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A Guide for IR6 Green Card Applicants

Marriage to a U.S. citizen or LPR is a typical option for immigrants to get green cards. Foreign-born spouses can live and work in the US. Call us for more.

What Is the IR6 Green Card?

If you entered the US on a temporary non-immigrant visa, such as a student or tourist visa, you are bound to abide by the conditions upon which your visa was issued and return to your home country before your visa expires. What happens if you fall in love and marry a US citizen while your temporary visa is still valid? Does it mean you’ll be forced to leave your spouse behind when your visa expires? The answer is no. 

You do not need to leave the US in those circumstances unless you choose to. Your marriage to a US citizen qualifies you as an ‘immediate relative‘ under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This qualification makes you eligible for a green card under the immediate relatives of the US citizen category. It is worth noting that individuals other than the spouse, minor children, or parents of the US citizen fall under other green card categories.

Since you’re already in the US, you might be eligible for the IR6 green card, depending on how long you’ve been married. The IR6 green card is a marriage-based green card reserved for spouses of US citizens who have been married for more than two years before their green card application. If you’ve been married that long, the IR6 green card might be your quickest path to becoming a lawful permanent resident and eventually attaining citizenship.

The information provided here will aid you in understanding how this green card category works, the eligibility requirements, and the application process. Read on to learn more.

How the IR6 Green Card Works

The IR6 green card is specifically reserved for foreign spouses of US citizens who gained entry into the US on a non-immigrant visa. It allows them to adjust their immigration status from temporary non-immigrant to permanent resident and obtain all the perks that flow from attaining a lawful permanent resident status.

An IR6 green card holder can live in the United States permanently, subject to a green card renewal every ten years. Once you have applied for this green card, you can immediately apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765- Application for Employment Authorization with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application process for employment authorization is shorter than the green card process. You’ll likely receive your employment authorization document before your green card application is approved. Once this happens, you can work in the US legally and enjoy one of the perks of your imminent lawful permanent residence status even while your IR6 application is pending.

IR6 green card holders are also eligible for the naturalization process after three years, as against the general five-year rule.


Who Is Eligible for an IR6 Green Card?


The IR6 green card has specific eligibility requirements, some common to other marriage green cards, such as the IR1. They include the following:

  • The marriage between the applicant and the U.S. citizen spouse must be legal and authentic. Marriage fraud is a federal crime.

  • The couple must have been married for a minimum of two years. Otherwise, the applicant is not eligible for an IR6 green card. However, they can apply to become a conditional permanent resident via the CR6 green card.

  • The citizen spouse must be at least 21 years of age.

  • The foreign spouse must have entered the United States lawfully and have evidence of such entry.

  • All previous marriages on both sides must have been terminated before the commencement of the current marriage.

  • There are no other legal barriers to the application.

You may need to fulfill other requirements to qualify for the IR6 green card. You may consult your immigration or naturalization lawyer to confirm your eligibility before you begin the application process.

How to Apply for an IR6 Green Card

Like other family immigration procedures, the IR6 application process begins with the US citizen spouse who files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of the applicant.

As a US citizen’s immediate relative, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You may file Form I-485 simultaneously with the immigrant visa petition in a process known as concurrent filing. This helps to reduce the application processing time and allows the immigration authorities to decide on both forms simultaneously.

You and your spouse need to complete the forms accurately before filing to minimize the chances of a denial. You can ask an experienced immigration attorney for help completing and filing the forms to avoid errors.

Other Documents You May Need

You and your spouse have to include other supporting documents while filing the immigration forms. They include the following:

  • Two passport-style photographs.
  • Copy of your government-issued ID.
  • Copy of your birth certificate.
  • Your marriage certificate.
  • Evidence that any previous marriage has been terminated.
  • Evidence of the authenticity of your marriage, such as joint bank account statements or documents showing joint ownership of property.
  • Evidence of the native resident’s US citizenship.


Submitting Your Application

Generally, USCIS forms (except Form I-485) can be submitted online or by mail after paying the filing fees. But if you’re concurrently processing forms I-130 and I-485, you must mail your application.

Once the USCIS receives your application, they’ll send you a notice of receipt. You’ll also receive notices for your biometrics appointment and immigration interview (where applicable). You must attend both events and reschedule your appointment if the assigned dates are inconvenient. Otherwise, the USCIS may deny your application.

Once the USCIS decides on your application, you’ll be notified in writing. Your IR6 green card will be sent to your mail if your application is successful.

If your application fails, the USCIS will let you know why and whether their decision can be appealed. But an adjustment of status denial is generally difficult to appeal. There are other ways to get the USCIS to reconsider its decision. Still, those procedures are complex and involve further expenses. Hence, it is crucial that you get your IR6 application right the first time.


How Long Does the IR6 Green Card Application Process Typically Take?

The duration of the IR6 Green Card application process, which is the process for the foreign-born spouse of a U.S. citizen to register permanent residence or adjust status, can vary significantly.

The timeline of the process is influenced by several factors, including the current workload of the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the complexity of the case, and the specific circumstances of the applicant. Typically, the process can take anywhere from several months to over a year.

After filing the petition, the USCIS will issue a priority date. The length of time, until the priority date becomes current, depends on the visa bulletin and can significantly affect the overall timeline. Once the priority date is current, the foreign-born spouse can proceed with the application for permanent residency.

This includes submitting necessary documentation to prove the bona fide nature of the marriage, fulfilling the physical presence requirement, and attending an interview.

Can IR6 Green Card Applicants Include Dependents in Their Application?

Generally, IR6 Green Card applicants can not include dependents in their immediate relative visa application. The IR6 category is specifically designed for the spouses of U. S. citizens and does not extend to dependents. However, dependents can be sponsored separately under different categories.

For example, children of foreign-born spouses can be sponsored under the IR2 category, which is applicable for unmarried children under 21, or the F2A category (for children of permanent residents). It’s important to note that each dependent will require a separate application, and these applications often involve demonstrating exceptional ability or meeting specific immigration benefits criteria.

For these complex scenarios, it is best to consult with an immigration lawyer. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on the best approach to secure permanent residency for dependents, considering the unique aspects of each case and ensuring compliance with the relevant immigration laws.

Get Help With Your IR6 Green Application at Do Law Office

Due to frequent marriage/immigration fraud incidents, marriage-based green cards are intensely scrutinized by the USCIS. As such, any mistakes or discrepancies in the application forms or supporting documents or during the immigration interview could prove costly.

An easy way to avoid such issues is to get professional help from experienced immigration attorneys who can guide you through the application process based on their knowledge of immigration law and wealth of practical experience.

At Do Law Office, we are passionate about helping immigrants across the US obtain the proper legal documentation and find their feet in their new homeland. With our extensive knowledge and experience in immigration law, we can help you find acceptable solutions, even if your case seems complicated. So, if you’ve hit a snag with your marriage green card application or require guidance and representation on any immigration issue, we are here to help.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Let us help you work towards your immigration goals. 

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