Spouse of US Citizen

Family Based Immigration – Spouse of US Citizen


Application of green card as the spouse of a US Citizen:

A US citizen can petition for his or her alien spouse to obtain permanent resident status (green card). There are few things to pay attention to:

• The alien spouse receives a conditional green card if at the time the immigrant status is approved the marriage is not more than 2 years old. In such case, a petition to remove condition needs to be filed within 90 days before the end of the second years of obtaining the immigrant status. Please see the Removal of Condition page for details.

• If the alien spouse is in a removal proceeding, the alien spouse may not adjust to permanent resident, unless the couple can prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

• If either the US citizen or the alien spouse was previously married, the divorce must have finalized before the green card petition can be filed.

Benefits of applying for green card as the spouse of a US Citizen:

• As an immediate relative of a US citizen, the application is not subject to numerical limit, i.e., there is no waiting time due to visa backlog.

• A spouse of US citizen may be able to apply for US citizenship three years after obtaining immigrant status, instead of five years normally required in other immigrant statuses.

• The period of time in conditional residency counts toward the required time to apply for US citizenship. Therefore, if qualified, the alien spouse can apply for US citizenship while the removal of condition is pending.

• If the alien spouse has overstayed his or her authorized stay in the United States and is now out of status, the alien spouse may still adjust status to permanent residence and the overstay is forgiven under 8 CFR 245.1(b).

How to apply for green card as the spouse of a US Citizen?

The US citizen spouse should file a petition for his or her alien spouse using form I-130 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the alien spouse is in the United States, he or she can file adjustment of status with form I-130.

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