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Rules and Regulations of Immigrant Visas for Spouses of U.S. Residents

Permanent residents who have already received a green card can submit petitions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of getting them visas, work permits and legal status that will lead to permanent residency. This can be accomplished through what is known as the 2A second preference category of immigration.

The process begins with filing a Petition for Alien Relative Form I-130. In essence, the permanent resident must prove his or her legal status, provide evidence of the lawful marriage and explain why the name of the spouse may have changed as a result of getting married.

Since petitioning the spouse of a U.S. permanent resident falls under a second preference, approvals are subject to availability of visas. Applicants can fill out and attach a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance if they wish to be notified by email or text message of the date when the USCIS received and accepted the I-130 application. Once this confirmation is received, they can ask their attorneys to check the status of the visa queue and get an idea of how long the approval may take.

If the spouse of the permanent resident is already in the U.S. when the form is filed, he or she may have to file for Adjustment of Status by means of a Form I-485 submission. Depending on individual circumstances, an immigration lawyer may recommend to a spouse to return to his or her country to wait for a visa to be issued. If the spouse overstayed a visa or entered the U.S. illegally, additional form filings may be required.

Ideally, if the permanent resident becomes naturalized during the application process, the I-130 can be upgraded to an immediate relative (IR1) category to speed up the process and improve the likelihood of approval. Otherwise, the spouse will be processed for conditional residence (CR1) approval.

If you need help getting an immigration visa for yourself or your spouse, contact KS Visa Law in San Diego at (858) 874-0711. We will explain how to quickly and efficiently navigate the immigration process.

November 2017
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