Each year, thousands of people emigrate to the United States, leaving loved ones behind with the hope that they will be someday be reunited. Fortunately, under U.S. immigration laws, spouses and other immediate relatives of lawful residents are given fairly high priority in the issuance of immigrant visas. Under U.S. immigration laws, the term "spouse" is meant to refer to a husband or wife whom is in a legally recognized marital relationship.
You will be able to file an immigrant visa petition to bring your spouse to the United States only if you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (meaning you have your green card).
Overview of Spouse Immigration Process
There is a three-step process for your spouse to become a legal immigrant:
Important Considerations for Spouses with Conditional Residence
If you have been married less than two years when your spouse is granted lawful permanent resident status, your spouse will receive permanent resident status on a “conditional” or temporary basis. You and your spouse must apply together using Form I-751 to remove the conditional status.
Important: You must apply to remove conditional status within the 90 day period before the expiration date on your spouse's conditional permanent resident card. If you fail to file during this time, your spouse’s legal resident status will terminate and they may be deported.
Can My Spouse Come to the U.S. to Live While their Visa Petition Is Pending?
If you are a U.S. citizen, once you file Form I-130, your spouse is eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. This entitles him or her to come to the United States to live and work while the visa petition is pending. If you are a legal permanent resident your spouse cannot come to the United States. to live or work while their visa petition is pending.
Need Help Bringing Your Spouse to the U.S.? Get a Free Immigration Lawyer Match
It takes a lot of effort and time -- clearing hurdles and filing paperwork -- in order to adjust your status and become a permanent legal resident of the United States. This is also true with respect to bringing family members into the country. If you need help a petition for your spouse, you may want to work with an immigration attorney. Get a free attorney match today.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with visa procedures.