Green Cards for Canadians Through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

Canadians married to an American can apply for a green card

Green Card for Canadians Marrying a U.S. Citizen

Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

Canadians are increasingly moving to the United States for reasons such as marriage and work.  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 the Canadian spouse is currently the United States. The second option is Consular Processing if the Canadian citizen is outside the U.S.  In this case, he or she will wait for an immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Consulate.

Proof of Bona Fide Marriage

To be eligible for a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, the couple has the burden of establishing the genuineness of their marriage. This requires providing satisfactory evidence that the relationship is authentic, entered into in good faith, and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card.

The sincerity of a marriage is not necessarily determined by its duration. For example, even if a couple has been married or dating for only a short period before applying, it can still be considered a bona fide marriage.

There is no standard or universal checklist of documents to demonstrate an authentic marriage.  Every relationship is different and unique – some couples don’t have joint bank accounts while others may own separate property.  This aspect holds significant importance, emphasizing the need for an experienced immigration attorney who can thoroughly prepare an application that meets all the necessary criteria.

Green Cards for LGBTQ and Same-Sex Marriages

U.S. and Canadian couples in same-sex marriages 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 via a process called consular processing. After the U.S. citizen spouse’s petition is approved, the Canadian spouse will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. consulate. If approved, he or she will be issued an immigrant and subsequently a green card after moving to the U.S.

Employment Authorization

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.  Unless the applicant 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.

Advance Parole

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 application is being adjudicated. Otherwise, the application may be considered abandoned and the Canadian cannot re-enter the U.S.

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, provided that the need for travel was urgent.  Note that Advance Parole is not available to Canadians applying for a green card through consular processing.

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.