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Green Card Application for U.S. Permanent
Resident's Spouse, and Do It Yourself Package
Obtaining Green Card through Marriage to a US Permanent Resident
Thousands of foreign-born people become engaged or married to U.S. permanent residents every year. The immigration process for Green Card through marriage varies based on whether a foreign national intends to marry the U.S. permanent residents in the U.S. or outside the U.S. Normally, a U.S. permanent resident would file an immigration petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). The U.S. legal permanent resident is called the sponsor, and the alien spouse for whom the immigration petition is filed is called the beneficiary.
When a foreign national marries a U.S. permanent resident, he or she is considered as a close relative of the U.S. permanent resident. There are numerical limitations to this family-based category, and the U.S. permanent resident spouse (husband or wife) in the U.S. can file an application of permanent residence for the foreign spouse with USCIS, once the marriage has taken place. The applicant will be required to demonstrate to USCIS that the marriage was entered into good faith, and not solely for the purpose of securing immigration benefits for the foreign national.
A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. If a foreign spouse wants to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that he or she married a U.S. permanent resident, the USCIS will approve an immigrant visa petition. This petition is filed by the U.S. permanent resident spouse and must be accompanied by proof of the marriage relationship.
A U.S. legal permanent resident can be the sponsor of a family-sponsored immigration petition. However, the sponsor has to meet certain requirements and legal obligations. The sponsor has to submit a legally binding affidavit of support for the beneficiary to USCIS, in which the sponsor guarantees to maintain the standard of living of the intending immigrant at a level not lower than 125% of the national poverty level. This obligation continues until the beneficiary has become a U.S. citizen, or has worked in the United States for 40 qualifying quarters. =>..........
The Basic Requirements and Multi-Step Process for an Alien Spouse to Become a U.S. Permanent Resident
To be eligible for a Green Card as a spouse or child of a U.S. permanent resident, the foreign spouse and the U.S. permanent resident must be legally married as evidenced by a valid marriage certificate. In addition, the lawful permanent resident must be residing in the United States at the time of the application. Children of the lawful permanent resident must prove relationships through birth certificates, adoption papers and marriage certificates. The alien applicants must also meet certain health and character requirements.
The spouse or child of U.S. permanent resident immigration category provides foreign spouses and children of U.S. permanent residents the opportunity to reunite with family living in the United States, and become U.S. permanent residents. The U.S. permanent residents have the right to live and work in the United States permanently, leave and return to the United States with few limitations, attend public schools and colleges, and become a U.S. citizen when eligible to do so.
Whether or not a permanent resident's spouse can be sponsored depends upon the timing of the marriage. This is a very important matter for anyone considering marrying someone from one's home country. It is vital that the marriage occur before the Green Card application (Form I-485) is approved.
If the primary applicant marries before the approval of the Form I-485, the alien spouse will be entitled to derivative immigration benefits. She or he is entitled to the same preference category as the primary beneficiary and the same priority date. This is true even if the marriage occurs well after the establishment of the priority date. But if the primary applicant marries after the approval of his or her Form I-485, the primary applicant must file Form I-130 for the alien spouse, and the alien spouse may need to wait years to get the immigrant visa. =>..........
Understand the Immigrant Visa Number, Priority Date, Medical Examination, and Immigrant Visa Interview
For the alien spouse, once the Form I-130 petition is approved, you must wait for an immigrant visa number. If you married a U.S. permanent resident, the you will be placed in category F2A of the family visa category as a spouse of U.S. permanent resident, and you may have to wait several years for the F2A Priority Date to become "current", depending on the number of people from your home country also waiting for immigrant visas in the category of U.S. permanent resident's spouse and children.
U.S. immigration law limits the number of immigrant visas that are available every year. This means that even if the USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition for an alien spouse, the alien spouse may not get an immigrant visa number immediately. In some cases, several years could pass between the time USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition and the U.S. Department of State gives the alien an immigrant visa number. In addition, U.S. immigration law also limits the number of immigrant visas available by country. This means an alien may have to wait longer if the alien comes from a country with a high demand for U.S. immigrant visas. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of visas available under a particular category, that category is considered oversubscribed.
The "Priority Date" is the date that the U.S. permanent resident file the immigrant petition of Form I-130 on behalf of the alien spouse. If you have already filed an immigrant petition, you can find the "Priority Date" on the top, left-hand corner of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice or Approval Notice you received after your filed Form I-130 with USCIS. In the case of an employer-sponsored petition, the priority date is the date the Labor Certification was filed with the Department of Labor. The State Department Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication that gives the changes in visa availability for priority dates. =>..........
Requirements for "Following-To-Join" and Upgrade the Family-Based Second Preference Application
U.S. permanent resident who married before the date of obtaining the U.S. permanent residency can possibly confer “following-to-join” benefits to his or her family members (husband, wife, and child). Essentially, through this process, spouses and children will be able to receive U.S. Green Cards quickly. The following-to-join is for alien spouse and children to receive derivative benefits based on a primary permanent residency’s immigration application approval.
Certain requirements must be met in order for a spouse or child to qualify under “following-to-join”. First, the legal permanent resident must have adjusted status or obtained Green Card through a preference category (family or employment based) or diversity lottery. Some examples include but are not limited to NIW, EB-1, EB-2, etc. In addition, an immigrant visa number must also be current in order for a family member to receive “following-to-join”.
Second, the Green Card holder married before becoming a permanent resident, and the relationship between the permanent resident and spouse/child is intact at the time of filing. Children of the permanent resident must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Furthermore, the child/step-child must be from an existing marriage before the permanent resident obtained permanent residency.
If you were married to your spouse before you became a permanent resident, your spouse may be eligible to receive following-to-join benefits. This means that you would not have to submit a separate Form I-130 for your spouse, and your spouse would not have to wait any extra time for an immigrant visa to become available. You should file the Form I-824 at the USCIS office that took the most recent action on your case. If the Form I-824 is approved, the USCIS will notify a U.S. consulate that you are a lawful permanent resident, so that your spouse/children can apply for immigrant visas. You must then ask your spouse to report to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing. => ..........
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers of Family-Sponsored Immigration for U.S. Permanent Resident's Spouse
Understand the family-based Green Card application requirements and necessary evidence from the Frequent Asked Questions, the U.S. Permanent Resident's spouse (wife or husband) Green Card application requirements, immigrant visa procedures and criteria, USCIS visa process and processing, the supporting documents for U.S. Permanent Resident's wife or husband, children, and our Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Permanent Resident's Spouse. =>..........
Answers for questions of Green Card application for U.S. Permanent Resident's spouse by our Help Desk, including spouse's immigration Visa application, Green Card requirements and supporting documents, and immigrant visa application and interview process. =>..........
Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Permanent Resident's Spouse
To help a U.S. permanent resident's spouse (husband or wife) to immigrate to United States, we provide a high quality and case-proven "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Permanent Resident's Spouse." In this package, we let you know the required application documents, evidence, procedures, samples of petition cover letter, samples of required forms, and application check list. We also provide detailed explanation of the immigrant visa application, interview process, and how to receive following-to-join benefits for qualified permanent resident's spouse. =>.........
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