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What are the requirements and how do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S? This is a very common question in our offices.

At Cuberlo Law, one of our priorities is helping families with members abroad reunite in the United States. Our immigration lawyers in New Jersey with more than 10 years of positive outcome in these types of cases.

Call us today and get a private consultation for any immigration matter involving a family-based immigration in the United States .

As A U. S. Citizen, how do I Bring My Foreign Spouse To The U. S. In 2024?

If you want to petition to bring your spouse to the U. S. you must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Be an American citizen, or 
  2. Be a lawful permanent resident.

The requirements will change if the applicant is a citizen or resident and if their partner is inside or outside the country.

Requirements For American Citizens

bringing spouses to live in the united states as permanent residents

American citizens who are within the United States will need to sumbit the following documents to:

Spouses Within The United States

  • Form I-130, petition for alien relative, and
  • Form I-485, application for permanent residence or adjustment of status.

Both documents will need to be completed and submitted at the same time to apply for your spouse.

Spouses Outside The United States

  1. File Form I-130.
  2. Once approved, consular processing will take place at the United States embassy or consulate in the country where the spouse is located for processing. 

Requirements For Lawful Permanent Residents

If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you can petition to bring your spouse. To do this you will simply need the following documents:

Spouses Within The United States

  1. File Form I-130 once a visa number is available, and
  2. Apply for adjustment of status in the United States using Form I-485.

The spouse must have maintained continuous legal status in the US to make an adjustment of status if he or she had a petition for an immigrant visa or any work certificate before April 30, 2001.

Spouses Outside The United States

  1. Submit Form I-130 once approved and a visa number is available. 
  2. You will need to submit this form for consular processing at the US embassy or consulate in the country where the spouse is located.
  3. Wait for the US consulate or embassy to notify you of the next procedures to be carried out.

What Are The Documents I Need To Request From My Husband?

You will need certain documents to petition to bring your spouse, including the following:

  • Form I-130 signed and paid with its corresponding fee.
  • Copy of your civil marriage certificate.
  • Copy of the divorce, death or annulment document proving that your previous marriages have ended legally (in case you have had other spouses).
  • Your passport photo and that of your spouse.
  • Some legal evidence for a name change or that of your spouse, such as:
    • A court order for name change.
    • A marriage document, or
    • Divorce certificate.

Documents For American Citizens And lawful Permanent Residents

If you are a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you must prove your status with one of these copies:

For American citizens:

  • Valid American passport.
  • Birth certificate in the United States.
  • Consular process of foreign birth.
  • Naturalization certificate.
  • Certificate of American citizenship. 

For lawful permanent residents:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card) on both sides.
  • Foreign passport with a stamp showing temporary evidence of your stay in the United States.

Documents That The Spouse Must Submit

If located within the United States, the spouse can submit some documents at the same time that the I-130 form is processed. To do this, you must provide USCIS with the following: 

  • Form I-485.
  • Copy of your biographical information (Form G-325).
  • Form I-693, immigration medical report and vaccination record.
  • Two recent color photos from the last 30 days.
  • Form I-864, affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Act.
  • Form I-765, application for employment authorization, in case you want to work in the U. S. while waiting for the resolution.
  • Copy of the birth certificate of your lawful permanent resident or American citizen spouse.
how to legally enter the united states

Read our related article on how to legally enter the United States and how to get a job in the United States being illegal. This way you will better understand the importance of having a legal status in the country.

How do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S. If I Am An American Citizen Or Lawful Permanent Resident? 

If you are a U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and want to petition to bring your spouse, you must complete the following procedures.

Application Process To Petition to bring A Spouse If You Are An American Citizen 

  1. Complete Form I-130 and submit it to USCIS.
  2. Upon approval, send the visa application to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  3. The NVC will process your file and send it to the consulate or embassy closest to your spouse.
  4. The NVC will schedule an interview appointment in which your spouse must attend.
  5. In the interview, you must answer the marriage-based Green Card interview questions and submit the necessary documentation.
  6. If approved, the consulate or embassy will issue your partner an immigration visa.
  7. The spouse will have six months to travel to the U. S. where they will have to show the documents and visa at the airport.
  8. You and your partner will have to wait for the Green Card to arriv., It usually takes a few weeks and arrives in the mail.

If you have been married for less than two years, the residency card will be conditional and will expire after two years.

Both will have to submit a petition to obtain a Green Card before completing the last 90 days in which the conditional card will be issued.

Our blog on how to get a Green Card will help you complete the information in “How do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S.”

Application Process To Petition to Bring A Spouse If You Are A Lawful Permanent Resident 

If you are a lawful permanent resident in the U. S, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete Form I-130 and send it to USCIS.
  2. If the petition is approved, the spouse will be placed on a waiting list to obtain an immigration visa number.
  3. The submission date will become a visa priority date, the visa application will not be submitted until the priority date updates.
  4. Once the priority date updates, you will need to submit the visa application to the NVC.
  5. The NVC will be in charge of sending the file to the consulate or embassy closest to where your spouse lives and will later schedule an interview.
  6. If approved, the embassy will issue an immigration visa number.
  7. The spouse will have a maximum of six months to travel to the U. S. and their Green Card will arrive in the mail after a few weeks.

As with American citizens, if you have been married to your partner for less than two years, the residential card will become conditional and will have an expiration date of two years.

You can apply for a Green Card within 90 days before the conditional card expires.

In case you are a Green Card holder and you opt for American citizenship, you can go through the process to get U. S. citizenship. This will speed up your partner’s processing and you will not have to wait for an available visa number.

Our Related Services For Family-Based Immigration Petitions

if i marry an american how long does it take to get residency

In addition to the spouses, our attorneys Carolina Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman can help you with the following family-based petitions:

How To Remove Conditional Residence?

If you have been married to your partner for less than 2 years and applied to enter the United States, your partner will be issued a conditional Green Card instead of a permanent one. 

  • The conditional Green Card is valid for up to a maximum of 2 years and may expire. 
  • If the couple fails to revoke this conditional card, they will risk being deported from the United States.

Our attorneys, Carolina and Sharon, can help you obtain a cancellation of deportation if this happens.

In order for you to remove the conditional card, you and your partner must:

  • Apply Form I-751, Petition to Cancel Conditions of Residence. The Form I-90, application to replace the Green Card is not used in these cases. 
  • Request to remove conditional status within the 90-day period before the conditional card expires.

How Long Does The Petition To bring my foreign spouse to the U. S. Take?

A very common question in our offices is: “if I marry an American, how long will my residency take?” The reality is that this process can take time. In addition, it depends on the procedures requested for your spouse to go to live in the United States. 

Processing Time For Form I-130

This time depends on several factors such as whether the applicant is a U. S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

There are a limited number of American visas and the waiting time is normally 5 to 12 months although some applications can be processed in 2 months.

Processing Time For A Spouse Visa

Once USCIS approves the I-130 form for an American citizen, their spouse can apply for a visa. This process usually takes 3 to 5 months.

If you are a lawful permanent resident, you will have to wait for your partner to have a visa number available with your priority date. This usually takes approximately 24 months. 

When the priority date is updated, you can apply for a visa and the process may take 3 to 5 months.

The Time To Obtain A Green Card

Once the NVC approves the visa, the embassy or consulate of the country where your spouse is currently located may take 2 to 3 months.

After completing an interview, you will be issued an immigrant visa that will be valid for 6 months.

Approximately one month after arriving in the U. S, the applicant will receive their Green Card.

How Much Does It Cost To Petition To Bring A Foreign Spouse To The U. S?

documents to petition to bring my spouse as american citizen

Our clients often ask us “How much does it cost to arrange papers to petition to bring a spouse for marriage?” Well, the fee is about $535, but the total cost can be about $2,000 if your spouse resides in the U. S.

In case the spouse is in a foreign country, then the cost varies between $1,500 and $1,960.

It should be noted that the costs of this process may include:

  • Document translations.
  • Payments for documents or photocopies.
  • Travel expenses for interviews at U. S. consulates or embassies.

Frequently Asked Questions On How do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S.

We have already answered the main question: “How do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S.” Let’s look at some of the most common questions in our office. 

Remember that this is general information and only our immigration lawyers can give you a concrete answer about your situation. You can also talk to them in Spanish because they are Latinas and you don’t lose anything by sending us your query.

Can My Spouse Come To The United States While The Visa Petition Is Pending?

If you are an American citizen, you must process the I-130 form and your partner, if eligible, will apply for the K-3 non-immigrant visa.

With this visa, your spouse will have the right to work and live in the United States while waiting for your visa application to be pending.

If you wish to obtain this benefit, you must process form I-129F. If your partner wishes to wait outside the United States while their visa is being processed, they will not need to file Form I-129F.

If you are a lawful permanent resident, your spouse may be eligible for a V visa, as long as no more than three years have passed since the I-130 petition was processed.

You can learn more about the different types of visas available in the United States in our specialized article. You may also be interested in reviewing the K-1 fiancé(e) visa

Can I Appeal If My Request Was Denied? 

If the application is denied, the applicant may be able to appeal. In the denial letter you obtain all the information on how and when to appeal.

The appeal will be sent to the Board of Immigration Appeals after requesting it and making the respective payment. 

You can learn more about how to appeal an immigration decision in our dedicated blog on the subject.

If I Married An American Citizen In The USA, Can I Become A Resident?

Individuals who marry American citizens in the United States may become lawful permanent residents. However, this all depends on how long you have been married.

For example, if you were recently married; That is, if you have been married for less than 2 years, then you will have a conditional residence that can expire and if it does, you may face deportation.

What Does It Take To Arrange My Husband’s Documents?

If you are wanting to fix your spouse’s papers, it is best to contact our immigration attorneys.

After studying your case, we will give you all the possible tools so that you can arrange any type of procedure or documentation for your partner. 

Curbelo Law Helps You With The Petition To Bring Your Spouse To The U. S.

If you are looking for legal advice to petition to bring your spouse to the United States, do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Curbelo Law. With over 10 years of successful experience bringing couples together, we are ready to assist you in this and any other immigration procedure.

Our immigration attorneys based in New Jersey are available to help you in all these processes wherever you are. Call today for a private no-obligation consultation that can become the starting point of reuniting with your loved one.