How Can I Get a Green Card For My Spouse?
Obtaining A Green Card For Your Spouse: Things to Know Before Applying
A U.S. Green Card means that you are able to obtain permanent residence “through your family, a job offer or employment, refugee or asylum status, or a number of other special provisions.” (Source: USCIS) But what if you are wanting to sponsor someone instead of getting a card yourself? For example, if you are asking yourself, “how can I get a green card for my spouse” or “how can I help a family member apply”, there are some important things to consider.
Are you currently in the United States with your spouse? Are you looking to have them stay with you in the U.S. long-term? As it stands, the process for applying for a U.S. Green Card for a spouse residing in the U.S. can seem daunting and complicated. To make the process a little easier, here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know when applying:
One Step Process
If you are an immediate relative, that is a spouse, unmarried child under 21 or a parent of a U.S. citizen, and currently residing in the United States, that relationship allows you to apply on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the same time that your U.S. citizen petitioner files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. For further information on one step filing for permanent residence, visit the USCIS’s Concurrent Filing page
Two Step Process
This is if you file Form I-485 and Form I-130 separately. The two steps indicate the filing and verification of Form I-130 that the sponsor must fill out, its approval, and the subsequent filing of Form I-485 by the U.S. Green Card recipient.
Your U.S. citizen spouse/ immediate relative must file the Form I-130 and have it either pending or approved.
After receiving Form I-797 showing that Form I-130 has been received or approved, then you may file Form I-485. As part of your I-485 application package, you must include a copy of the Form I-130 approval notice or Form I-797.
Further Details About the Process
• In totality, the process can take about 6-9 months
• Your spouse will need to make a biometric appointment: fingerprints will be taken to run a background check
• Your spouse will receive work and travel authorization within 90 days of filing provided the proper forms are completed
• Your spouse must undergo a medical examination from a designated civil surgeon
• You and your spouse may be required to attend an interview
• You must meet the financial requirements outlined by the USCIS
• Immediate family members do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available as there are an unlimited number of visas available for that group of categories
• If you and your spouse have been married for less than two years, then your U.S. Green Card, if approved, will be issued on a conditional basis that is initially valid for only two years
• If the U.S. Green Card is issued to a couple having been married for more than two years than it is issued on a permanent basis for 10 years
• During Green Card processing, your spouse is not allowed to work or travel unless authorized to do so
For more information regarding obtaining a U.S. Green Card for a spouse or family member, visit us here.
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