Certain elements of immigration and entry into the United States are currently being challenged. However, requirements for allowing spouses and close family members to join citizens or green card holders as permanent residents remain in place. The best strategy for making spousal permanent residency a reality is to work with a qualified immigration attorney who can professionally advise and assist in the application process.
If you are a foreign citizen married to a United States citizen or permanent resident, the U.S. Government provides methods to award a green card to allow you to remain with your spouse. Guidelines for application differ, depending on the circumstances, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers four different paths to reuniting married couples legally.
Each of the four methods is appropriate for different green card marriage circumstances. However, none of these are automatic nor guaranteed, so your application must be clear and truthful to pass the requirements of the USCIS.
Green Card Marriage through Marriage Application
Applying for permanent residency through a green card marriage application can be one of the quickest ways to obtain approval. The essential elements of these applications are:
- Certifying the eligibility of both the sponsor and the beneficiary
- Proving the legitimacy of the marriage and that the union is not simply a means to gain permanent residency for the spouse
Sponsors who are citizens or who are permanent residents will have different applications. Also, separate procedures will apply if the candidate spouse resides in another country or is already living in the United States with another visa type. Guidelines and even a test for eligibility are available on the American Immigration Center website.
Green Card Marriage through Marriage to a United States Citizen
United States citizens, whether natural-born or naturalized, can bring immediate relatives, most particularly spouses, into the United States by submitting a USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. When the application is approved and a Visa number is assigned, the beneficiary can apply for a U.S. Green Card or permanent residency status.
If the candidate is already in the United States with another visa, the process involves a Change of Status request. If the spouse resides outside the United States, the application for an immigration visa should begin at the U.S. Consulate with jurisdiction in the country of residence.
It is important to know that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is very sensitive to marriage fraud (the act of pretending to be married to secure permanent residency).
The current I-130 filing fee, as reported by USCIS, is US$535.
Green Card Marriage Through Marriage to a Permanent Resident
Current U.S. permanent residents may also apply for permanent residency for their spouses. Because a visa number for this category may not be available at the time of application, the process usually takes longer than for a U.S. Citizen sponsor. The candidate and sponsor can periodically check the monthly Visa Bulletin of the U.S. State Department to determine when the visa number may be available and the recipient may then apply for the visa. The order of issuance is determined by the individual’s priority date or date of application.
Green Card Marriage & the K-1 (Fiancé) Visa
Another strategy allowed by the USCIS pertains to individuals who are planning to be married. Fiancés of U.S. Citizens may apply for a K-1 visa that allows the fiancé or fiancée to enter the United States for 90 days during which time the wedding may occur. Once legally wed, the sponsor and recipient can apply for a change of status to permanent residency.
While this method can be more expensive and complex, consulting with an experienced and professional immigration attorney is important. Sometimes having the wedding outside the United States can make the situation simpler.
Contact Davis & Associates in Dallas
Applications and processes for acquiring a green card when married to, or engaged to marry, a current U.S. citizen or permanent resident can be complicated. The application must be accurate with no discrepancies nor misrepresentations.
An award-winning immigration law firm, Davis & Associates in Dallas, Texas, is experienced in managing the process on behalf of U.S. citizens and green card holders to reunite with their foreign spouses.
Contact Davis & Associates of Dallas, Texas, for a free consultation to discuss your situation and a plan for obtaining a green card for permanent residency. Their compassionate and multilingual staff will be pleased to discuss your situation and help you to reach your desired goal.
Contact Davis & Associates at 214.628.9888. Visit their website at http://dallasimmigrationattorney.com/news/ to learn more about immigration and citizenship topics.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.