How Can I Get a Green Card For My Spouse?

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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.

green card for spouse

There are many things to consider when applying to obtain a green card for a spouse.

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.

Step One:

Your U.S. citizen spouse/ immediate relative must file the Form I-130 and have it either pending or approved.

Step Two:

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

Additional Information

• 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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