Chicago Immigration Attorneys

How to Get a Green Card for Your Spouse

male and female hands with wedding rings

If you are U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, immigration laws allow you to file a family petition to obtain legal permanent residence for your spouse.

Essentially, there are two processes available to obtain a green card through marriage: adjustment of status and an immigrant visa via consular processing. Many factors will determine which process is appropriate for your particular case.

Keep in mind that regardless of which process your spouse qualifies for, there are two requirements that you, the petitioner, must show:

  1. You must establish that you are a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. This is fairly easy to show. If you are a U.S. citizen, your U.S. birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, or naturalization certificate is sufficient for this requirement. If you are a legal permanent resident, you may establish this requirement by providing a copy of the front and back of your unexpired green card.
  2. You must also show that at the time of your marriage, you and your spouse intended to establish a life together. To meet this requirement, you must present evidence of your relationship, such as proof of having children together, commingling of assets, and cohabitation.

Adjustment of Status

This process is only available for individuals physically present in the U.S. The main benefit of this process is that the applicant does not have to leave the U.S. The interview, biometrics appointment, and medical exam are all done locally. As mentioned in our previous post, not everyone qualifies for this process.

To qualify for adjustment of status, the applicant must meet one of the following requirements:

  • The applicant must have been lawfully admitted to the U.S.
  • Be eligible for 245(i) — Section 245(i) allows some people, who are otherwise ineligible for adjustment of status, to apply if they pay $1,000. 245(i) has its own set of eligibility requirements.
  • Have a spouse, parent, or child who is actively serving in or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

Consular Processing

This process is commonly used by people living in the U.S. who do not qualify for adjustment of status, or for individuals living abroad. To begin this process, the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident files a family petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition has been approved and the case eligible for further processing, USCIS will transfer the case to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then proceed to collect the immigrant visa and affidavit of support fees. The applicant will then have to submit his or her immigrant visa application and supporting documentation. Once the NVC receives all the required documents, the case is transferred to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for the final immigrant visa interview.

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This blog is made available for educational purposes only and to provide a general understanding of U.S. immigration laws. The information published on this site should not be construed as legal advice. Further, the use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.