How do I get a green card for my spouse? Should I hire an Immigration Attorney?
Falling in love is a crazy, emotional time for many people. However, there are certain times when you must put emotion aside and file important paperwork. This is especially true when a U.S. marries a foreign national spouse.
The process is called marriage based adjustment of status and it can be tricky and complicated. It involves petitioning USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), which is a part of the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) with an application to adjust the status of the foreign national spouse from temporary visitor to permanent resident.
The first step is completing the USCIS forms. The following forms must be filed with the USCIS lockbox.
USCIS form I-130
USCIS Form I-485
USCIS form I-765
USCIS Form I-131
G-325A – US Citizen
G-325A – Foreign National Spouse
Required Supporting Documents:
- Documents that are not in English must to be accompanied by a notarized, certified, word-for-word translation.
- You must provide an original marriage certificate from a government office
- USCIS requires that you provide proof of the bona fide nature of your marriage using documents such as joint leases, bank accounts, and children’s birth certificates. Some lawyers advise waiting to submit these materials until the visa or green card interview.
It is important to remember that you must petition to remove the foreign national spouse’s conditional status within the 90-day period before the expiration date on the conditional resident card. If you do not file during this time, your spouse’s resident status will be terminated and he or she may be subject to removal from the United States.
The marriage green card interview makes most couples nervous, but it shouldn’t as long as they know how to prepare. Here are some of the basic questions that are asked:
- When and where did you meet your spouse?
- Describe this 1st meeting.
- Did you make arrangements to meet again?
- Did you exchange phone numbers?
- When did you meet next?
- Where were you living at the time? Where was your spouse living?
- When did you decide to get married? Where were you at the time?
- Did you live together before marriage?
The USCIS officer can even ask more difficult questions, such as:
- Describe the place where you lived right after the marriage. Number of bedrooms and bathrooms; furnishings; color of walls, floor coverings, appliances, etc; type of air conditioning, heating, etc; # of telephones, televisions, etc.
- Where did you get the furniture? Was it already there or did you buy it
- Describe your bedroom. Where do you keep your clothes? Where does your spouse keep his or her clothes? Where are the bathroom towels kept? Where do you keep the dirty clothes?
- Where is the garbage kept in the kitchen?
- On what day of the week is the garbage picked up?
- Where do you shop for groceries? Do you go together with your spouse? How do you get there?
- Where do you work? What days of the week do you work?
The process can seem overwhelming at times, for this reason, many couples hire an immigration attorney to help them through the process. An experienced immigration should be able to explain each step of the process, be available to answer questions, correctly file the petition with USCIS, provide guidance for the interview and be available after the green card is issued.