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Applying for Permanent Residency Through a Spouse

Applying for permanent residency through a spouse is a common but often complex and stressful immigration process. Until recently, every married couple wishing to apply for a green card for one of the spouses had to undergo an interview with an immigration officer.

In 2022, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) updated its policy and no longer summons all applicants to face-to-face interviews. So, what are the current requirements for obtaining permanent residency based on marriage to a U.S. citizen?

The Steps Toward Permanent Residency

If you’re a foreign national married to a U.S. citizen permanent resident, your spouse should file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with USCIS. If you are already in the U.S., it’s possible to file Form I-130 with Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status Application). Your spouse would also need to file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and other supporting documentation, such as:

  • Naturalization or birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Proof of termination of any prior marriages

Once USCIS approves your petition, you become eligible for a conditional permanent resident (CPR) status, with a temporary Green Card valid for two years. To become a permanent resident, you’ll need to file Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) 90 days before your temporary Green Card expires.

You May Not Need To Undergo an Interview When Applying for Permanent Residency Through Spouse

Until July 2022, all CPRs who gained their status through consular processing had to undergo an in-person interview to become permanent residents. Thankfully, today married couples who can show compelling evidence of a bona fide marriage may not receive a summons to an interview. Such evidence should prove that both spouses share a life and household and may include the following:

  • Joint bank or credit statements
  • Deeds of jointly owned property
  • Records of a joint loan or mortgage
  • Shared home, car, and health insurance policies
  • Utility bills addressed to both spouses

The USCIS officer handling your petition will decide whether to waive the interview requirement based on the evidence you provide and the specifics of your case.

Why USCIS May Still Summon You and Your Spouse for an Interview

Despite the new policy, USCIS may still request that you and your spouse attend an interview. This may happen if you don’t provide enough supporting evidence with your petition or if an inconsistency in your documentation makes a USCIS officer suspect fraud.

If this happens to you, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you prepare for the interview to prove your marriage is legitimate and qualify for permanent residency status.

American Dream® Law Office: Supporting You on Your Path To Permanent Residency

When applying for permanent residency through a spouse, a single mistake in your documents could result in frustrating delays, a stressful marriage fraud interview, and even a denial of your petition. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan and the rest of the American Dream® Law Office legal team are here to smooth your path to permanent U.S. residency.

Call (888) 991-3336 or schedule a strategy session via Calendly to consult an immigration lawyer today.

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