US Green Card through Marriage / Spouse
If you are a U.S. Citizen, there are 3 ways to apply for the Green Card (Permanent Residence) for your Foreign National Spouse:
- If both you and your Foreign National Spouse are in the U.S., you apply through Adjustment of Status with the USCIS.
- If both and your Foreign National Spouse are outside the U.S., you apply through Consular Processing at an American Consulate (or Embassy) abroad. Click here for the list of American Embassies.
- If you are in the U.S. and your Foreign National Spouse is outside the U.S., you may apply for the K-3 Visa (so your Foreign National Spouse may come the U.S.) then file the I-485 Adjustment of Status petition with USCIS (for your Foreign National Spouse's Permanent Residence Green Card).
Any U.S. Citizen in the United States with a Foreign National Spouse who entered the U.S. legally.
Note to U.S. Citizens: If your foreign national spouse entered the U.S. illegally (without a visa or visa waiver), you should wait to apply for adjustment of status when Sec 245(i) is extended. Check back here periodically for updates. Canadian Visitors do NOT need to show proof of entry (visa or visa waiver).
An Overview of the Process: Once the marriage has taken place, the couple files the following with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS):
- Petition for Alien Relative (USCIS Form I-130)
- Application to Register Permanent Residence (USCIS Form I-485)
- Biographic Information (USCIS Form G-325A)
- Affidavit of Support (USCIS Form I-864)
- Permission for Work Authorization (Optional) (USCIS Form I-765)
- Medical Examination Results (USCIS Form I-693)
- Request for Travel Documents (Optional) (USCIS Form I-131)
- The appropriate supporting documents
- The appropriate filing fees
- The USCIS will contact you first regarding work authorization and permission to travel. The processing times vary from state to state. Some states will process them the same day; others can take up to 90 days.
- The USCIS will contact you next to schedule an interview. This will be anywhere from 6 months to 18 months after filing the initial application.
- Following a successful interview, the alien spouse will receive a stamp classifying him/her as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
- The Conditional Status may be dropped by applying for Removal of Conditional Status within 90 days of the 2 year anniversary of the granting of Conditional Permanent Residency.
If both and your Foreign National Spouse are outside the U.S
What is it:
- The K-3 and K-4 Visas allow the Spouse and Spouse's children (unmarried children under 21) enter the United States to await the approval of the I-130 petition by USCIS or the availability of an immigrant visa.
- The K-3 Visa allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen, who is waiting abroad for an immigrant visa, and the (K-4 Visa) spouse's children to enter the United States as non-immigrants, re-unite with their family here, and then apply for immigrant status while in the country. It is one of several immigration benefit provisions created by the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) enacted last December.
- Under this new non-immigrant visa classification, spouses of U.S. citizens may be granted K-3 non-immigrant status, and the spouse's unmarried children (under 21 years of age) may be granted K-4 non-immigrant status. Obtaining a K-3/4 visa is not required, however. Spouses of U.S. citizens and their children may skip applying for a K visa and directly obtain their immigrant visa abroad from the Department of State.
How to Apply:
For those who wish to apply for a K-3 non-immigrant visa, the Foreign National must:
To be eligible for a K-4 non-immigrant visa, an applicant does not need a separate Form I-130 or a Form I-129F filed on his/her behalf. The K-4 applicant MUST:
- Be the spouse of a U.S. citizen;
- Have a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) filed on his/her behalf by his/her U.S. citizen spouse, that is pending;
- Have a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) completed and submitted on his/her behalf by his/her U.S. citizen spouse to the USCIS National Benefits Center.
- Submit a completed Form I-693 (Medical Examination) when he/she appears at the consulate to apply for the K-3 visa from the Department of State.
- Be an unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a K-3 visa applicant or holder;
- Submit a completed Form I-693 (Medical Examination) when he/she appears at the consulate to apply for the K-4 visa.
Applying for Immigrant Status (also known as: Green Card or Permanent Residence):
- The K-3/4 non-immigrant classification does not provide immigrant status.
- To obtain immigrant status --once in the United States -- a K-3 non-immigrant must file a Form I-485 (Application for Adjustment to Permanent Residence).
- A K-4 non-immigrant must have a Form I-130 filed on his/her behalf by his/her U.S. citizen parent/stepparent and must file a Form I-485.
- K-3/4 non-immigrants will become lawful permanent residents and receive their Green Card when both the Form I-130 petition and their Form I-485 application have been approved.
- K-3/4 non-immigrants may elect to apply for an immigrant visa instead of adjustment of status and may wait in the United States until they must appear at the American Embassy for their I-130 immigrant visa interview. Click here for a list of American Embassies.
US consulates in India.
- K-3/4 non-immigrants may apply for authorization to work in the United States while they wait for their immigrant status. To do so, a completed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) must be submitted along with the $175 application fee to the USCIS.
Source: American Immigration Networks