Your foreign spouse requires a green card. You know that s/he is eligible to apply.
What is the Timeline to Apply for and Obtain Permanent Residence?
The issuance of a permanent residence card requires processing by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS processing times can vary depending upon where the petitioner and foreign spouse live in the United States. In general, however, the typical timeline for permanent residence processing is as follows:
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Processing
In order to initiate the process, the petitioner (U.S. citizen) files a marriage petition for the foreign spouse and each child. Along with the marriage petition, the foreign spouse and children file an Application for Permanent Residence, Applications for Travel and Work Permits, an Affidavit of Support, completed medical examination and supporting documents with the USCIS. Once the marriage petition and applications are filed, the USCIS issues receipt notices for each to the petitioner, applicant (foreign spouse and children) and attorney. The marriage petition, applications and supporting documentation are then forwarded to the USCIS District Office nearest you and your foreign spouse’s and children’s residence.
Receipt Notices Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
Total Time to Process: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
The USCIS issues your foreign spouse and children a notice to appear at the USCIS District Office in order for biometrics (fingerprints) to be captured. This allows the USCIS to perform a background check of your foreign spouse and children. After the background check is complete, the USCIS schedules you, your foreign spouse and children for an interview and forwards the marriage petition, applications, medical examination and supporting documents sample documents are listed here to the USCIS District Office.
Biometrics (Fingerprinting) Appointment Scheduled: 1 Month from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
Total Time to Process: 1 Month from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
USCIS Permanent Residence Interview
At the interview, the USCIS officer will verify that all required documentation has been provided. Second, and more importantly, the USCIS officer will question you and your foreign spouse in detail with respect to the specifics of your marriage in order to determine its legitimacy. Further, you and your foreign spouse will be required to provide documentation demonstrating the legitimacy of your marriage. Once the USCIS officer determines that you are lawfully married, s/he will approve the marriage petition. Then the USCIS officer will decide the application for permanent residence.
Assuming that the USCIS is satisfied, the application for permanent residence is approved and your foreign spouse will receive a lawful permanent resident card by mail. At that time, the USCIS officer will also approve any minor children’s applications for permanent residence. If you and your foreign spouse have been married less than 2 years at the time of issuance of the immigrant visa, the permanent resident card will be valid for 2 years. This is referred to as a ‘conditional resident’ card. Please note that 90 days prior to the expiration of the permanent resident card, your foreign spouse will be required to file a petition to remove the conditions on residence allowing for the issuance of a ‘new’ permanent resident card (valid for 10 years). If you and your foreign spouse have been married 2 years or more at the time of issuance of the immigrant visa, the permanent resident card will be valid for 10 years.
Interview Scheduled: 4 to 12 Months from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
Permanent Residence Card Issued: 10 Days from Date of Interview
Period of Validity of Permanent Residence Card:2 Years (if married less than 2 years)
10 Years (if married 2 years or more)
Total Time to Process: 4 to 12 Months from Date of Receipt of Marriage Petition and Applications
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