Green Card for Canadians Marrying a U.S. Citizen
Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing
As outlined in the Marriage-Based Green Card for Canadians section, there are two ways to apply for a green card through marriage. The first is Adjustment of Status if currently the United States, and the second is Consular Processing while waiting in Canada for an interview at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal. You can apply for adjustment of status if you are currently in the United States on a work visa, student visa or investor visa. Otherwise if you are outside of the United States, you can apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal.
Proof of Bona Fide Marriage
To qualify for a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, the couple must be able to demonstrate that the marriage is legitimate and bona fide. That means that they have to submit enough proof that the marriage is real and entered into in good faith and that it was not just for purposes of obtaining a green card.
A bona fide relationship isn’t just determined by how long a couple has been together. A couple may have only been together for a few months before getting married and that would still be a bona fide marriage.
To prove that a marriage is bona fide, the couple will have to provide extensive documentation and evidence. However, there is no universal checklist of documents to prove a bona fide marriage. Every relationship is different so documents can vary with each case. This is the most important part of a case and it is crucial to have an experienced immigration lawyer prepare an application that ensures all criteria are met.
Green Cards for LGBTQ and Same-Sex Marriages
Canadian-American couples in same sex marriage are eligible for green cards. Read more about Same-Sex and LGBTQ Marriages.
Same-sex and LGBTQ couples who are engaged to each other can also apply for the K-1 fiancé visa.
Adjustment of Status in the U.S.
A Canadian citizen who is currently living in the United States may be able to adjust their status to permanent residency. Valid non-immigrant status examples can include a work visa, investor visa, or student visa.
Consular Processing from Canada
A Canadian citizen who is currently residing outside of the U.S. can apply for an Immigrant Visa through consular processing. After the U.S. citizen spouse’s petition is approved, the Canadian spouse will be required to attend an interview in Montreal. If approved, he or she will be issued an Immigrant Visa and subsequently a green card after moving to the U.S.
A Canadian citizen with a pending adjustment of status application with USCIS can apply for employment authorization (EAD) which allows them to work while they are waiting for their green card interview. Employment authorization is not available to those applying for a green card through consular processing.
At the moment, employment authorization applications are taking about three months for approval. Unless the Canadian is already in a valid non-immigrant status such as TN status, H-1B status, E-2 status, L-1 status, or O-1 status, they should not engage in any type of employment until the EAD is approved.
With the exception of those in H-1B status or L-1 status, Canadians with a pending adjustment of status application cannot travel outside the United States until their green card is approved. Otherwise, the green card application may be considered abandoned. Advance Parole is not available to Canadians applying for a green card through consular processing.
When applying for adjustment of status through marriage, the Canadian may also submit an application for Advance Parole. This would permit them to travel outside the United States and return while their green card application is still pending.
Learn More About How a Canadian Married to an American Can Apply for a Marriage Green Card
Feel free to email us if you want to learn more about how to sponsor a Canadian for a green card through marriage.