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Green Card Through Spouse

Green Card Through Spouse Lawyer Austin TX

Spouse of a US citizen sponsor
A US citizen can petition for his/her spouse as an immediate relative who is not subject to quota limitations and will be granted permanent residency as soon as his/her paperwork is processed. As there is no cap on the number of visas available each year for immediate relatives, there is no competition with other applicants and no significant backlog in case processing.

Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident sponsor
A green card holder can petition for his/her spouse to get a U.S. visa under the family second preference category (2A) and ultimately a green card. Spouses of lawful permanent residents are subject to the Visa Preference System and the backlogs the system creates and may have to wait several years to become a permanent resident. The current processing time can be found in the visa bulletin. So it’s much easier and faster if the LPR spouse becomes a US citizen first. This is true for both same-sex and opposite sex couples so long as the marriage is legally recognized in the state or country where it took place.

Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
If the US citizen spouse resides abroad, he/she must file the petition with the appropriate U.S Consulate (Consular Processing). If both the US citizen spouse and the immigrant spouse reside in the U.S., the US citizen spouse can file the immigrant petition and the adjustment of status application along with supporting documents concurrently with the USCIS. This allows the immigrant spouse to continue to reside legally in the U.S. even if the underlying I-94 expires immediately after filing.

Potential issues that could result in a denial of a Green Card Through Spouse even if a US citizen spouse or a green card holder spouse files an immigrant petition to sponsor his or her spouse:

  • How the noncitizen entered U.S. (illegally or with a visa and type of visa upon entry)
  • Noncitizen’s immigration history and past entries and stays in the U.S.
  • Noncitizen’s prior misrepresentation to any CIS or DHS agent at the border, in application for a visa or within the U.S. to get an immigration benefit
  • Insufficient documentation to show CIS that the marriage is bonafide
  • A finding by the CIS interviewing green card officer that the noncitizen engaged in visa fraud upon entry into the U.S. or at any time in the past.

If immigrant spouse is living in U.S. illegally
Starting the Green Card Through Spouse application process will not give a spouse who is living illegally in the U.S. any right to come and remain in U.S.  Unless a spouse already has a valid visa and has not stayed past the required departure date or has some other right to be in the U.S., the spouse is expected to wait in his/her home country until the priority date is current. Waiting in the U.S. illegally until a priority date is current can trigger the 3 or 10 year ban to re-entry for the nonimmigrant spouse, depending on the length of violation of authorized stay,despite his/her marriage to a U.S. citizen.
There are limited exceptions or waivers available to the enforcement of these bars of re-entry. However, waivers are very difficult to get approved. Whether a nonimmigrant spouse qualifies for an exception to the unlawful presence rules to be able to attain a green card in the U.S. depends on the specific facts of the case and should be reviewed with a qualified immigration attorney. 

How long does the Green Card Through Spouse process take?
After the sponsorship paperwork is filed, USCIS will schedule the marriage/Adjustment of Status interview which may take place anywhere from three months to twelve months. Following a successful marriage interview, the foreign national spouse is granted Conditional Permanent Resident status. After two years, the USCIS does a second check on the marriage. Conditional status can be removed by submitting a joint petition within 90 days of the two year anniversary of the granting of the conditional permanent resident status.
The processing time for the entire green card process for the foreign national spouse can take 9 months to 2 years, depending on which state the USC spouse resides in. There are a few exceptions to the process that allow a couple to save months of processing time so as not to be separated for long periods.

How Ghoshal Law PLLC can help you pursue a positive outcome
An incomplete or improperly filed application for a Green Card Through Spouse may cause an individual to provide additional documentation or re-file cases. Re-filing is sometimes not possible because important deadlines may be missed. Ghoshal Law PLLC  can help you address the time concerns, guiding you in collecting supporting evidence,preparing applications and submission packets for applications and filing with USCIS on your behalf, preparing work authorization requests and travel permits and handling all USCIS communications and requests for additional information.

 Ghoshal Law PLLC looks forward to helping you with your immigration goals. Call 512-637-1328 for a consultation with Attorney  Ghoshal.

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“ We had a great experience working with Ghoshal Law to apply for a green card. Snigdha is thorough and professional, and was always quick to respond to any questions or concerns. Most importantly, our application was successful! Thank you! ”
--Mike B.
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