Anyone who obtained LPR status or U.S. citizenship through adoption or as a special immigrant juvenile and aged below 21, regardless of his/her immigration status, is not eligible to file Form I-130.
You Can’t Buy Happiness but Can Sponsor Your Spouse
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About Family-Based Green Card Application
Form I-130, officially known as ’Petition for Alien Relative,’ is the first and foremost consideration before applying for a Family-Based Green Card. According to USCIS, any 21 years or older U.S. citizen can file a petition as a sponsor for his/her non-resident parents, unmarried children, legal spouse and siblings through I-130. It aims to establish a legitimate relationship between a U.S. citizen and qualifying alien relatives or family members who wish to permanently live in the United States.
Unlike U.S Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) are not eligible to apply for a green card for spouse. In addition, if the green card candidate is present in the United States, the petitioner needs to file I-485 instead of I-130.
Eligibility to Apply for Spousal Green Card
The eligibility requirements to help the alien spouse get a green card are pretty simple. Here’s a comprehensive eligibility checklist to give you a solid understanding.
- The marriage must be legal and officially recognized by the government of the country where the marriage took place. Must show supporting documents that legitimize marriage status.
- The green card seeker must be married to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
- Neither the petitioner nor the applicant is married to anyone else. If any of them have been married in the past, he/she must provide a decree of divorce, death certificate, or any other document that proves the previous marriage has ended.
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Required Documents to Apply for Green Card
Since the petitioner needs to prove that the family relationship between him/her and the beneficiary is genuine, the petitioner must submit several supporting documents that back the stated relationship status.
Generally, the required documents include:
- Passport size photos of both petitioner and candidate
- Petitioners’ passport or birth certificate and naturalization certificate
- Beneficiary’s passport and national identity card or document
- Proof of the legally valid relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, parental divorce, adoption etc)
- Other forms and Secondary evidence documents
Check Your Eligibility
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Note that: The price mentioned above does not include the standard government fees paid directly to USCIS.
Frequently Asked Questions
After filing Form-130, USCIS will notify you whether it is denied or approved. If it is approved and your spouse live outside the U.S., the State Department will give them an appointment to go to the U.S. consulate in their country and complete the processing.
If you don’t have a regular income, you need a co-sponsor or have enough assets to meet the affidavit of support requirements.
The total wait time for a spousal green card ranges between 9 to 36 months, depending on whether you are married to a citizen or LPR and where you currently live.
Yes. Green card holders can collect unemployment compensation benefits the same way U.S citizens do.
A green card application may be denied for several reasons. These reasons include but are not limited to
1. Mistakes on the application forms
2. False or incorrect information
3. Missing documents
4. Failure to demonstrate eligibility due to insufficient financial resources, etc
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