How do I apply for an immigrant visa for my foreign spouse to enter the United States? Spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may also become a permanent resident by applying for an Immigrant Visa at a U.S. Consulate. An Immigrant Visa allows the holder to become a permanent resident upon arrival in the United States. The advantage of this process is that the spouse authorized to work immediately and there is no waiting period to travel abroad again. There are three steps to obtaining an Immigrant Visa. First, a petition is filed with the U.S. immigration service seeking recognition of the marriage. This process usually takes about five months, although the wait time can vary. Immigrant Visas for Spouses Second, after the petition is approved, the case file is sent to the Department of State for processing. Before an interview is scheduled at the U.S. Consulate, the case files must fully prepared. The spouse must complete a detailed online form, the visa fees must be paid, and a number of documents must be submitted to the State Department. Third, when the file is complete, it is sent to the U.S. Consulate where the spouse lives for the interview. Before attending the interview, the spouse must undergo a medical examination by a local physician designated by the Consulate. Usually, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident can accompany the spouse to the interview. In fact, the Consulates often appreciate this. After the interview, the visa is usually approved and issued a few days later. Contact Merrick Immigration Law to speak with an experienced immigration professional and learn more about immigrant visas for foreign spouses.
How can my spouse apply for lawful permanent residency (green card) based on our marriage? Of the three methods, adjustment of status often can be the most efficient procedure. The process is available to most foreign-national spouses who have already entered the United States lawfully. This generally means that he or she entered the U.S. with a visa, although others may qualify in certain circumstances. Adjustment of status based on marriage The time-line for this process varies from six months to a year. Many of our clients find this process attractive because the couple can remain living together in the U.S. throughout it. Also, within just a few months of filing, the spouse is eligible to work as the case proceeds. An additional advantage for spouses of U.S. citizens is that, if the spouse’s lawful status in the U.S. has expired, he or she remains eligible to adjust status. This is not the case for spouses of permanent residents. An important point to remember is that the foreign-national spouse cannot travel outside the U.S. while the application is pending, without first obtaining permission. Otherwise, the application is considered abandoned, resulting in loss of the filing fees. In some cases, the spouse will be unable to re-enter the U.S. for many months, if not years. Contact Merrick Immigration Law to speak with an experienced immigration professional and learn more about adjustment of status based on marriage.