It doesn’t matter if your spouse is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident living in the U.S. on a green card, if you intend on joining him or her here in the United States, you’ll need to apply for your own green card too. Once you obtain that, you’re likely eligible to seek U.S. citizenship in three years. If you don’t want to become a U.S. citizen, you can remain a lawful permanent resident. In either case, you must first establish your marriage.
Establishing the Marriage
The process of establishing your marriage starts with your spouse filing a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The spouse who is the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident will be the sponsor of the foreign national spouse beneficiary. Copies of documents supporting the I-130 must also be submitted for purposes of establishing that a legal marriage exists. Along with the appropriate $535 fee, certain foundational documents must be submitted. Those would consist of the following:
- Proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence.
- A marriage certificate with the names of the couple and date and place of the marriage.
- Additional evidence like joint bank accounts, leases or land titles.
- If either of the parties have been through a divorce or annulment, proof of that status.
If the documents in support of the I-130 petition are determined to be insufficient, a request for additional evidence will be made by USCIS. This Request for Evidence (RFE) will issue in two to three months after the receipt of the I-130 package. Note this stage of processing is only for the petitioner. Once the petitioner’s package has been approved, decision will be made on the eligibility of the foreign spouse for lawful permanent residence. As the average processing time for the I-130 is about 13 months, the parties can expect a processing time to be pushed back to more than 15 months.
When you retain Maison Law Immigration Lawyers to represent you on your family petition for Alien Relative, your petition and all supporting documentation will be thoroughly reviewed. We’ll submit the I-130 package for you, and you can be confident that no RFE will issue. Contact us with any questions that you might have for a free consultation. Our objective is to reunite you and your husband or wife here in the United States as soon as possible.