Green Card By Marriage: Are Online Marriages a Good Idea?

Embark on with us as we delve into a topic causing quite a stir—the intersection of online marriages and the green card by marriage application process.

Is this a smart move for your spouse's green card journey? Understanding the dynamics of online unions becomes paramount in the ever-evolving immigration landscape. We shed light on the complexities of obtaining a green card based on marriage and weigh the pros and cons of venturing into online matrimony. 

But that's not all—we've got a special bonus for you from expert immigration attorneys. Our guide and FAQs on green cards through marriage are your best guide to ensure smooth sailing through the essential documents. Let's get started!

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Why Online Marriages?: A Contemporary Twist

In today's digital age, people are increasingly getting into online marriages. Whether it's Utah's incredible way of doing things or other places trying it out, the idea of a virtual marriage is catching on. There are good and not-so-good sides to it. Let's break them down!


  • Cost Savings: Online marriages may save on travel expenses.
  • Convenience: You can complete the process remotely.


  • Legal Complexities: Online marriages with foreign nationals may lead to legal complications.
  • Immigration Recognition: They may not be recognized for immigration purposes.
  • Consummation Requirement: A physical meeting is necessary, adding complexity to the process.

The Green Card By Marriage Landscape

When you're considering getting a green card through marriage, it's essential to know the basics. A marriage-based green card is a special way for spouses of US citizens or permanent residents to become permanent residents. 

It all comes down to the real-deal marriage connection between the one asking for it (the petitioner) and the one getting it (the beneficiary).

Green Card By Marriage Status Explained:

A marriage-based green card allows your spouse, whether a US citizen or green card holder, to live and work anywhere and live in the United States. Your spouse can maintain "permanent resident" green card status until they become eligible to apply for US citizenship, typically after three years.

Green Card By Marriage: Are Online Marriages a Good Idea?

Guide: Green Card By Marriage Documents Checklist

Let's arm you with our ultimate guide to the green card by marriage documents checklist. Below is your secret weapon to kick-start the application process. Let's break down the documents needed to apply for a green card through marriage!

1. List of Required Forms to File for Green Card Based on Marriage

  • (I-130) Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary (I-130A).
  • Affidavit of Support (I-864).
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485).
  • (I-765) Application for Employment Authorization.
  • Application for Travel Document (I-131).
  • Medical Report and Vaccinations (I-693).

2. Supporting Documents for Green Card By Marriage:

  • Proof of your marriage and relationship: Proof of your wedding and relationship includes items like joint accounts, shared residence evidence, photos, statements about your relationship, messages/screenshots, social media posts, phone records, and gift receipts.
  • Financial documents: Documents that show your money, like tax papers and bank statements. 
  • Civil documents: Legal papers, like birth or marriage certificates, prove who you are

3. Your Spousal Green Card Document Checklist for Adjustment of Status Application:

  • Marriage certificate (for both you and your partner).
  • Certificate of Naturalization (if you're a US Citizen), your US birth certificate, or US passport bio page.
  • Your green card (for legal permanent residents)
  • Your partner's birth certificate
  • Include the bio page of your partner's expired and current passports.
  • H-1B, DACA, TPS nonimmigrant approvals, and U.S. visa.
  • Divorce certificates for you and your partner's previous spouses.
  • Your partner's criminal records (if applicable)
  • Your documentation of all income (tax returns, W-2s/1099s, professional licenses, or business ownership proof if you're self-employed).

4. Joint Sponsor (if required):

  • Proof of permanent Resident Status or US Citizenship.
  • All income tax returns.
  • 1099s/W-2s for the last year.
  • Professional licenses or business ownership proof if self-employed.

5. Evidence of a Real Marriage:

  • All birth certificates of children born of your marriage.
  • Evidence of joint accounts.
  • Proof of shared residence.
  • Photos.
  • Statements describing how your relationship began and details why you chose to get married.
  • Friends/family members’ statements. 
  • Social media screenshots of posts. 
  • Frequent communication phone records. 
  • Gift receipts.

Discover the pros and cons of an online marriage for a green card. Use our latest green card by marriage guide and FAQs to make informed choices!

Expert Advice and Alternatives

To successfully navigate the green card via marriage process, seek expert advice. Immigration lawyer Josh Goldstein emphasizes the importance of understanding the motivations behind opting for online marriages. 

He suggests sticking to traditional options like fiancé visas (K-1) or spousal visas. These options are proven to be reliable paths for successful immigration.

We’re Here to Help Guide You

In the ever-changing world of immigration, it's crucial to grasp how online marriages affect the green card by marriage process. Consider the pros and cons to ensure a smooth immigration journey. Whether you're considering a Utah online wedding or traditional options, evaluate all the upsides and downsides. 

A Boston or Los Angeles immigration lawyer can best guide you if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your green card through marriage journey deserves the best path. We're here to guide you every step of the way!


Here are some common immigration questions about getting a green card through marriage that you might find helpful.

1. How long does it take to get a green card by marriage?

The consular processing time for a green card based on marriage varies. On average, it can take anywhere from 12 to 36 months. Factors like USCIS workload, the completeness of your application, and your location can influence the timeline. Keep track of USCIS processing times for a more accurate estimate.

2. Can my wife stay in the US while waiting for a green card?

Yes, your wife can stay in the US while waiting for a green card if she has filed an adjustment of status (Form I-485) application. This allows her to live and work in the United States while processing the application. 

However, travel outside the US might require additional documentation, like advance parole, to avoid issues with the green card by marriage application. You must understand and adhere to the rules to maintain legal status during this process.

3. Who can apply for a green card via marriage?

A US citizen or a permanent resident (Green Card holder) can sponsor their spouse for a marriage green card. The sponsoring spouse is the petitioner, and the foreign spouse is the beneficiary.

4. How much does a marriage green card cost?

As of December 2023, securing a marriage-based green card involves fees of $1,760 for a spouse in the US or $1,200 for one outside the US. There are extra costs for the medical exam, typically between $200 and $500. 

We advise you to check with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the latest price updates. 

5. Will I lose my green card if I get divorced?

Divorce doesn't impact your status without a permanent resident green card. However, it might delay your naturalization application. Obtaining a permanent green card could become more challenging if you hold a conditional green card and go through a divorce.

6. Can I start working immediately after marrying a US citizen?

After marrying a US citizen, you can begin working five to seven months after receiving a receipt notice for your green card application. Submitting Form I-765 with Form I-485 can help speed up the process.

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