As a legal permanent resident of the United States, it is reasonable for you to want to bring your spouse to this country to live and work alongside you. The U.S. government gives you the opportunity to do this via the process of petitioning for a spouse. However, the process can go wrong if you do not follow instructions precisely. A bad mistake can cause the government to not only deny your petition but to issue a 10-year ban to prevent your spouse from entering the country.
It may be helpful to have some idea of what to expect from the process. The following should give you a general idea, although you should give precedence to your attorney’s instructions and advice.
- Confirm your status
In other words, be sure you are a legal permanent resident. The petitioning process is a little bit different if you are a U.S. citizen.
- File Form I-130 on your spouse’s behalf
This is the immigrant visa petition. You must fill it out and file it for your spouse. You must also pay the filing fee.
- Wait for the State Department to issue an immigrant visa number
Your spouse’s name will go on a waiting list. The wait time to receive an immigrant visa number can be two years or more. If your spouse is in the country illegally, accruing unlawful presence could negatively affect his or her eligibility for an immigrant visa number. Therefore, your spouse may need to leave the United States in the interim.
- Complete the final steps
Depending on whether your spouse is legally inside the United States or waiting beyond its borders, the final steps in the process differ. In the former case, your spouse can adjust his or her status by filling out Form I-485 upon approval of the petition and receipt of an immigrant visa number. However, if your spouse is dwelling outside the United States upon receiving an immigrant visa number, he or she can complete the processing for an immigrant visa by going to the local U.S. consulate.