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Generally, foreign nationals who wish to live and work permanently in the United States must first obtain a green card. Green card holders, also known as lawful permanent residents (LPRs), are granted specific rights and privileges, including the ability to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, to travel freely in and out of the country, and to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or LPRs may be eligible for a marriage-based green card through a process known as adjustment of status through marriage. Adjustment of status is a one-step process. If the foreign national spouse lives abroad, they must go through a two-step consular processing process.

The process of adjustment of status can be complex, and it is essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that all necessary steps are taken and that the foreign national spouse is eligible for a marriage green card.

Marriage-Based Adjustment Process

If you are a USC or LPR and your spouse lives in the US, you will undergo a process called adjustment of status or one-step adjustment. You will file forms such as I-130, I-485, I-765, I-131, and I864. You will also provide proof of your bona fide relationship. (Example, photos, affidavits, joint bank account, car insurance, health insurance, etc.) Once USCIS accepts the petitions, your spouse will get a biometrics notice for fingerprinting. After that, the local USCIS office will schedule an in-person interview for both of you to attend.  The interview is to examine the evidence and to determine if you have a real marriage. If the USCIS adjudicator approves the case, they will approve the issuance of a Lawful Permanent Resident Card for the foreign national spouse.

This process can be stressful, and it is best to have a knowledgeable, professional guide you through the process.

CONSULAR PROCESSING (USC or LPR petitioning for their foreign national spouse who lives abroad)

If you are a USC or LPR and your spouse lives outside the US, you will go through a consular processing process.

Once you begin the consular processing case for your spouse, you’ll deal with three different agencies: USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). While each agency has specific requirements, some general steps are followed in most cases.

The first step is to file an immigrant petition on behalf of your spouse with USCIS. This petition, known as Form I-130, must be filed by the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. Once USCIS has received and processed the petition, they will forward it to the NVC for further review.

The NVC will contact you and your spouse to collect the necessary documentation for your green card application. This documentation includes birth and marriage certificates, police clearances, and financial documents. Once the required documentation has been collected, the NVC will forward your case to the US consulate in the home country for final processing.

The consulate will contact you to schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy. At this interview, a consular officer will ask questions about your marriage and relationship with your spouse.

Green Card Issuance and Duration

Once the interview is complete, the consular officer will decide on your case. If approved, you will be issued an immigrant visa. Once you enter the U.S. on a valid immigrant visa, you will be issued a green card and can permanently live and work in the United States. Depending on when you get approved for a green card or enter on an immigrant visa, you will be issued a two or ten-year green card (or lawful permanent resident card). If you were approved within two years of marriage, then you will be issued a two-year green card. If you were approved for a green card after two years of marriage, you will be issued a ten-year green card. Those who get a two-year green card will need to lift the conditions on their green card and file form I-751.

Discussing adjustment or consular processing cases with Naperville Immigration Lawyers

Naperville immigration lawyers can help you through the process of adjustment of status or consular processing cases in many ways.

First, an attorney can review your case to ensure that you are eligible for a green card through adjustment of status and or consular processing. You must meet several requirements for a foreign national to qualify for a green card, and an attorney can help you understand these requirements and gather the necessary documentation.

The immigration system can be confusing, and even a small mistake on an application can result in delays or denial of a green card. An experienced immigration attorney will know how to avoid these mistakes and ensure that your application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Finally, an immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process. Adjustment of status or consular processing can be a stressful experience, and it is important to have someone on your side who can answer your questions and help you to navigate the process.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen or LPR and wish to obtain a green card, contact an experienced immigration attorney today to learn more about how they can help you through the adjustment of status process.

It is important to remember that you are not alone in this process. Call Kasturi Law LLC today at 630-392-8101 to learn more about how to start with your or your spouse’s status adjustment or consular processing case.