit: 

  • A free credit report from one of the three nationwide reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian.
  • If you have no US credit score, or no credit history, you have to submit proof in the form of a letter from a credit bureau confirming that you have no reportable credit score.

Proof of health insurance or ability to pay for medical treatment

Both the foreign national spouse and the US citizen or lawful permanent resident should submit proof of ability to pay for medical treatment, including but not limited to the following: 

  • A copy of your health insurance policy, including the type of coverage and the individuals covered; 
  • If your health insurance coverage has not started, you need to submit a letter from your health insurance provider, including the date of enrollment, the type of coverage, and the individuals covered.

Proof regarding education and English proficiency

Only the foreign national spouse is required to submit evidence regarding his or her education. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Evidence of an educational degree:
    • A copy of your high school diploma;
    • A copy of your diploma and transcripts for any and all Bachelor’s degrees, or higher;
  • Evidence of occupational skills and/or training, such as professional certificates and licenses;
  • Evaluation of foreign educational achievements;
  • If you are not a native English speaker, evidence of English proficiency, such as proof of language literacy classes, language certificates, or high school or college diplomas.

Others, if applicable:

  • Evidence of using public benefits;
     
  • Evidence of caretaking duties;
  • Evidence regarding fee waivers

Other documents

In addition to all of the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage listed above, you will also have to submit passport-style photographs:

  • 2 passport-style photographs must be submitted by the US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. 
  • 8 passport-style photographs must be submitted by the foreign national spouse.

Here you can find the Photo Requirements. 

You might have noticed that copies of some documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage, such as birth certificates and passport biographic information pages have to be submitted as supporting documents for more than one of the marriage green card forms. You need not submit multiple copies of the same document: one copy will suffice.

If any of the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage is not in English, you will need to submit a certified translation.

The list of documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage is long and overwhelming. Our experienced marriage-based immigration attorney can help you assemble your marriage-based green card application package, and make sure you have submitted all items from the list of documents required for a marriage-based green card. 

Our Marriage Green Card Services

Are you a US citizen or lawful permanent resident who would like to sponsor your foreign national spouse for a green card? Are you a foreign national married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident who needs help applying for permanent residence? Would you like an immigration strategy that has been custom-made for you and your spouse? Are you searching for “a family-based immigration lawyer near me”?

Then we at Pandev Law, LLC are here for you. 

Our immigration attorney can devise a marriage-based green card strategy tailor-made to accommodate the particular needs of your case and prepare your marriage-based petition in accordance with all the pertinent immigration rules. 

To schedule a consultation with our immigration attorney, please click here and click on “Schedule a Consultation.” You can also email us at [email protected], or call us at (212) 220-6652.

During your consultation, our marriage-based immigration lawyer will provide an honest assessment of your case, and a recommendation about your next steps.

Disclaimer: This blog article is provided by Pandev Law, LLC for general educational and informational purposes only. Although this article discusses general legal issues, it does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented in this article, or elsewhere on this website, without seeking the advice of appropriate legal counsel, or other professional counsel, licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. Pandev Law, LLC expressly disclaims any and all liability with respect to any actions taken, or not taken, based on any content of this article or website. This blog article may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

I offer confidential 30 minute & 1 hour consultations.