Marriage Visa Services
A foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen usually has two options for pursuing U.S. permanent resident, or “green card” status through marriage.
Consular Processing of Marriage (Immigrant) Visa: If the foreign national spouse lives abroad, the U.S. citizen will typically initiate their spouse’s Green Card processing with the filing of an I-130 marriage visa petition to then facilitate processing at a U.S. consular post in the foreign national spouse’s home country. Once issued, the marriage visa (an immigrant visa) will allow for entry into the U.S. as a permanent resident, with the resident card or Green Card mailed to the foreign national in the U.S. within a few months of their arrival. If the underlying marriage has not yet reached the two-year mark by the time of the foreign national’s entry on their marriage visa, then the Green Card will be issued on a conditional, two-year basis, with the foreign national being required to submit an additional filing (Form I-751) at the end of the Green Card two-year validity period to remove the conditional basis and be issued a “permanent,” non-conditional Green Card.
Adjustment of Status in the U.S.: If the foreign national spouse is already in the U.S. with some sort of nonimmigrant visa status, or in some cases no status at all, he/she may be eligible to complete all marriage visa/permanent resident (Green Card) processing in the U.S., and without having to visit a U.S. consular post in their home country. The process, known as Adjustment of Status, involves the simultaneous filing of Form I-130 and Form I-485 (as well as other applications and supporting documentation) with a final interview taking place at the applicant’s nearest Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services office. This is called a one-stop filing. If approved, the marriage-based applicant will be accorded Green Card status and will be subject to the same conditional resident limitations as an applicant who underwent marriage visa processing abroad.
If the foreign spouse is in the U.S. having overstayed their visa, or having otherwise violated their nonimmigrant visa status, the Adjustment of Status option will be available in most cases, and in fact, will generally be the best and only option. DHS/CIS’ relatively quick processing of marriage based Adjustment of Status applications – with interviews scheduled within 90 to 120 days filing – is another reason the Adjustment of Status option may be preferable. If the marriage-based Green Card/Adjustment of Status package is filed properly and the applicant and their spouse are ready with all required information and documentation at the time of their interview, a Green Card is usually issued within just a week or two following the interview.
For assistance obtaining a marriage-based visa contact the Law Offices of Richard Hanus today.
For marriage based LGBT applicants click here.
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