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How to get your foreign spouse into the United States

| Feb 2, 2021 | Immigration Law

Many people around the globe look to California and other destinations in the United States as attractive relocation options for higher earning potential and a higher quality of life. Spouses of U.S. citizens can move to the front of the immigration line provided that they follow the right application steps. Here is some information about bringing your spouse into the U.S.

The basic documents U.S. citizens need to bring a spouse to the country

In determining whether you qualify to bring your spouse into the United States to live permanently, there are a few basic requirements to start. First, the spouse who is a U.S. resident must be either a U.S. citizen or a green card holder.

If you are a U.S. citizen currently living within the United States, then Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status are the documents that you will need to begin the application process. If you are a U.S. citizen currently residing outside of the country, then you will require only Form I-130. The embassy or consulate in the country where you currently reside will be in contact with further instructions.

The basic documents that green card holders need to bring a spouse to the U.S.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen but you hold a green card, you may qualify to bring your spouse into the country. However, the process is a bit different. For green card holders currently inside of the United States, you should start by filing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Then, once a visa number opens up, you must file to “adjust status” to permanent residency via Form I-485. If you hold a green card but currently live outside of the U.S., then you must file Form I-130 and wait for further instructions from the embassy or consulate in your area.

The bottom line on bringing your spouse to the US

Depending on your residency status, the two most important forms to consider for bringing your spouse to the U.S. are Form I-130 and Form I-485. California residents attempting to get a visa for their spouse should consider enlisting the aid of an immigration attorney who is licensed to practice in the state.