US marriage green card – spouse

Instructions for applying for a green card for a spouse

US immigration process involves multiple forms and steps. The key in application process is – patience, and to follow instructions precisely.

In this discussion and in all immigration forms you fill out, the spouse who is a US citizen or green card holder is called the applicant. The beneficiary is the spouse who will emigrate and get his or her own green card.

The steps for applying for an immigrant visa and a green card are slightly different depending on whether the applicant is a citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

If you are a US citizen, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete Form I-130 (petition for alien relative) and Form I-130A (additional information for beneficiary spouse) and send the forms with supporting documentation and registration fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Once the form is approved, submit your spouse visa application to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  3. The NVC will process and send your file to the embassy or consulate nearest to your spouse, who will schedule an interview with your spouse.
  4. At the interview, your spouse answers questions and provides documents for review. If approved, the embassy or consulate will issue an immigrant visa.
  5. Your spouse has six months to travel to the United States. Upon arrival, they present their documents and visa at the port of entry and can enter the country and join you.
  6. Your spouse’s green card will arrive in the mail in a few weeks.

If you have been married less than two years, your spouse’s green card is conditional and expires in two years. They will have to petition for a permanent green card during the 90-day period before the conditional card expires.

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