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Can I Sponsor my Spouse to the United States

Can-I-Sponsor-my-Spouse-to-the-United-StatesHow to Bring your Spouse to the United States

Do you wish to have your spouse live permanently with you in the United States? Are you curious or confused on how to do so? The process can seem overwhelming and emotional; however in this article, I will explain the processes and steps in order to sponsor your spouse to the U.S. Specifically, in the U.S., a sponsorship is referred to as a petition and below will be a detailed explanation of who can petition, the requirements of the petitioner and the spouse, and more. At Akrami & Associates, we can try our best to unite you and your spouse permanently.

Who is able to Petition?

In the United States, your status determines who you will be able to petition for. In order for you to petition for your spouse to immigrate to the United States permanently as a green card holder, you must be a:  
  • U.S. citizen, or
  • Green card holder (permanent resident)

2 Main Ways to Petition for your Spouse

There are two main ways for one to sponsor their spouse in the U.S. This is subdivided by whether you are a U.S. citizen or a green card holder.

U.S. Citizen

If you are a U.S. citizen and you are looking to sponsor your spouse, there are 2 main ways to do so. The two main ways are: Inside the U.S.: You will have to apply to register as a permanent resident and also fill out the petition for an alien relative form, both at the same time. Outside the U.S.: You will have to fill out the petition for an alien relative form. If and once the application is approved, then it will be sent for consular processing and the consulate will communicate with the applicant with regards to processing information.

Green Card Holder

If you are a green card holder and you are looking to sponsor your spouse, there are 2 main ways to do so. The two main ways are: Inside the U.S.: You will have to fill out the petition for an alien relative form. Once you have done this, you will receive a visa number and then you must apply to adjust your status to permanent residency using the application to register as a permanent resident. Keep in mind, while waiting for your visa number, you must maintain your lawful status in the U.S. in order to proceed with adjusting your status. Outside the U.S.: You will have to fill out the petition for an alien relative form. If and once the application is approved, then it will be sent for consular processing and the consulate will communicate with the applicant with regards to processing information.

Required Documentation for Spousal Petition

Most of the required documentation is from the petitioner applying to sponsor their spouse. However, the spouse that is being sponsored must also provide some details on the forms. Below is a list of documents the petitioner must provide.
  • Completely filled alien relative form that is signed with the proper fee
  • Completely filled and signed biographic information form (one by the petitioner and the other by the spouse)
  • A copy of the marriage certificate
  • A copy of all divorce certificates for all previous marriages that the petitioner and the spouse were involved in
  • Passport style photos of the petitioner and the spouse
  • Documentation with regards to legal name changes for the petitioner or the spouse, if applicable
Furthermore, as a U.S. citizen as well as a green card holder, you must provide proof of your status within the U.S. For instance for a U.S. citizen, they may demonstrate their status with:
  • A copy of your valid U.S. passport
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • A copy of your naturalization certificate
  • A copy of your certificate of citizenship
Whereas, for a green card holder, they may demonstrate their status with:
  • A copy of the front and back of their green card
  • A copy of your foreign passport which includes a stamp showing temporary evidence of permanent residence

What Constitutes a Conditional Residence & How to Remove Conditions

Your spouse will receive permanent residence status conditionally if you have been married for less than 2 complete years at the time that your spouse received permanent resident status. In order to remove these conditions on their permanent residency, both you and the spouse must fill out the Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence form. On your spouse’s conditional resident card, there will be a date of expiration, and you must apply to remove the conditional status at least 90 days before that date. Keep in mind, if you forget or do not file for the conditions to be removed during this time frame, your spouse’s residency will unfortunately be void and terminated and they may be subject to removal from the U.S.

The Visa Petition is Pending – Can Spouse Live with Petitioner in the Meantime

Your spouse may be able to come to the U.S. to live with you as long as she/he is eligible and applies for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. This is also only an option for petitioners who are U.S. citizens. Additionally, the spouse may be able to work in the U.S. with a K-3 visa. This may be a viable option for couples who wish to stay together while the spousal application is processing. On the other hand, if you are a permanent resident of the U.S. and wish to live with your spouse while their application is being processed, you must have filed an alien relative form on or before December 21, 2000. If this is the case, then your spouse and/or dependent children may be able to apply for the V visa classification, only if more than 3 years have passed since the form was filed.

Contact Akrami & Associates to Petition for your Spouse

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned requirements and documentation into consideration before you attempt to apply for a spousal petition. Spousal petitions are difficult applications to pursue on your own and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients unite with their spouses and they are now extremely happy living together in the United States. If you believe that you may be eligible to petition for your spouse, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise. With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

How can I qualify for a Green Card

What does it mean to be Green Card holder?

A Green Card holder means you are a permanent resident of the United States in which you can live and work. To demonstrate proof of status the individual is given a permanent resident card also known as the Green Card. There are many ways of becoming a permanent resident of the United States such as being sponsored by a family member or an employer in the United States. You could also become a permanent resident of the United States through refugee or aslee status or any other programs such as the humanitarian programs.

The Green Card can be obtained in one of the four ways:

Employment Based Green Card

An employment based green card will require your employer to submit Labour Certification to the Department of Labour (depending on your category). The employment based green card processing times are very lengthy and can even take several years for acceptance.

Green Card through Family Member

If you are obtaining your green card through a family member, then they will either need to be a permanent resident or citizen of the U.S. They will either need to be

Immediate Relative:

  • Spouse
  • Your children under the age of 21 who are unmarried
  • Parents of the American citizen (sponsor

Family Preference:

  • Single children over the age of 21
  • Siblings of the sponsor who are over the age of 21
  • Married children of any age

Green Card through Refugee or Aslee Status

If you are trying to obtain the green card through refugee or asylee status then you can do so after one year if:
  1. You came in as a refugee or family member of an asylee
  2. If you were allowed asylum
The requirements if you were a refugee:
  1. Must have been present for one year in the U.S. once granted refugee status
  2. Have maintained your refugee status
  3. Have not already received your green card
  4. And to not be inadmissible
The requirements if you are an asylee:
  1. Maintain your asylee status
  2. Be physically present in the U.S. one year after being given asylum
  3. To have not abandon your asylee status
  4. And not be inadmissible
When applying as a refugee or asylee, you will need to fill out “Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”. The documentation you will provide for either one of these categories is different. If you have other family members who wish to apply, then Form I-485 will need to be filled out for each family member and sent together in the same package. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services allows you to fill out Form I-589 from your spouse or children who are no longer meet the definition of a spouse of children from you as a principal asylee. This allows them to obtain permanent residence. However the CSPA in some cases allow your children that have reached the age of 21 to still keep the classification of a child. To see if this case applies for you, you can consult with the CSPA. If you need to change anything like your address as green card applications take a long to process, then you will need to inform the USCIS 10 days prior to moving in writing. This must be done for each member of the family that is applying for the green card. You would fill out “Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card”. Please note making changes will delay your application processing times.

Green Card through other ways

There are other categories to attain a green card and they are known as special categories. These special categories include: Family:
  • Fiancée
  • Widower
Jobs:
  • Armed forces
  • Religious worker
Other green card programs:
  • Haitian refugee
  • Victim of trafficking

Rights and Responsibilities of the Green Card Holder

As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to:

  • Live permanently in the United States without committing any crimes that would make your removable under the U.S immigration law
  • Work in the United States
  • Protected by U.S. law

Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident would be:

  • Obey U.S. Laws
  • File income tax returns
  • Reporting your income to Revenue Service
  • Supporting democratic form of government and not change it through illegal means
  • If you are male 18-25 to register with selective service

How do I renew my Green Card?

If you are permanent resident of the United States and your Green Card is close to expiration date you can renew your card either going online and fill out the application to replace permanent resident card also known as E-Filing Form I-90. If you like to submit your application through mail you can simply print I-90 form and mail it out.

Can I renew my Green Card if I am outside of the United States?

If your Green Card will expire within 6 months and you are outside of the United States you should file for renewal of card as soon as you get back. If your card has expired and you are outside of the United States you should contact the nearest US consulate office prior to attempting to file Form I-90.

When should I renew my Green Card?

If you card has expired or is about to expire within the next 6 months you should renew your Green Card using Form I-551. If you are a conditional resident and your status is expiring you should use Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

What happens if my Green Card for renewal is denied can I appeal?

If you received a letter that states your green card is denied, you cannot appeal a negative decision. The options available to you would be submitting a motion to reopen or reconsider your application in the same office you have filed. When filing such a motion you are asking the USCIS office review your file again for reconsideration. Therefore, you must clearly state the new facts to help support your case and including supporting documentation with your application to prove the decision that was made was incorrect based on evidence in the file at the time the decision was made.

Contact Akrami and Associates

If you need assistance with obtaining your Green Card or need help with renewing your expired Green Card, please feel free to contact us at 416-477-2545 and we will be glad to assist you with your U.S. immigration matters.