Marriage Green Card Checklist if Foreign Spouse is Abroad
Obtaining a marriage-based Green Card for a foreign spouse who is abroad can be a complex process. Here’s a general checklist of steps and documents you might need. Keep in mind that immigration policies and requirements can change, so always refer to the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date information. It’s also highly recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you’re following the correct procedures.
- Determine Eligibility: Before proceeding, ensure that you and your spouse meet the eligibility requirements for a marriage-based Green Card.
- File the Petition: You (the U.S. citizen) will need to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS. This establishes the relationship between you and your foreign spouse.
- Wait for Approval: After USCIS approves the I-130 petition, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
- Affidavit of Support: You will need to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support your spouse in the U.S.
- Choose Processing Option: You can choose either Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.
If Consular Processing (Green Card application from abroad):
- Pay Fees: Pay the necessary fees to the NVC and USCIS.
- Wait for NVC Processing: NVC will request additional documents and fees, and you’ll need to wait for their instructions.
- Attend Visa Interview: Your spouse will attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.
- Medical Examination: Your spouse will need to undergo a medical examination by a panel physician.
- Attend Interview: Your spouse will attend an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy. Make sure they bring all required documents.
- Obtain Visa: If the visa is approved, your spouse will receive an immigrant visa in their passport.
- Enter the U.S.: Your spouse can use the visa to enter the U.S.
If Adjustment of Status (Green Card application from within the U.S.):
- File Form I-485: File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to adjust your spouse’s status to that of a permanent resident.
- Biometrics Appointment: Your spouse will be scheduled for biometrics (fingerprints, photo, and signature).
- Attend Interview (if required): In some cases, USCIS may require an interview. Both you and your spouse will need to attend.
- Wait for Decision: Wait for USCIS to make a decision on the I-485 application.
- Receive Green Card: If approved, your spouse will receive their Green Card by mail.
Additional Documents You Might Need:
- Passport for both spouses.
- Birth certificates for both spouses.
- Marriage certificate.
- Proof of bona fide marriage (e.g., photos, joint bank accounts, lease agreements, etc.).
- Police clearance certificates from countries your spouse has lived in.
- Medical examination results (if applying through consular processing).
- Proof of financial support (Form I-864).
- Proof of U.S. citizenship of the petitioner (e.g., U.S. passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate).
Remember, this is a general checklist, and the exact documents and steps might vary based on your specific circumstances. Always refer to the USCIS website for the latest information and consult with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance.
Marriage Green Card Checklist – Both Spouses in the U.S.
If both spouses are in the U.S. and you’re seeking a marriage-based Green Card through Adjustment of Status, the process involves several steps and documentation. Here’s a general checklist to help guide you through the process:
- Determine Eligibility: Ensure that both spouses meet the eligibility requirements for a marriage-based Green Card through Adjustment of Status.
- File Form I-130: File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to establish the relationship between the U.S. citizen spouse and the foreign spouse.
- Wait for I-130 Approval: Wait for USCIS to approve the I-130 petition. This process can take several months.
- File Form I-485: File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to apply for the Green Card for the foreign spouse.
- Biometrics Appointment: Once the I-485 application is received, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for both spouses to collect fingerprints, photo, and signature.
- Gather Supporting Documents: Collect the necessary supporting documents to include with the I-485 application. This can include:
- Passport-style photos for both spouses.
- Copies of birth certificates for both spouses.
- Certified copy of the marriage certificate.
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, along with supporting financial documents.
- Copies of passports, visas, and I-94 records for both spouses.
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (if required).
- Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage: Collect evidence that proves the authenticity of your marriage. This can include joint bank account statements, lease agreements, photographs together, and any other documents that demonstrate a shared life.
- Attend USCIS Interview: Both spouses will be required to attend an interview at a USCIS field office. The interview will focus on the validity of the marriage and the eligibility for a Green Card.
- Wait for Decision: After the interview, wait for USCIS to make a decision on the I-485 application. If approved, the foreign spouse will receive the Green Card by mail.
- Conditional Permanent Residence (if applicable): If the marriage is less than two years old at the time of obtaining the Green Card, the foreign spouse will receive a conditional Green Card. Steps to remove these conditions will be required later.
Additional Documents You Might Need:
- Employment authorization documents (EAD) if the foreign spouse wants to work while the Green Card application is pending.
- Advance Parole if the foreign spouse wants to travel outside the U.S. while the Green Card application is pending.
- Any additional documents requested by USCIS during the application process.
Always refer to the official USCIS website for the most up-to-date information and forms. It’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you’re following the correct procedures and providing all necessary documents for your specific situation.