If you are a U.S. Citizen you may be able to obtain a green card for your spouse. How you will proceed will depend mostly on where your spouse is located. But this area of the law can be complicated, and, if you do not handle your case correctly, your case can be delayed, or worse, denied. It really makes sense to talk to an experienced Immigration Attorney, before you file anything with USCIS, to talk about the best way to handle your case.
We would be happy to talk to you, about your situation, free of charge. Call us at 888-801-6558. Your initial consultation is Free. You do not pay us anything to talk to you about your options.
If you are a U.S. Citizen you MAY be able to obtain a marriage green card for your spouse. How you will proceed will depend mostly on where your spouse is located. But this area of the law can be complicated, and, if you do not handle your case correctly, your case can be delayed, or worse, denied. It really makes sense to talk to an experienced Immigration Attorney, before you file anything with USCIS, to talk about the best way to handle your case.
We would be happy to talk to you, about your situation, free of charge. Call us at 916-760-7270 or 888-801-6558. Your initial consultation is Free. You do not pay us anything to talk to you about your options.
Below you will find a compiled list of things you will need to know to obtain a green card for your spouse. While there is nothing wrong with self-filing, it would be irresponsible for us not to point out the risks related to self filing. The simplest of mistakes on even one form can result in disastrous delays that can prolong the process. Even worse mistakes can lead to your case being denied.
The process of obtaining a green card for your spouse will take several months. At the end of the process your spouse will face a government interviewer who will have researched your spouse’s immigration history and the evidence provided and make a determination as to whether your spouse can live in the United States with you. Some interviews are straight-forward others are more like an interrogation. Most interviews fall somewhere in between. If your interview is closer to the interrogation side wouldn’t you want an attorney with almost 25 years of experience in the room with you representing your interests?
If your spouse is currently in the United States and she entered legally (with inspection) then the process you would go through for him or her is called adjustment of status. (If she entered into the United States illegally then you should speak to an immigration attorney prior to doing anything. There can be serious consequences if you file paperwork with USCIS under these circumstances. Even if your spouse entered the United States legally you should still speak to an immigration attorney to make sure that there is nothing in her past which would cause their case to be denied. The Immigration Attorney can help you plan a course of action.)
The case will start by the preparation of all of the required documents. These documents would be filed at the USCIS lock box in Chicago.
In addition to these documents you will need to provide a medical examination for your spouse (done by a USCIS approved doctor); proof of
her legal entry into the United States, Financial evidence (your tax returns for the past 3 years, employment letter, bank statements for the past 3 months); proof that all prior marriages for both of you have been terminated; and proof that you are a U.S. Citizen (birth certificate, U.S. passport, or Naturalization Certificate)
About a month after filing you should receive a receipt notice that will inform you that USCIS has received your file and that they are working on it.
Fingerprint (biometrics) will be done about halfway through the process. This is done for USCIS to do a security background check on the immigrant. You will be sent a letter which will explain how, where and when the fingerprints will be handled. Make sure to make that appointment.
An interview at the local USCIS office should take place within approximately 8-12 months (however this wait can vary in different parts of the country).
USCIS will let you know what documents to bring to your interview. If all goes well at the interview a green card should be issued to your Spouse within another 30 days.
If the interview does not go well you will likely be asked to come back for a second interview. This is known as a Stokes (or fraud) interview. These interviews are more intense and the questions you will be asked are much more personal. You will be at the USCIS office for the better part of a morning or afternoon. You and your spouse will be interviewed separately and your answers compared. If this interview does not go well your case will be referred to Immigration Court for your removal from the country.
You may also obtain a green card for your spouse if she is living abroad. You should speak to an Immigration Attorney to see if there is anything in your spouse’s past which would cause him or her to have their case denied. If there is anything this should be fixed prior to the case being filed. The case should take between 14-18 months. I expect the total wait time on these types of cases to increase in the coming months.
You would start this process by filing your paperwork with USCIS.
A few weeks after filing the case you should receive form I-797C Notice of Action, Receipt Notice. With this receipt number you can track the case online.
If there are problems with your paperwork you could receive a Request for Evidence. This will mean something needs to be corrected or additional evidence is needed. Receiving a Request for Evidence will delay your case. Assuming you resolve the issues in the Request for Evidence the case will then proceed.
USCIS will either approve or deny the petition at that point. You will be notified of its decision. If the case is approved this does not mean that the case is finished. It means that the case will proceed. If the case is approved you will receive form I-797 Notice of Action-Approval Notice.
Once the case is approved USCIS will send the case to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will do a background check on your spouse Once everything clears your case will be sent to the closest consulate to where your spouse resides in order to go through Consular Processing. During this time, among other things, they will go through a medical examination and an interview.
The interview can be very thorough. Your spouse should know a lot about you and your life in the United States to have the best chance of success at the interview. If you work with our office we will prepare your spouse for the interview. Call us at 888-801-6558 or 916-760-7270 for more information. If all is successful they will be issued immigrant visas. They can use these visas to come to the United States. When they enter the United States their passport will be stamped. Your spouse will receive his or her green card in the mail shortly after entering the United States.
If all goes well the case should take 14-18 months from start to finish. You may petition your spouse if you are a permanent resident (instead of a U.S. Citizen). However, the process will almost always take longer. Check with us for current wait times. If you become a U.S. Citizen while the case is pending and notify the government your case may proceed faster than if you merely stay a permanent resident. Speak to an experienced immigration attorney about your options in this area.
If you have not already gotten married to your loved one living abroad. You should seriously consider the fiance visa option. With a successful fiance visa your loved one can enter the United States in 9-10 months instead of 14-18 months. If you have met your loved one in person, in the last 2 years, you can also file the fiance visa right away (instead of going to your loved one’s home country to get married). This will also allow your loved one to enter the U.S. sooner.
In any event it does make sense to at least consult with an experienced immigration attorney before you make a decision as to how you wish to proceed.
The information above is informational in nature. It is not legal advice. It is also not meant as a substitute for a competent Immigration Attorney. You should ALWAYS consult with an immigration attorney (not an immigration consultant, notario or paralegal service) prior to filing any documentation with USCIS. Failure to do so can have very serious consequences.
Lawrence Gruner is an Immigration Attorney with over 20 years of experience helping clients obtain green cards, fiance visas and U.S. Citizenship. Our office is located in downtown Sacramento. We handle cases worldwide. Attorney Gruner would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your immigration issues. Our office handles cases throughout California, the United States and Worldwide. We may be reached via email at email@example.com or at 916-760-7270 or 888-801-6558.
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