Marriage-Based Green Cards

If you are a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident and already married to a foreign national, you may be able to sponsor your spouse for a green card. There are different procedures for sponsoring a spouse depending on whether they are physically present in the U.S. and have entered the country legally or illegally, or are residing abroad. There are also different processing times depending on whether you are a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident.

If both you and your spouse are present in the United States and your spouse entered the country legally (and other requirements are met), then your spouse will go through a process called Adjustment of Status. This involves submitting multiple applications to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Sometime after that (processing times vary), you both will attend an interview at a local USCIS office with an immigration officer.

If your spouse is overseas (and has no prior immigration violations relating to entries into the United States), then your spouse can generally process his or her application for permanent residency at a U.S. consulate abroad through Consular Processing. Through this process, applications are first filed with USCIS in the United States, then the case is transferred to the National Visa Center, where several additional applications and documents, including public charge documents, must be submitted. Your case is then transferred to the local consulate in your spouse’s home country, and an interview will be scheduled. If the interview is successful, your spouse will receive an immigrant visa, and she or he can then enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.

 If your spouse is in the United States and entered the country illegally on only one occasion, your spouse must also go through consular processing to apply for his or her green card. This means that your spouse MUST return to his or her home country for the interview itself. However, to reduce the time spent overseas, your spouse must apply for an I-601A waiver that, if granted, forgives his or her unlawful presence in this country. For this waiver, your spouse must show that he or she has a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent (qualifying relative) who would experience extreme hardship if your spouse is refused admission to the United States. This requires considerable supporting evidence.

Important! You may have issues obtaining a green card for your spouse if:

  • Your spouse is or has been in the country illegally.
  • Your spouse has entered the United States on more than one occasion.
  • Your spouse is or has been in immigration court proceedings.
  • Your spouse has a criminal record.
  • You do have enough evidence to prove that your marriage is valid.
  • You do not have strong enough evidence that you would suffer extreme hardship if your spouse is not granted a visa.


To discuss your legal options, please call our office at 313-251-8282 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment from this website.

Fiancé(e) Visas

If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e). The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.

You and you and your fiancé(e) must intend to marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be valid, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. After you are married, your spouse may then apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).

To discuss your legal options, please call our office at 313-251-8282 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment from this website.

Green Cards for Other Family Members

To petition for your parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as Green Card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old.  Permanent Residents (green card holders) may not petition to bring parents to live permanently in the United States.

Important! If your parents entered the country unlawfully, you cannot petition for your parents unless they are willing to wait in their home country for 10 years until they are permitted to finish the green-card process. This is because there is no I-601A waiver (a waiver forgiving their unlawful presence in the U.S.) available for parents.

To discuss your legal options or to find out about bringing other family members to the United States, please call our office at 313-251-8282 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment from this website.