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How to Bringing a Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident
to Live in the United States as Permanent Resident (Green Card)

Getting a Green Card for his wife

Eligibility to bring your spouse to live in the U.S. as a lawful Permanent Resident  (Green Card holder) 

In order to bring your spouse (husband or wife) to live in the United States as a permanent resident (green card holder), you must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Spouse  of a Permanent Resident Inside The United States - Possible Adjustment of Status 

The spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident can qualify for "adjustment of Status " and receive a "Green Card" while in the United States as an “2nd Preference” immigrant. This can be done only if the spouse  (1) entered with a visa  and is still legally in the United States or (2) if they entered illegally or is out of status but an application for immigrant status with the USCIS was filed before 4/30/01 or with the department of labor for Labor Certification before 4/30/01 or they were derivative beneficiary of a parents petition.   All other spouse of Lawful Permanent residents that either entered illegally in the United  or is out of status will have to apply for a waiver of the 3/10-year bar.

In order to obtain a Green Card for the spouse, an adjustment of Status application is filed with the local USCIS office having jurisdiction over the Petitioner's residence. The packet is generally filed with an application for Employment Authorization and if desired with a permission to travel during the process (Advance Parole) (if they have not been out of status for a period of over 6 months on the date of filing.) A few months later a notice is sent directing the applicant to (1) appear for processing of the employment authorization (EAD) (2) take fingerprints (3) appear for the adjustment interview. On the date of the adjustment interview you should be granted a permanent Immigrant Visa (Green Card). The spouse may file for U.S. citizenship 5 years after the approval of the Permanent Visa (Green Card).

Spouse Of A Permanent Legal Resident Living Outside The United States (visa processing) 

The first step in establishing your eligibility to immigrate to the United States is to have your Lawful Permanent Resident spouse file an Immigrant Visa Petition with the office of the U.S. Immigration &  Citizenship Service (USCIS) having jurisdiction over his/her place of residence.   

Petitions Required to be Filed in the U.S.File the I-130 petitions at the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over their place of U.S. residence.

Filing Petitions Abroad - Petitions, Form I-130, which can be filed abroad, are limited. Petitions for immediate relative immigrant or 1st preference petition classifications can be filed abroad by Lawful Permanent Resident petitioners who have been authorized to be continuously resident in their consular districts for at least the preceding six months, including members of the U.S. armed forces, emergency cases involving life and death or health and safety, and others determined to be in the national interest. Petitions are filed with USCIS abroad or at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate (when there is no USCIS presence).

If  the petitioner presently resides abroad, s/he can file petition by post to the USCIS office at the Embassy. Proof of residence in the country is required If the petition is approved, the petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center and will eventually send the approved petition to the Immigrant Visa Branch at this Embassy for further processing of the visa.

If your Lawful Permanent resident  spouse resides in the U.S. s/he should file with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over his/her place of residence in the United States. The processing can take several months. USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing

NVC plays an important role in the U.S. immigration process.  NVC provides instructions to petitioners and sponsors, and receives from sponsors, the required Affidavit of Support forms, fees, other required documents, and much more. 

For numerically limited family preference petitions, NVC contacts the petitioner once the petition’s immigration wait nears end, and the priority date is about to come current.

Once the priority date is current the NVC will send you a package to prepare. This package contains all the vital information needed to approve the Permanent Visa (Green Card). You will send the completed package to the U.S. consulate were the parent resides

The U.S. Consulate will notify you of the interview date and the address for the medical exam and fingerprints once the priority date become current.  ou will be granted a Green Card and given a packet to submit to CBP - Customs and Border Patrol when you enter the U.S.

Accompanying Children

All unmarried children under the age of 21 can be included in the petition and will alos receive a Green card. If they are over twenty on the CSPA (Child Status Protection Act) may be able to give them additional after the age of 21.



Find out about the Preference System.

Find out how the Visa Bulletin and Priority Date Affects this type of case.

Find out about the 3/10 year bar for those that were illegal in the U.S. and leaves for visa processing.

Find out about "Adjustment of Status."

Find out about how Section 245(i) adjustment helps if the applicant is illegal.

Find out about the National Visa Center.

Articles related to this topic

  • Fiances Of U.S. Citizens
  • Important Visa Information for Immigrants
  • Everything you need to know about the Visa Waiver Program
  • The Preference System and Priority Date - Its your number on the waiting line.
  • What you should know about a Fiance Visa (K-1)- Questions and Answers
  • The 3 and 10 Year Bar to Re-Entry - The I-601 Waiver
  • K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant Visas - spouse of a U.S. citizen and his or her minor children to be admitted to the United States as nonimmigrants while they are waiting for the processing to complete.
  • It has arrived: Same Sex Marriage with Immigration Benefits - Gay & Lesbians Rejoice
  • FAQ- Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Marriage for LGT Couples (2013)

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    Moses Apsan and his staff, based in New York City and Newark, NJ provide exceptional legal services throughout the world, in all aspects of immigration to the United States, including non-immigrant (temporary visas), immigrant visa (Green Card) and deportation defense. In addition Mr. Apsan, has been practicing Bankruptcy law and Divorce laws for over 30 years, He was the President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter (1997-2002). He speaks Portuguese and Spanish..
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