California I-130/I-485 Marriage Based Green Card Attorney

Helping ministers and religious workers when they get married

Most religious workers will enter the United States using some type of work visa, but they have more immigration options if they marry a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident while in the country. U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who want to sponsor a qualified relative for permanent residence in the United States must first submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to establish that they have a valid family relationship. 

When it comes to obtaining a marriage visa, the I-130 petition must be filed to prove that the marriage certificate is legally valid. This step also requires applicants to submit joint bank account statements, joint insurance documents, and photos together to prove that the marriage is “authentic.” 

What Is Form I-485?

The next step in the family-based green card process after you submit Form I-130 is to file Form I-485 (Application for Adjustment of Status). To qualify for an adjustment of status, the immigrant must be physically present in the United States and entered the country legally. 

For marriage green cards, the I-485 must be filed to prove the foreign spouse is eligible for U.S. permanent residency. If the foreign husband or wife is present in the United States, then they can usually file the I-130 and I-485 petitions at the same time.

FAQ: I-30/I-485 Petitions 

Question #1: How long does the I-130/I-485 process take?

A: The processing time depends on the family relationship and which USCIS field office receives the petition. Marriage-based applicants can usually expect to have their cases processed in 12 to 24 months, but more distant relatives may have to wait for up to 20 years or more. Many marriage applicants can remain inside the United States while their application is pending and will receive employment authorization so they can work while they are waiting for their green card.

Question #2: What supporting documents are required to be submitted with the I-130 petition?

A: Sponsors must submit proof that they are a U.S. citizen or green card holder, that a legally valid relationship exists, and that the relationship is not fraudulent. They must also submit proof of any name changes for themselves and/or the person seeking the green card, as well as proof of nationality for the person seeking the green card. 

Question #3: What are the common reasons that I-130/I-485 petitions are denied?

A: Although immigration petitions can be denied for several reasons, common reasons that USCIS may deny your visa include mistakes on the application, failing to submit critical documents, and failure to demonstrate the appropriate family relationship. 

Our attorney has represented some of the largest religious denominations in the world and will gladly help you devise a strategy to pursue your immigration goals with confidence.

Contact us online or call (530) 418-0906 to discuss your immigration options. 


Why Choose Davis Legal Center  

I am the principal attorney at the Davis Legal Center, a boutique immigration law and consulting office in Northern California.  I have more than ten years of experience working on human rights and immigration law and policy matters across the globe.

  • Decade of Experience

    Our principal attorney has more than a decade of experience working in human rights, immigration, and international policy.

  • Religious Focus

    Davis Legal Center only works with churches and religious workers, so you benefit from our specialized expertise.

  • Global Representation
    Davis Legal Center has represented clients in more than 50 countries and has the experience to provide full legal representation no matter your location.
  • All Denominations

    Davis Legal Center is experienced working with all religious denominations and cross-denominational staff.

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