Who is Qualified to Apply for a Marriage-Based Green Card?

Do you consider applying for a Marriage-Based Green Card for your spouse? Signing and submitting Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) makes you the sponsor. Check this page for the requirements of the sponsor and applicant.


The most important factor when applying for a spousal visa, the marriage-based Green Card, is the fact that your marriage is a bona fide, legal and valid relationship. Proving it to the USCIS can be a difficult process, but with the right documentation and evidence, it can be a straightforward process.


I. A legally valid marriage - bona fide relationship

The USCIS will constantly review all marriage-based Green Card applications to determine whether or not they are based on a bona fide, real, genuine marriage. There are instances where couples enter into a fraudulent marriage to circumvent the immigration process to illegally provide immigration benefits. In order to overcome this notion, all marriage-based Green Card applicants and their main sponsor spouse must provide documentation, evidence, and proof of the genuine nature of the legally valid bona fide marriage.

Same-sex marriages are also valid for a marriage-based Green Card application as long as the marriage was legally valid bona fide where the marriage occurred. Should the same-sex couple be married where same-sex marriage is not legally official, then they will need to officially get married where same-sex marriage is deemed legally valid before applying for a marriage-based Green Card application.


II. Main sponsor requirement(s)

Marriage-based Green Card applications are available to foreign nonimmigrant spouses that are married to a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Green Card holder. Among other requirements, the following are additional requirements to keep in mind for the main sponsor:

  1. Main sponsor must be legally married to the marriage-based Green Card applicant
  2. Main sponsor must sponsor the marriage-based Green Card applicant financially during the application process
  3. Main sponsor must meet the minimum income requirement set by the USCIS
  4. Main sponsor must maintain residence within the United States
    • Main sponsor that live outside of the United States must provide evidence of their intent to return to live in the United States
  5. Wait at least five (5) years since the approval of the main sponsor’s Green Card, if received through a separate marriage-based Green Card application

III. Marriage-based Green Card applicant requirement(s)

Among other requirements, the following are additional requirements to keep in mind for the marriage-based Green Card applicant:

  1. The marriage-based Green Card applicant must be able to pass the medical examination
  2. The marriage-based Green Card applicant must not have been convicted of crimes deemed by the USCIS as ineligible
  3. The marriage-based Green Card applicant must not have a background that would deem to be a security risk to the United States
  4. The marriage-based Green Card applicant must not have questionable immigration history that the USCIS deems to be:
    • Fraudulent misrepresentations made to the USCIS
    • Affected by removal proceedings, not adhering to 90-days rule, or other immigration violations