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Obtaining a Green Card through Marriage – Part 1

Part 1: General overview. Which route is applicable?

If you are a US Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) your spouse is eligible to obtain his/her green card through your relationship. Within Part 1 of this article series, we will provide general information to help with determining which route is applicable when filing for your spouse’s green card.

The two routes in obtaining a marriage-based green card are adjustment of status and consular processing. To determine which route is applicable to you, you will need to answer the following two questions:

1- Are you, as the Petitioning spouse, a US Citizen or an LPR?
2- Is the Foreign National Spouse residing in the US or abroad?

If you are a US Citizen your spouse is considered an immediate relative, as per USCIS. This means that your spouse is immediately eligible to obtain his/her green card. If your spouse is currently residing in the US, you will use the adjustment of the status route. If your spouse is residing outside the US, you will need to follow the consular processing route.

If you are an LPR, you will have to verify if the priority date is current as per the Department of State Visa Bulletin. As per the visa bulletin for August 2020 the dates are considered current for this category. Thus, your spouse would be immediately eligible for his/her green card. However, this is not always the case. If the priority date is not current, your spouse will need to wait until the priority date is current to be eligible for his/her green card.

Although, please be aware that you can still file the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for your spouse despite the priority dates. The I-130 is the immigrant petition that is filed with USCIS to confirm your bona fide relationship. However, this petition does not give your spouse a US status, meaning this does not authorize him/her to stay in the US. If your spouse is residing in the US, he/she will need to maintain his/her nonimmigrant status.

If you are an LPR and your spouse is eligible for his/her green card you can file for adjustment of status if your spouse is residing in the US. If your spouse is residing abroad, he/she can obtain his/her green card through consular processing.

For more information on the Consular Processing route, please see the following link: [Link]

For more information on the Adjustment of Status route, please see the following link: [Link]

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