In order to bring your spouse (husband or wife) to live in the United States as a green card holder (permanent resident), you must be either a U.S. citizen or green card holder.

If you are a U.S. citizen, once you file the immigrant petition on behalf of your spouse, your spouse is eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. This will entitle him or her to come to the United States to live and work while the visa petition is pending. Note that you are not required to apply for a K-3 visa. Your spouse may wait abroad for immigrant visa processing. However, seeking a K-3 visa can be an additional method for him or her to come to the United States sooner. Our firm is able to assist you with these petitions.

If you are a permanent resident and you have filed a petition on behalf of your spouse and/or minor children on or before December 21, 2000, your spouse and/or children may be eligible for the V visa classification if more than three years have passed since your petition was filed.

If you have been married less than two years when your spouse is granted permanent resident status, your spouse will receive permanent resident status on a conditional basis. To remove the conditions on residence, you and your spouse must apply together. You must apply to remove the conditional status within the 90-day period before the expiration date on the conditional resident card. If you fail to 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.

If you had children who did not obtain permanent residence at the same time you did, they may be eligible for follow-to-join benefits. This means that you do not have to submit a separate petition for your children. In addition, your children will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. In this case, you may simply notify a U.S. consulate that you are a permanent resident so that your children can apply for an immigrant visa.

Your children may be eligible for following-to-join benefits if:

  • The relationship existed at the time you became a permanent resident and still exists, AND
  • You received an immigrant visa or adjusted status in a preference category.

Elsa Ayoub provides counsel in all aspects of these marriage-based petitions and ensures that the process is as simple, straightforward and fast as possible so that spouses are not separated, or to minimize the amount of time spouses must stay apart while petitions are adjudicated.