20 Feb

Obtaining a green card for your spouse can be a complex and lengthy process, but it is a crucial step towards starting a new life together in the United States. A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, allows your spouse to live and work in the US permanently. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to obtain a green card for your spouse.

Determine Your Eligibility

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

To begin the process, you must first determine if you are eligible to sponsor your spouse for a green card. As a US citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your spouse if you meet certain criteria:

  • You are at least 18 years old and are a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • You are legally married to your spouse.
  • You can prove that your marriage is bona fide, meaning that it is not solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card.
  • You can financially support your spouse, so they will not become a public charge.

File Form I-130

Step 2: File Form I-130

Once you have determined your eligibility, you must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the relationship between you and your spouse and begins the process of obtaining a green card. 

When filing the I-130, you must include supporting documents that prove your eligibility to sponsor your spouse, such as your marriage certificate, proof of your US citizenship or permanent residency, and evidence of your financial support. USCIS will review your application and may request additional evidence if necessary.

Wait for USCIS Approval

Step 3: Wait for USCIS Approval

After submitting the I-130, you must wait for USCIS to approve your petition. This process can take several months or even up to a year, depending on the current processing times and the complexity of your case. Once your petition is approved, USCIS will forward it to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

File Form DS-260 and Attend the Green Card Interview

Step 4: File Form DS-260 and Attend the Green Card Interview

After USCIS approves your petition, you must file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, with the NVC. This form collects personal and background information about your spouse and any accompanying family members. You will also be required to pay a visa application fee.

After filing Form DS-260, your spouse will be scheduled for a green card interview at the US embassy or consulate in their home country. During the interview, a consular officer will ask your spouse questions to verify their eligibility for a green card. You should prepare your spouse for the interview by reviewing the types of questions that may be asked.

Receive the Green Card

Step 5: Receive the Green Card

If your spouse passes the green card interview, they will receive a visa that allows them to enter the US as a permanent resident. After arriving in the US, your spouse will receive a physical green card in the mail within a few weeks. The green card is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely, as long as your spouse meets the eligibility requirements.

Do you need an attorney to assist you in the process?

Obtaining a green card for your spouse can be a long and complex process, but it is a worthwhile investment in your future together. While it is possible to apply for a visa on your own, there are several reasons why it may be beneficial to hire a lawyer to help you.

Firstly, a lawyer who is familiar with the immigration laws and procedures can provide valuable guidance and advice on the eligibility requirements, application process, and any potential challenges or roadblocks that may arise during the process.

Secondly, a lawyer can help you prepare and submit the necessary documentation and forms required for the visa application, ensuring that all the information is accurate and complete, which can help avoid delays or rejections.

Thirdly, if any issues or complications arise during the application process, such as a request for additional information or an interview with immigration officials, a lawyer can represent you and advocate on your behalf.

And finally, a lawyer can help you understand and navigate any legal or procedural issues that may arise during the process, such as potential delays or denials, as well as assist you in understanding your rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident sponsoring your spouse's visa application.

Overall, hiring a lawyer can help ensure that your application is properly prepared and presented, and can help increase your chances of success in bringing your spouse to the U.S.

Useful Website Links: 

  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website: https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/marriage-based-green-card
  2. The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/family-based-immigrant-visas.html
  3. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website: https://www.aila.org/practice-resources/immigration-law-faqs/faqs-on-family-based-immigration#green_card_through_spouse
  4. AllLaw website: https://www.alllaw.com/resources/immigration/green-card-spouse.html
  5. National Visa Center (NVC) website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/national-visa-center.html

- Published by Salar Tavangar, Esq.  

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