Which is Faster – An H-1B Visa or a Marriage Green Card?

There are different ways of getting to a destination. In one way or another, we’ve taken different routes for those purposes. The United States is still a destination for millions and millions of people, but a person might get to this country and be denied entry for any number of reasons. Two ways of legally getting here are on an H1 visa and a marriage visa. Which one is faster though?

The H-1B Visa Classification

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is generally valid for three years. With an employer’s cooperation, it’s renewable for another three years. The H-1B might even be transitioned over into an immigrant visa that would allow the foreign national to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States.

Department of Labor Certification

What comes to issue with a H-B1 employee is that before he or she can obtain the visa, the employer must obtain certification for the job from the U.S. Department of Labor. Once the employer receives certification, the H-1B candidate can apply for his or her visa. About a year after the employer submits appropriate documentation for approval by the department of labor, and assuming there are no requests for additional evidence, the prospective employer can begin the application process by filing its Form I-140. That process could take as short as one month or as long six months, depending on the service center.  Assuming that the I-140 is approved, the foreign national employee can file his or her visa application. If the individual isn’t in the United States, a Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application must be filed in the U.S. Consulate of their country. Current processing time for the employee’s immigration visa is six to nine months under those circumstances.

The Marriage Green Card

As opposed to the H-1B visa obtaining a marriage green card is a far less complicated process. Assuming that a spouse lives in the United States, he or she will be the petitioner, and the spouse outside of the U.S. will be the beneficiary. Both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can file a petition for a marriage green card. A marriage green card allows the foreign beneficiary spouse to live and work in the United States as a permanent resident. To be eligible for a marriage green card, you must show U.S. Customs and Immigration Services the following:

  • Your marriage is legally recognized in the country you were married in.
  • You’re married to either a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • Your marriage is bona fide and legitimate and not a fake marriage for purposes of immigration.
  • If you were married before, a divorce or annulment decree or death certificate must be provided.

Immigration Forms to Be Submitted

A Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with supporting documentation must be filed. A Form I-485 Application for Permanent Residence or Form DS-260 must also be filed. A consular interview will then be scheduled. If you’re married to a U.S. citizen, expect the process to take a little over a year, so long as there are no requests for additional evidence.

The pivotal factor might be that with a marriage green card, lawful permanent residence awaits you. It’s not necessarily guaranteed on an H-B1 visa. Time frames are substantially similar, so the convenience of a marriage green card might appeal to you. If there are other questions or issues that you need to discus, contact us here at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers.