Immigration Through Marriage

Couple getting married - immigration through marriageImmigration Through Marriage

I can assist you with helping your spouse to immigrate through marriage either through the process of adjustment of status or by applying for an immigrant visa at an embassy or consulate abroad.

Adjustment of Status

What is it?

 Adjustment of status is the process where eligible foreign nationals can apply for lawful permanent resident status from within the U.S. rather than return to their home country to apply for an immigrant visa.

What do you mean by “adjustment”?  What do you mean by “status”?

“Status” is one’s immigration status.  It is basically a category that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS for short) and Department of State put you in.  They may classify you as a visitor for business or pleasure, for example, or as a student, as a nonimmigrant temporary worker, or as a lawful permanent resident.  The goal of adjustment of status is to adjust your status to that of that of lawful resident. To apply for adjustment of status, you must meet the eligibility criteria and a visa number must be available.  Not everyone is eligible to apply for adjustment of status.  Eligibility should be determined on a case-by-case basis by an immigration attorney as a number of factors can come into play, and if your case is denied, the foreign national spouse may be placed in removal proceedings.  If the foreign national spouse is not eligible, but may overcome the ineligibility, I can also advise you on how to do so and the risks involved.
Immigrant Visa – Consular Processing
If  your spouse is outside of the U.S., he or she may immigrate through a visa petition followed by an application for an immigrant visa.  Upon entering the U.S. with the immigrant visa, your spouse will be a lawful resident.  Your spouse  must be eligible for immigrant status or may be refused a visa.  Factors that can negatively impact your spouse’s eligibility to immigrate include previous unlawful presence in the U.S., fraud or misrepresentation, and certain criminal convictions.  Please speak with me or another immigration attorney if your spouse is in the U.S. and you are thinking of sending your spouse outside of the country to consular process.  If your spouse has lived in the U.S. without any immigration status, he or she may not be able to return for a period of three to 10-years or longer without a waiver.
Conditional Residence
If you and your spouse have been married for less than two years at the time the foreign national spouse has been admitted as an immigrant, then he or she will be a conditional resident rather than a permanent resident.  This bright line rule was created by the government to help prevent sham marriages.  You and your spouse must apply to remove the conditions on residence during a 90-day window before the two year anniversary date of admission, otherwise, the resident status will terminate and the foreign national spouse will be put into removal proceedings in the Immigration Court.  If you are married two years or more at the time of the approval, then the spouse will be a lawful permanent resident.  This process applies whether one applies for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa.

Contact my law office at (415) 413-VISA (8472) or through the form below to set up a consultation.


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[Image by Stephen Hew.  All rights reserved.]