- POSTED: May 15, 2019
- CATEGORY: Uncategorized
- POSTED BY: LawrenceGruner
The Spouse Green Card Process you will follow will depend on whether your spouse is in the United States or is in his or her foreign country.
Spouse in the United States
If your spouse is in the United States you will submit all of your required paperwork to the USCIS lockbox in Chicago. You will receive a receipt notice within about 30 days. You should then receive notice that your biometrics (fingerprints) will be done at a location in the general area of where you live (do not miss this appointment).
Within 3-6 months of filing the case your immigrant spouse should receive his or her work authorization/advance parole (ability to travel outside of the United States) joint card.
Please speak to an attorney prior to having your spouse travel on the advance parole card to make sure that there will not be any problems re-entering the United States.
At the end of the adjustment of status process your spouse will have his or her interview at your local USCIS field office. If all goes well at the interview the case should be approved within a short period of time. The permanent residence card (green card) should be mailed to your home within 30 days.
If the interview does not go well then USCIS will schedule a much more intimate (and dreaded) second interview, also known as, the Stokes interview. This interview will be much more intense (you will be separated from your spouse during the interviews and asked very detailed questions and each be likely be required to draw different places in your home) and will likely take at least 2 hours to complete.
I had such an interview earlier in the year and it lasted over 4 hours. (Happily the case was approved). Most years we end up having to attend only one Stokes interview for a given adjustment of status client. This year, even though we are only in the 5th month, we have already had 3 or 4 such interviews. They have all been approved. However, there is no denying that USCIS is looking at the adjustment of status cases more closely.
Spouse Green Card Process- If your spouse is abroad
If your spouse is in another country and you file an I-130 for him or her you should expect the wait time to be between 12 and 15 months in the early part of 2019. For many years the wait time, from start to finish was only 9-12 months. The wait time, overall, is longer under the current administration.
I expect the wait time for these types of cases to increase a bit over the next couple of years.
You would start the case by filing an I-130 for your spouse. You should receive a receipt notice stating that the case has been received within 30 days. The case will be processed through USCIS and if all is in order you will receive an approval notice. This does not mean that the overall case is approved. The case will then be sent to the National Visa Center. They will ask you to provide evidence and fill out their required forms. Once you have satisfied their requirements your case will be sent to the consulate/embassy in your spouse’s country.
The consulate/embassy will also require paperwork (this varies by location) a medical examination of your spouse, and an interview. If all goes well your spouse will enter the U.S. shortly after the interview with a stamp on their passport showing that they are a permanent resident of the United States.
Is a Fiance Visa Faster than the Marriage Green Card if your loved one is abroad?
A fiance visa is almost always going to be a faster route to bring your loved one into the United States. This assumes that the case is prepared and filed properly. However, there are trade offs when you file for a fiance visa instead of marrying your loved one abroad and filing for their green card in their home country.
First and foremost you will have to do 2 cases. You will be doing a fiance visa and then a green card case via adjustment of status, in the United States, for your loved one. Therefore overall the process could be more expensive (although you would save travelling and other costs by not having to travel to your loved one’s home country in order to marry him or her.)
However, if you do a fiance visa, unlike a marriage abroad case, you most likely would be able to do a prenuptial agreement (speak to a family law attorney) which you may not be able to do, or may not be able to do very easily, if you get married abroad (again speak to a family law attorney).
With a fiance visa your loved one would likely not be able to work in the United States for 3-6 months (times vary) after he or she arrived in the United States.
The fiance visa route is currently taking about 9 months from start to finish (all 3 phases not just initial USCIS approval). If you have not yet married your loved one, and your loved one is outside of the United States, you may want to seriously consider the fiance visa route. (You can see the timeline
to see how long this will take.) If you are interested in learning more about the fiance visa route
please read: Top 10 Things You Should Know About the Fiance Visa Process.
The information above concerning the spouse green card process is general in nature and absolutely does not take the place of consulting with an experience immigration attorney about your particular case. No case is exactly like another case. If something worked for your friend it may or may not work for you. Definitely consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing anything with USCIS.
Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience handling immigration cases. He would be happy to consult with you, free of charge, on your immigration case. He may be reached at 888-801-6558 or firstname.lastname@example.org