ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS
It’s no secret that getting married can be a very time consuming and costly affair. All kinds of considerations go into planning a wedding: Where will the wedding take place? Who will be attending? Where will they stay while attending the wedding? Who is catering the wedding? And how are we paying for all of this?
When you are marrying an immigrant there are many additional questions that need to be answered: My spouse currently has a visa that expires in a few months, how can s/he remain in the US permanently? How long does the process take? Can we travel outside of the US for our honeymoon while our application is pending?
Most importantly, you want to make sure that your spouse will be able to live and work legally in the US. In an ideal situation your immigrant spouse was inspected and admitted into the US by a US customs and border protection officer at a US port of entry. In this situation you might be able to apply for what is called Adjustment of Status. You are adjusting the foreign national’s status from a nonimmigrant status (for example, H-1B, L-1A, F-1 status) to an immigrant status.
Before filing an Adjustment of Status application for your spouse in the US you should determine whether your spouse is actually eligible to file the application without ending up in deportation or removal proceedings. If your spouse entered the US without a visa (we call this “entry without inspection”) or has a criminal history, they should seek the advice of an immigration attorney before filing anything with the immigration service. There are also other things that can cause the case to get denied. For example, claiming to be a US citizen when they are not. But let’s assume for our purposes that your spouse has not done anything to jeopardize the green card application.
The first step in the process is to file the relevant applications with USCIS. After USCIS receives your applications and filing fees, they will send you receipt notices which verify they have received the application, fees were paid and provide you with a receipt number.
Within a few weeks of receiving your receipts your spouse will receive a notice to appear at a USCIS Application Support Center to have their picture and fingerprints taken. USCIS uses this information to run a background check on your spouse.
If you filled out your applications correctly and USCIS doesn’t need any additional information from you or your spouse, you will eventually receive an appointment notice from USCIS to appear for an interview at your local USCIS office. In most cases, both the US citizen and the immigrant spouse must appear at the interview. The marriage interviews are typically about fifteen to thirty minutes in length. If the interview is significantly longer than that, the immigration officer probably has some issues with your case.
If everything goes well at the interview, your spouse will receive either a conditional green card valid for two years or an unrestricted green card valid for ten years. If your marriage is less than two years old at the time of your interview, the immigrant spouse receives the conditional green card. If the marriage is over two years old at the time of the interview the immigrant spouse will receive the ten-year green card.
Contact Dhanani Law Firm Today
At Dhanani Law Firm, we understand the hopes, fears and frustrations you and your family experience when seeking a visa to the U.S. Many of our own friends and relatives are themselves foreign born and have gone through the immigration process. As a result, we are sensitive to the needs of those seeking an opportunity to work and prosper in the U.S.A.
Call (404) 593-0434 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Rahim Dhanani. We are here to help you with your immigration visa needs.